SELF Care Aging Program
Aging can be quite an adventure. Staying active and developing wellness practices that you do regularly are keys to a long, happy, and prosperous life. Attitude also had a tremendous influence on how you age. Aging is a fact of life and it helps create health and happiness when you have a positive, proactive attitude towards aging healthy.
Why We Fear Aging
1. Uncertainty of life
Loss of memory, fear of Alzheimer’s, loss of mental and physical health and mobility.
Amount of savings, fixed income, dependent on government programs.
Family dynamics change as we age such as children, grandchild, brothers/sisters, their illnesses, deaths, divorces, job losses affect us as we age.
Spouses health, their mobility, their job/income, their death.
Becoming home bound, going to assisted living, losing your home.
2. Loss of Independence
Dependent, lack of choices. Lose power of decision making in your life. Life becomes a series of losses.
3. Night time fears
Fear of burglary
Fear of vandalism
Falling alone at night, in the bathroom
Fear of ruminating thought
4. Weather change
Affects their mobility
Affects breathing (hot/cold)
5. Psychological challenges
Depression (lack of self esteem, loss of independence)
Organic, physiological depression
6. Societal Views of Aging are negative in Western culture. They are positive in Eastern culture.
Research shows there are simple practices that will help you age healthy so you can live happier, healthier, and independently longer.
Dr. Kathleen Hall’s S.E.L.F. Care Program®
Serenity is the opposite of stress. Learn a few simple practices that scientific research has proved lowers blood pressure, lowers your heart rate, gives you an immune boost and reduces the stress hormones in your body. These practices also help your body produce calming healing hormones that de-stress the mind and body.
- Do a short meditation. Meditation can increase the size of your brain, boost your immune system, decrease your blood pressure, your heart rate and reduce cholesterol. Lowers depression and anxiety.
- Go to a place where you can be silent for a few moments
- Choose a simple short phrase or word that creates calm for you, (such as peace, surrender, let go let God, any favorite saying you love).
- Close your eyes, take deep cleansing breathes, to the count of 1-2-3-4.
- As you inhale, continue to repeat your favorite word or phrase.
- As worries, anxiety or thoughts appear in your mind, continue taking deep breaths and repeat your word/words over and over again.
- Prayer Group. Begin or join a prayer group in your neighborhood, your church, synagogue or at a senior center.
- Repeat a positive affirmation.Repeating a positive affirmation when you are stressed reduces the production of stress hormones. Create an affirmation you love, such as, I am strong, I am in control, everything has a purpose.
- Inspirational Books. Reading positive inspirational books and daily writings help lift spirits and create optimism.
- Music.Listening to music creates calming hormones in the body. Download to your iPod your favorite relaxing music, use CD’s and listen to it for a few minutes when you are stressed and it will create calm.
- Listening to nature sounds can reduce stress and depression. Download bird, water or nature sounds to your iPod, or get CD’s and when you are stressed listen to nature and relax. Walk outside if you can.
- Guided Imagery.Play a guided imagery tape or just memorize your own.
- Turn on a television comedy or listen to a funny radio show. Stress decreases artery diameter by 35% and laughter increases it by 22%.
Research tells us exercise produces relaxing hormones such as endorphins, in the body, which reduces stress. Decreases your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, insomnia, Alzheimer’s, obesity, depression, stress disorders.
Science tells us exercise lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, gets more oxygen to the brain, causes endorphins to be released lot of health benefits. Exercise lowers the risk of strokes, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
- 1/3 reduction in death
- 30-40% reduction in all chronic diseases
- 50% reduction is risk of cancer
- Relieves depression
- Exercise significantly retards aging
- Exercise restores memory and slows mental decline
- Tai chi/chigong helps with Parkinson’s research tells us.
- Simply going for a walk instantly reduces stress and helps create calm in the body.
- Working out.Going to a gym, YMCA, senior center, or neighborhood work out center, at home or away, reduces stress and makes you resilient to future stress. Organize a walking group to meet in the morning or late afternoon each day.
- Gardening.Gardening is ecotherapy, being in nature helps life spirits and helps with stress and depression, also occupies day with health exercise and creativity.
- Yoga.Memorize 5 simple yoga stretches. Doing some simple yoga stretches in your chair, on your bed or on the floor relaxes your tense muscles and reduces the stress in your body and refreshes the mind. You can rent a chair or bed yoga tape and learn just 5 moves that you can use anywhere you go.
- Couple Exercise. Create a daily exercise plan with your spouse and have fun doing your movement together as you age.
- Exercise Your Brain.There are many brain exercise programs; cognifit or Posit Science, that actually grow the brain, increase memory and help brain function, retards aging of the brain.
Sharing your stress and concerns helps the mind and body relax and renew. Research tells us there is a positive relationship between having community and our health and longevity.
- Meet with a friend or friends at least once a week for a meal. When we have a physical connection with others we produce healthy hormones and they relax us and reduce our stress. Meet at a local restaurant, or take turns meeting at each other’s homes in the neighborhood.
- Get in a group.Create a study group, a card group, an exercise group or some group around some interest you have. When you have friends that support you there is less stress in your life.
- Phone support.Keep at least three best friends or family on your phone list. When you are stressed call a friend or family member for support and that will de-stress you when you realize you are not alone and someone cares about you.
- Write letters and cards.Keep stationery and cards at your home so you can drop loved ones a card or a letter to keep in touch with those you love.
- Color.Surround yourself with colors you love and wear colors you love. This will stimulate you and make you happy and alert.
- Flowers.Keep flowers or a flower in your home. Harvard research shows that having a flower increased your happiness, lessens depression and stress.
Food is medicine and it’s healing. Food regulates your moods, your sleep, your health. Stress and aging can be regulated by what you eat.
- Eat breakfast.Eating breakfast increases your metabolism which helps keep your weight down and helps with your mood swings.
- Omega 3.s.Research shows omega 3’s help with anxiety, stress and depression. Eat fish, nuts and other foods rich in omega 3’s as much as you can. You can also take omega 3 supplements.
- Vitamin B6.B6’s increase the serotonin in your body. Serotonin calms and heals the body. Make sure you eat bananas, tuna, turkey, salmon, rice, sweet potatoes or sunflower seeds.
- Eat Blueberries.We call them “brain berries,” and “youth berries.” They grow neurons and help neurons communicate.
- Tomatoes. Lycopine. Helps reduce the risk of cancer heart disease.
- Broccoli. Reduces risk of cancer, heart disease, boosts your immune system.