There was an article a while back about the death of a man who had claimed to be 146 years old.
This made me start to wonder.
Had he been healthy? Had he been able to spend time with people he cared about? Was he able to do the things he liked to do? All the things that we think would contribute to living a good life.
Once I moved past the amazement that he supposedly lived 146 years, I started to ask myself – how do make sure that we have a good quality of life versus strictly quantity of life?
We all know we are living longer.
On average, our life expectancy is now 80.2 years in Canada and 78.2 years in the United States. Unfortunately, these additional years we may have could potentially not be in good health.
In a study conducted with 11,000 people over the age of 65, researchers wanted to find out how many were dealing with more then one chronic disease (heart disease, congestive heart failure, and diabetes) and two geriatric syndromes (urinary incontinence and recurring falls).
This is what they discovered;
“The researchers found that 56% of the adults had at least one of the conditions. They also found that more than 25% of the older adults who had at least one of the chronic diseases also had at least one of the geriatric syndromes.”
What is even worse is that as Baby Boomers, we’re not even taking actions to help ourselves prevent some of these diseases when we get older.
An article published in Time magazine stated that Baby Boomers “have higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol than members of the previous generation.”.
Add to this the risk of loneliness and social isolation along with potential risks for depression when aging and all these extra years we’re gaining aren’t necessarily looking too great.
So, what can we do?
Do we just sail into old age, cross our fingers and hope for the best?
Actually I think that there are some things that we can do now to at least try and help make these extra years better.
Get as healthy as we can now
None of us know what we may or may not get for sure as we get older but we can improve our chances. Eating well, keeping our weight down, getting exercise – all the basics to help improve our odds would certainly help.
Seek out connections now
Chances are you may be busy with your life – work, family may take up a great deal of your time. But do you have friends or people that you can spend time with now as well as when you age? Having relationships are extremely important to your overall well being as you get older.
Develop our hobbies and interests
We all need a purpose – it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. What will keep you interested in life when you get older?
So maybe, just maybe if we take a few of these steps now, the extra years that we may find ourselves with may be quality years.
Then we’ve got the best of both worlds – quantity and quality of life.
This article originally appeared on Booming Encore and was reprinted with permission.
Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore – a website and social media network dedicated to providing information and inspiration to help Baby Boomers create and live their very best encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and personally tries to embrace Booming Encore’s philosophy of making sure every day matters. For daily updates to help you live your best encore, be sure to follow Booming Encore on Twitter and join them on Facebook.