21 Things Boomers Should Never Do When They Notice Aging
Avoid these mistakes.
The members of the Baby Boom generation—born between 1946 and 1964—are turning anywhere from 59 to 77 this year. Depending on where you sit in that birth order, you may be well into retirement or eyeing the calendar, wondering if you'll be prepared. No matter where you are in your work history, you've no doubt encountered some of the mental, physical, and financial challenges related to aging. And no matter how old you are, there are habits you can adopt or drop to make the process happier and healthier. These are 21 things Boomers should never do when they notice the signs of aging, according to experts.
Staying socially connected to friends, family, and neighbors can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. "Social activity is associated with successful aging," said Mabel Ho, a scientist at the University of Toronto. "Feeling connected and engaged can boost our mood, reduce our sense of loneliness and isolation, and improve our mental health and overall health."
The brain likes to learn new things, and doing so can stave off dementia, experts say. You can start a new hobby, take a course, learn a musical instrument, or just take different routes on your regular walks.
Don't neglect regular health check-ups and screenings. Catching potential health issues early can lead to more effective treatments and better outcomes.
Getting regular exercise can help your body and brain stay younger. A 2022 study found that older adults who get moderate levels of exercise—including walking, gardening, swimming, or dancing—have significantly less brain shrinkage than those who are inactive.
Stress, anxiety and depression don't magically disappear with life experience. If you're facing a mental health challenge, seek professional help and support from those around you.
Drinking too much alcohol can be especially dangerous as you get older. Studies have found that chronic heavy drinking is associated with a reduction of brain volume, one of the hallmarks of dementia.
We know it's annoying with some kid is yelling into his cameraphone filming a TikTok while you're trying to have dinner at a diner. But it's important not to stereotype or generalize younger generations based on limited experiences or media portrayals. Boomers should engage with younger people to understand their viewpoints, values, and aspirations.
Being over 50 comes with an increased risk of illness. Thankfully, vaccinations have been developed to prevent several diseases of aging, including shingles, pneumococcal pneumonia, and COVID. Ask your doctor if you're up to date on all your shots.
Don't dismiss new technology. It's easier to learn than it may look, and embracing it can help you stay connected, informed, and engaged with your loved ones and the larger world.
Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is especially important as you get older. A diet rich in protein, calcium, and plants—and low in processed foods and added sugars—can support brain, heart, bone, and muscle health.
Don't put off preparing for your retirement and beyond. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your financial situation and an adequate plan for your post-work years.
Don't resist change or new experiences. Be open to trying new things, learning new skills, and exploring hobbies that bring joy and fulfillment.
Don't just sign up blindly for Social Security when you turn 65. When you start can affect the amount you're paid; you may want to wait until 70 or 72. Do your research and consult an adviser about what's right for you.
Likewise, carefully consider your healthcare needs and potential costs when signing up for Medicare. There are several options, and you'll want to ensure you have adequate supplemental, prescription, and Medigap coverage. A little research and/or meeting with an adviser can save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.
Don't delay your estate planning. It's important to have a will, advance healthcare directive, and other legal documents in place.
Just like kids, adults should moderate the amount of time they spend looking at screens. Scientists say that getting too much exposure to blue light, the kind emitted from phones and computer screens may accelerate aging. A 2019 study published in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease found that blue light can damage cells in the brain and eyes.
Don't lose your sense of purpose. Do things that bring you meaning and fulfillment, whether that's volunteering, hobbies, fitness, or spending time with loved ones.
Prioritize your relationships with family and friends. Cultivating a support network can enhance your emotional well-being and day-to-day life.
It's a myth that you need less sleep as you get older. Sleep refreshes and replenishes the brain and immune system, strengthening memory and clearing away debris in the brain that can cause disease. Experts recommend getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
According to a UK study, having untreated hearing loss was associated with a 42 percent increase in dementia risk compared to people who had no hearing difficulty. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that older people who have cataracts removed are nearly 30 percent less likely to develop dementia than people who don't have the eye condition treated.
Avoid having a negative view of aging. Researchers at Yale University found that older people who had positive self-perceptions about aging lived 7.5 years longer and had lower rates of Alzheimer's disease than people who had a more negative outlook.