There are several myths about aging. Some people mistakenly believe that getting sick or disabled is an unavoidable part of aging, while others believe that all adults experience memory loss in their later years. Even more people may believe that once you reach a certain age, you can no longer contribute to society and that you have finished learning. All of these assumptions are completely false. Indeed, many people discover that the years following retirement are full of health, vitality, and meaning. Given that we will all reach our golden years at some point, here are a few suggestions to help make those years some of the best you’ve ever had.

1. Maintain your mental sharpness.


Your mind is like any other muscle in your body; the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. It may have been easy to keep your mind active while problem-solving at work or at home in previous years, but as you age, you may need to plan specific activities to engage the mind. Learning a new skill or hobby is one of the best ways to exercise the mind. Consider taking a foreign language class. Take a piano lesson if you’ve always regretted not learning to play the piano. Reading is also a great way to keep the mind growing and learning, so join or start a book club in your area to discuss ideas and thoughts about the books you’re reading.


2. Volunteer


One of the best ways to give your life meaning and purpose is to volunteer. Helping others can make you feel more grateful for what you have and more connected to the people around you. There are boundless volunteer opportunities no matter where you live. Visit a local elementary school to learn about ways to reach out to children in your community and assist them in learning and succeeding. Local governments and non-profit organizations are frequently in desperate need of assistance. For more information on how you can help, contact hospitals in your area.


3. Eat well


To stay strong and active, the body requires proper fuel. As you get older, your digestive system slows down, so fiber-rich foods become even more important. At the same time, older adults are more prone to dehydration, so it is critical that you drink plenty of water every day. Furthermore, don’t let mealtimes become monotonous or lonely—make an effort to make your food look and taste good even if you’re only cooking for one or two people. Seek out other adults to share mealtime with so that you can enjoy social interaction while eating.


4. Maintain contact with family and friends.


For some, aging is synonymous with loneliness and isolation. When your children leave home and move away, you leave the workforce and the relationships you’ve built there, and friends and loved ones die, it’s easy to feel lost or forgotten. It is critical that you maintain contact with those you care about—your role in their lives may differ, but it can be just as important. Learn how to use technology to keep in touch. Spend time sending emails to friends, children, and grandchildren. Resurrect the lost art of letter writing by writing to loved ones who have moved away on a regular basis.


5. Exercise


Even if you have never exercised on a regular basis, it is never too late to begin. However, before beginning a new exercise program, you must first obtain permission from your doctor. Find an activity that interests you and in which you enjoy participating after consulting with your doctor. Look for health clubs that offer classes tailored to older adults. Exercising does not have to be difficult; taking a brisk walk every day could be a great way to stay healthy and active.


6. Stay Positive


Our thoughts influence so much of how we feel. Sometimes the best way to combat discouragement and loneliness is to remind yourself of all the things for which you are grateful every day. Furthermore, as you go about your day, try to find something to laugh about. If you are experiencing severe discouragement or depression, seek professional help right away to determine whether you are suffering from senior depression.


The opportunities and adventures that await you as you approach your golden years are limitless. Seek out new experiences and take advantage of opportunities that you previously did not have time to pursue. You can make the later years of your life some of the most exciting and meaningful years you’ve ever had by doing so.