More than exercise, eating well and good genes, resilience will have the most impact on how well you age. Resilience is the ability to pick yourself up after a bad experience and keep going. To not only keep going but to actually grow stronger from the experience. Aging now is much different than it was several decades ago. You need different strengths to age well and resilience is one of them. What makes some people more resilient and how does it affect you as you age?
Chronic conditions and disease
For most of us, aging will include at least one chronic disease or condition. Most typical are adult onset diabetes, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, arthritis and chronic pain. For many decades adults would reach for over the counter or prescription medication at the first twinge of pain. Though we are still taking more and more prescriptions as we age we now know that our attitude toward medical problems means a lot. Rather than laying in bed and resting, moving as much as we can will help more toward making us feel better.
Your cognitive functioning does become worse with age. It can be mild or you could get dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For most of us, cognitive and memory loss will be mild with some forgetfulness. Knowing this ahead of time and adapting to it is what resilient people do. Writing down important phone numbers, leaving yourself notes and other aids will help you deal with memory loss as you age. Be realistic and don’t expect your memory to be 100% as you get older. That is half the battle. Starting preparations for your senior years before you get there is the other half.
Resiliency is adaptation. It’s the ability to be flexible under pressure. Having a routine is good but be aware that it may need to change at a moment’s notice. The world changes and seniors need to change right along with it. Try to create the best scenario out of what you see as bad luck. Look at things from another person’s point of view. Maybe you have a lot to be grateful for so appreciate the good things in life, learn as you go along and don’t sweat the small stuff.