Welcome My Midlife Friend
In this post I want to discuss why you should Focus On These 6 Critical Areas To Age Fabulously, including why it’s beneficial to be prepared for the changes we experience before they happen. Here’s what to expect, and what to do about it.
Focus On These 6 Critical Areas To Age Fabulously
Let’s be honest…none of us enjoy the process of growing older.
Even if we look in the mirror and tell ourselves we appreciate our wonderful life, we still wish to be younger if it were possible.
It’s normal to lament the days when we didn’t look older, could run around, play sports and be less exposed to injury than we are now.
Although life is busy, once we hit 50, we need to pay extra attention to certain aspects of our life in order to be prepared and ready to act against issues that will start to crop up.
Problems related to aging usually fall into 6 critical areas of concern for both men and women.
Rather than just leaving things to chance, you should take time to address the different aspects of these 6 areas so you can be happy in your own skin and age fabulously with health, vitality and confidence.
- Your Outward Appearance
- Physical Strength & Flexibility
- Maintaining An Active Mind
- Improve Your Diet & Water Intake
- Discuss Any Concerns With Your GP
- Address ‘Private’ Issues
You may already be noticing some of these changes. Or you may be thinking of ways to ensure they don’t happen to you (at least for a long time).
Either way, being aware will empower you to take steps to live a quality life on your terms in the future.
1. Your Outward Appearance To the World
First, let me say that it’s perfectly ok to focus on so-called vanity issues.
Many women feel ashamed to admit that they worry about their looks, as if it’s vain to want to improve their appearance.
In our modern society doesn’t seem to take kindly to how we look as we age, so it’s natural to worry about our outward appearance.
This is particularly relevant for women as we often determine our worth by how we look.
There’s a saying that you may have heard, “Men get distinguished with age, but women just get old” OUCH!
I don’t agree with this but, we have been conditioned to think this way from a lifetime of social expectations, magazines, TV ads and now on social media.
We could be forgiven for agreeing when we see George Clooney, Richard Gere, and others who totally rock their mature grey-haired look…super distinguished.
Then we have Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Jamie-Lee Curtis just to name a few, all demonstrating how to embrace aging with style, complete with trendy grey hair…and some wrinkles.
Naturally, it’s best if we can adopt the attitude “I’ll do what makes me feel good about myself despite what other people think” But let’s be honest, deep down we still worry about how we appear to the world.
I don’t think this is a bad thing so long as we keep it in perspective and don’t emotionally beat ourselves up over it.
What Does Aging Gracefully Mean Anyway?
Most of us assume that ‘aging gracefully’ means that we just calmly accept our aging face, body, and mind without worrying about it. After all, it’s a normal part of life, right?
But I believe there’s another way to age gracefully.
That is where you take a proactive approach to protect your appearance, to reverse or manage health issues that pop up, and gain a better understanding of what problems to expect as you get older so you can address them.
This also involves looking after your self-esteem by being comfortable with your reflection in the mirror every day.
Cosmetic Surgery Is Totally Your Choice To Make
I have friends who are reluctant to even discuss that they are considering cosmetic surgery, Botox or other supposedly controversial treatments…it’s all hush-hush.
They have completely bought into the ‘guilt’ mindset that it’s more admiral to age without any attempt to improve, even for the sake of their self-esteem.
This is such a personal choice and what other people think, especially anyone other than your family and friends is totally irrelevant…and even they need to accept your decision.
I remember when I realized that my eyelids were becoming a little droopy, and my forehead wasn’t smooth anymore. It’s a shock. OMG…I’m starting to show my age!
I’m putting it out there…
I had surgery 2 years ago to get rid of my droopy eyelids and inherited under-eye bags (thanks Dad)
Totally successful and would do it again without a second thought. No guilt!
No-one wants to look in the mirror and see droopy eyes, jowls, or wrinkles beginning to creep across their face.
What’s super annoying is that you still feel 30 on the inside…but your body and face says “no, you’re really 50+ so get used to it!”
If this is a concern of yours, and you don’t want any cosmetic surgery or fillers, a really beneficial way you can begin to take care of your outward appearance is by making sure your skin is always hydrated (inside and out).
Skin is naturally drier as you age because it doesn’t retain moisture the same way it did when you were younger.
Choose The Correct Type Of Moisturizer
Your skin is your life literally. It’s the biggest organ in your body, so it’s super important to take really good care of it.
One of the best ways to delay the signs of aging is to diligently moisturize your skin, and the different areas of your face and body will need to be moisturized accordingly.
Some moisturizers will be appropriate for the area around your eyes to prevent or reduce crow’s feet. Stick to creams and serums specifically for that purpose.
You can use thicker creams on other areas of your face, including your forehead, which often needs hydration to reduce signs of worry.
Invest in a good night cream to give your skin some food while you sleep and a nourishing day cream containing an SPF sunscreen for that all-important protection.
You will find products that can be used to naturally plump the skin, and protect it from sun damage, which is one thing that makes people look older than they are.
It’s normal to focus on what you see in the mirror, but also pay attention to your hands.
Whether you are driving, cooking, knitting, or typing, you will notice the sagging skin and wrinkles that begin to show up.
Also, your veins will become more prominent, and although it’s difficult to reduce this, it will help if your hands are frequently moisturized to support the thinning skin.
Use a richer moisturizer first after showering in the morning and last thing at night to aid in skin restoration. During the day choose one that absorbs quickly without leaving your hands clammy.
Don’t forget that your body also needs regular moisturizer. Due to the morning rush we can tend to shower and get dressed without using any. You may get away with it when you’re younger but not in your later years.
Consider a shower gel with added moisturizer, preferably without nasties. Then slather on a deeply nourishing body cream like Shea Butter. Massage it thoroughly into your skin (great for your circulation) and allow it to be fully absorbed before dressing.
Hydrate From the Inside
Along with moisturizers, a critical area to aging fabulously is to ensure that you hydrate your body from the inside as this is super critical for great skin. It helps it to look plump and fresh.
You may not even realize that you are dehydrated so additional water will have more benefit than just skincare.
Drinking plenty of water, cutting down on sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol, all contribute to being well hydrated so that your skin looks plump and younger. (related post – 16 Reasons Why Water Is Critical For Your Health)
Always Use A High SPF Sunscreen
Make sure you are always wearing a high SPF sunscreen that protects your face, neck, ears, hands, and anywhere else that is exposed.
You should wear this anytime you leave your house, even if you are not going to the beach, but instead are simply driving in the car.
In Australia where I come from, it’s interesting how many people have skin cancers removed from their right arms.
This is because we drive on the left side of the road, so our right arm is regularly exposed to our high UV sunlight via the driver’s window.
It’s not practical to always have the window closed so using a high SPF sunscreen really helps. But strangely, even in Australia’s notoriously hot, damaging climate very few drivers do!
Speaking of skin cancers…
Schedule an annual checkup with a skin clinic to have any moles, freckles or warts examined, as early detection and treatment of these insidious little nasties can save your life.
What Are Age Spots?
These are also known as ‘liver spots’ and it’s not uncommon for these dark areas to appear on your face and hands as you age.
They are clumps of brown pigmentation due to an over-production of melanin after years of exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
Age spots won’t require any medical intervention as they don’t pose any danger to your health…although it doesn’t hurt to have your GP take a look at them just to be sure.
You may choose to treat them for cosmetic reasons. There are some natural treatments that will help lighten the appearance of these dark patches.
Thinning Or Brittle Hair
This is a common problem and like an aging face, it’s one that can really affect your self-esteem.
Thinning or brittle hair can be caused by the change in hormones due to menopause, also stress, and breakage as it becomes more brittle due to a loss in elasticity and a reduction in sebum production.
You may also notice a change in the texture from when you were younger. This is especially true if you are naturally grey now, even though you still color it.
I have this problem.
I always had very thick hair and it had a natural wave. Now it’s thinning, particularly around my face and the texture has changed so much that without styling, it looks like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards!
There are some preventative measures you can take early on to protect the health of your hair, such as reducing the number of chemicals that you use on it.
Try switching out your usual shampoo and conditioner you have used for years for organic ones.
Invest in a restorative serum designed for hair regrowth and use it regularly.
Also, if possible don’t wash your hair too often otherwise you will exacerbate the dryness and hair loss due to the reduced sebum production. Max 1-2 times per week.
Make sure your diet is healthy as this greatly contributes towards healthier hair during the aging process. Adequate protein and iron intake will assist with this and other age-related problems.
Change Your Hairstyle And Color
There is a conversation about being age-appropriate when choosing a hairstyle.
I don’t agree with this.
I think your maturity gives you the opportunity to be anti-establishment and go for a modern look, and there is no doubt that changing your hairstyle and color can make a difference to an aging appearance.
If you have always worn your hair in a long style, but now your face is sagging a little, long hair can make it look worse. Try a shorter style cut to your jawline that can give the appearance of a more rounded face.
Cover a thinning hairline with bangs or go full funk with a super-modern style and color, and ‘flip the bird’ to aging altogether!
Or, why not embrace your grey?
The pandemic produced a surge of women who chose to no longer worry about coloring their greying hair. More by necessity than design as they were unable to get to the stylist, but the resulting freedom from color (and chemicals) has really taken off.
Many celebs are sporting new grey looks.
Don’t be afraid to try out things you didn’t when you were younger…it’s super empowering.
Make Your Dental Health A Priority
The importance of dental health as you age can’t be overstated. Your dental care isn’t just about maintaining a healthy mouth, it can also relate to your appearance and self-esteem.
As you get older, you may begin to have dental issues that crop up unexpectedly. Like everything else, aging causes changes to bone density, nerve endings and loss of enamel.
If you delay treatment you may end up with dentures way earlier than you would like. These come with their own unique issues so staving this off for as long as possible is desirable.
As annoying as regular dentist visits can be (I hate them!), don’t neglect your dental health. You can maybe get away with a lack of attention when you were younger but not in later life.
It will come back to bite you
Sorry…I couldn’t resist!
Aging is a serious subject, so a little brevity is a good thing.
Speaking of brevity…
I have an amusing story about my first visit to a new dentist some years ago. I advised him that I was really afraid of the drill and dreaded having cavities fixed.
He surprised me with his reaction. With a totally straight face he said…
“What you do is grab the dentist in the crotch and say, “I won’t hurt you if you don’t hurt me!”
I laughed so hard, more out of shock than anything.
Once I got to know him over subsequent visits, I realized that he had a wonderful, quirky sense of humor that constantly caused his assistant to giggle.
This allowed his patients feel totally at ease and was probably one of the reasons he was so incredibly popular.
Ok…back to being serious.
Over time, the bones in your jaw can change altering your appearance slightly, or you may start to experience gum sensitivity.
You may even lose a tooth or find that your teeth are yellowing. Any of these issues can make you feel older than you really are.
There are many different solutions for this, including whitening, partial or full dentures, implants, and bridges, and technology is constantly improving their quality and effectiveness.
However, prevention is always better than cure, so don’t wait until you start having problems. Begin taking extra care of your oral health and prevent future problems by regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleaning.
2. Physical Strength & Flexibility
Strength and flexibility are things that many people tend to take for granted. When you’re young, you can usually do what you want, when you want. But as you age, you may begin to notice some changes in your ability to get around easily and do things.
You may be suffering from osteoarthritis that affects the health of your knees, shoulders, fingers, wrists and other joints, and unfortunately this can be hereditary.
This can result in some pain for you to bend, make certain hand movements like opening jars, so you have to do so slowly and carefully.
BTW…you can get a great tool for opening jars, and knee or elbow issues can be assisted by wearing a supporting brace from the pharmacy.
I have some stiffness and pain in my shoulder joints occasionally. I do some gentle exercises, have some physical therapy, and frequently rub Voltaren Osteo gel into my shoulder joints. It definitely helps…great stuff!
Getting older, you have to be more careful about making sure that you don’t take a fall and break a hip, tear muscles or hurt yourself in other ways.
Many people suffer from osteoporosis as they grow older, so you should make sure that you fortify your bone health early on with plenty of calcium.
It’s not a bad idea to have a ‘bone density’ test. This is particularly important for post-menopausal women as we are more likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis.
Brittle bones and knee pain are not the only things that inhibit mobility over time. Sometimes, as we age, we lose muscle and gain weight leading to balance and strength issues.
Why Regular Exercise Is So Beneficial
Yes, I know!
Few of us like the word ‘exercise’ but it’s really essential as we age.
I’m not talking about running mini marathons (unless you feel inclined), just some form of regular movement to stay supple, strong, and flexible. (related post – 30 Step By Step Way To Stay Active In Midlife)
Each year, millions of people fall by losing their balance, or sprain muscles due to instability and weakness caused by aging. It can be debilitating and at the very least, prevent you from doing things you take for granted.
Also, broken bones, and muscle injuries often don’t heal as well as they did when we were younger so it’s best to prevent them from happening.
Many of these potential problems can be reduced by taking up regular strength and cardio training.
A great cardio exercise is swimming, aqua-aerobics, and using a stationary bike. Regular walking and playing golf are all ideal for keeping your joints and muscles in great shape and your heart happy.
Take up a regimen of strength training that supports your body and gives you an improved core for better balance.
Pilates, yoga & tai chi are fabulous for this. They are also gentle on your joints, have slow, controlled movements that elongate your muscles, improving your posture and flexibility.
3. Maintaining An Active Mind
For many people, a major fear of aging is the possible decline in memory.
The thought of dementia is very frightening and it’s a sad fact that many people suffer from different forms of it.
Dementia can steal your memory entirely or sabotage it by eliminating your short, or long-term memory.
Differentiating between normal forgetfulness and something more serious such as Alzheimer’s disease may mean that a trip to your doctor is needed to settle your fears.
Challenge Your Mind To Keep It Sharp
There are plenty of easy ways to stay mentally fit and healthy.
Avoiding a deterioration in your mental status can be assisted by keeping your body in a state of movement and exercise. Staying physically active helps your brain get the blood flow that it needs to fuel your mind properly.
Cut down on any bad habits, such as overeating, eating too much processed foods, drinking alcohol, smoking, etc. as these can speed up the natural brain aging process.
Make sure that you are constantly challenging your brain and not merely letting it sit stagnant. This will encourage the formation of new neurons, which is something that declines with age.
Do puzzles, crosswords, number games like Sudoku, read regularly, and try to learn something new like a language or a new hobby.
Maybe invest in an iPad or similar so you can do these activities on the go…’Kindle’ is brilliant for books. This way you can sit in a coffee shop with people around and enjoy your chosen activity.
Social interactions that involve some physical and/or mental activity such as dancing, tennis, or chess may help to prevent dementia.
Understand Hormonal Changes
These are perfectly natural as we go through menopause and andropause (male menopause)
These changes in the levels of estrogen, testosterone and other hormones can result in stress, anxiety, memory loss and depression…all of which will take a toll on your state of mind.
Don’t sit idly by and let this happen. Take steps to address it.
Find an appropriate organization to talk to. Discuss it with your GP. Talk to friends. Don’t be embarrassed as we all experience these issues, and a problem shared is better than going it alone.
Decide To Live With Intention And Purpose
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to embrace the concept of living with intention and purpose. The problems that start to crop up as we age can be surprising at best and challenging at worst.
When you have the mindset that everything is achievable and positive, you will make plans for your future years and strive to make them a reality. Choose to be grateful rather than regretful and reap the benefits.
After all, living in the past in a state of regret or constant worry about what may happen is unproductive, and will rob you of the enjoyment still to come. (check out post – How To Live With Intention & Purpose 21 Critical Steps)
Make An Effort To Stay Social
Get together with friends and family regularly where possible or volunteer in your community. Stay social so you maintain interaction with others.
Use the amazing internet we all take for granted and have Zoom, Skype or FaceTime calls with loved ones if they don’t live near you. Interact in live webinars about subjects or hobbies you are interested in.
Get involved with Facebook groups and chat about things that are close to your heart. You will foster new like-minded connections this way.
These interactions can really help to offset loneliness, particularly if you are nervous about direct contact with people during the pandemic.
Adopt A Pet
There are so many benefits to living with a pet in your life, and so many poor creatures that need a loving home to free them from a life of misery. (related post – 15 Amazing Health Benefits Of Living With Pets)
You will be amazed at how grateful and loyal they are. It’s as if they realize that you have saved them, and their unconditional love will be your wonderful reward.
This is especially beneficial if you live alone, have lost your partner, or feel a sense of isolation. The need to take care of another ‘being’ besides yourself can reduce loneliness and depression and give your life purpose again.
It’s not to be underestimated.
After my father died some years ago, my mother later confided in me that she couldn’t get herself out of bed in the morning. She had lost her best friend and was totally devastated.
What kept her going and got her through the grief, was the need to care for her two dogs.
She knew they relied on her totally, and I believe that their love and devotion saved my mother’s sanity by giving her something to live for.
4. Improve Your Diet And Water Intake
There is no doubt that changing your diet to one that is more fresh fruit, vegetable and low in processed foods will benefit you at any stage in your life.
But it’s especially true when it comes to helping combat the aging process.
Highly processed foods take a toll on your body. Contrary to what we have been led to believe as consumers, we are not designed to metabolize the level of preservatives, saturated fats, and sugar in our modern diet.
There’s A High Price To Be Paid For A Bad Diet
The standard American diet, also known as the S.A.D (appropriate acronym) is seriously contributing to the ever-increasing millions of Americans suffering from major health issues.
These include heart disease, diabetes, various forms of cancer, stroke, and serious digestive complaints like inflammatory bowel and Crohn’s disease.
It’s resulting in an over-stressed health system as we become a sicker society…and this is without even factoring in the pandemic.
It’s well worth looking at ways to prevent yourself from becoming another statistic by making some changes to diet and exercise.
Take a look at the Keto Low Carb diet for weight loss, followed by the Mediterranean eating style as an ongoing guideline for a sensible, healthy, and non-processed alternative.
Also, get adequate hydration by drinking water and staying away from all the sugary drinks we are so used to…or at least make the effort to drastically cut down. In many ways, sugar is more dangerous than fat.
…and it’s never too late.
Even small changes in this direction could make a big difference in how long you live and the quality of your future years.
5. Discuss Any Aging Concerns With Your GP
It’s very important to discuss any age-related concerns with your GP. Not bothering to do this may lead to unnecessary anxiety over things that may be less serious than you imagine.
It’s also really beneficial to know your family history ahead of time so that you can communicate this to them.
He/she will likely be aware of treatment options and suggestions about surgeries, products, or lifestyle changes that can help reverse or stop a situation from worsening.
Such early recognition of possible problems and solutions can help to set your mind at ease.
Aging Causes Changes To Your Body And Mind
Some changes are to be expected…but others can take you by surprise. Being aware of these age-related changes can help you prepare and minimize the worry and stress.
Besides joint and muscle pain, osteoporosis, and hormonal-related problems, you may have digestive pain or other issues that make you just want to sit still so that you don’t suffer.
You may experience hearing or vision loss. Don’t despair as there are many great treatments such as cataract surgery, and a range of fantastic hearing aids that are virtually invisible.
You always want to take care of your eyes and ears on a yearly basis, so that your doctor can spot any changes and address them early on.
Keep in mind that new treatments are always being developed. In today’s world, science moves fast, and there could be a quick and easy solution waiting for you.
Staying in regular tough with your GP helps to ensure that a problem isn’t missed or develops into an untreatable situation.
6. Address Those ‘Private’ Issues
The aging process can bring with it some issues that may be a little embarrassing for you.
Women may suffer from vaginal dryness during and following menopause, and men may experience impotence. Both of these are commonly related to the change in hormones we all experience with age.
These can cause a loss of sexual interaction between you and your partner that is distressing. It not only puts a strain on your relationship but also affects your self-esteem.
It’s important that you address these private issues with your doctor.
Please Don’t Suffer In Silence
Your GP will be able to give you advice on how to resolve these problems so that you don’t have to continually suffer when there are solutions that can help.
Personally, I prefer to discuss any female issues with a female practitioner, but many women don’t worry…particularly if you have seen the same GP for years.
Incontinence is another aging issue that can make people embarrassed. It happens to both men and women and can either be a temporary or persistent problem.
There are some lifestyle changes that can help with this issue.
You may be able to alleviate the problem simply by losing weight. Also, surprisingly smoking can cause incontinence so cutting down or quitting may do the trick.
There are exercises you can do, such as Kegels, helping to strengthen the pelvic floor which can resolve incontinence.
Constipation is another thing men and women are reluctant to discuss with others.
As we age, this becomes more of a problem and if left untreated it can also have serious consequences for your health, so you have to be willing to address it.
You may be able to get a quick fix simply by changing your diet and including fresh greens like kale, spinach, fruit, and staying hydrated…water, not just beer y’ll!
In this post, I wanted to explain why you should focus on 6 critical areas so you can age fabulously. Hopefully you have picked up some useful tips.
From taking care of your skin, to the need to stay physically and mentally strong, and why you should always be willing to discuss any concerns with your GP to alleviate your worries.
Aging is something we often try to hide or cover up. We don’t want to accept it, so we pretend it’s not happening.
But here’s the thing, it’s going to happen with or without your permission…
…and it’s better than the alternative!
Understand it, be prepared for the changes, and deal with it head-on so you can live your golden years with the confidence that you are treating your body and mind in the best way possible.
AND…don’t be afraid to investigate new products on the market and embrace new procedures that may make life easier for you.
Know that there are strategies and lifestyle changes that have been proven to benefit you in many ways.
Remember that you are an individual, and decisions you make for you are nothing to do with other people. Be bold and fearless!
Here’s to aging fabulously on your terms!
As always, I would love to hear your comments below, and please share this post on social media with friends and family you feel may benefit from this info.