Invest in healthy living 

It’s the key to longevity

Posted 11/15/23

NATIONWIDE — I walked into my kitchen. Mail strewn on the counter. There it was. An envelope posted from AARP addressed to me. It was 2005. Reality struck. I was old enough to be eligible for …

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Invest in healthy living 

It’s the key to longevity


NATIONWIDE — I walked into my kitchen. Mail strewn on the counter. There it was. An envelope posted from AARP addressed to me. It was 2005. Reality struck. I was old enough to be eligible for membership. 

The good news is there are lifestyle changes we can make to lead healthier lives and positively impact our longevity. 

Each of us can take a proactive approach to adjusting and supporting our changing bodies. This can be done gracefully by making healthier choices. I am happy to share with you some behaviors each of us older citizens can do to improve the quality and quantity of our lives. 

And if you’re not quite in an older age group, it’s never too early to start adopting some of these changes. Consider sharing them with someone you love, so they can start making some positive changes. 

There are several ways each of us can live healthier lives. Many healthy practices are well within our reach with the right amount of motivation and encouragement. 

Engaging with others in your pursuit of better health creates supportive relationships. This increases your chances for success.

Below are a few tips to consider. I suggest following one or two behaviors to start and incorporate additional changes every few weeks. 

Maintain a healthy diet. Increase your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and water. Alcohol may be consumed in moderation.

Get up and move! Treat yourself to a walk and enjoy the scenery. If the weather is inclement, find an indoor site, such as a local mall, and get some steps in. 

Try increasing how long you walk over a few weeks, with a goal of walking for 30 minutes, three days a week. Other ways you can increase your activity include parking further away from your destination and walking the rest of the way, using steps instead of an elevator, and walking into places, such as a bank, rather than using the drive-in.

See your doctor. Schedule regular preventive and primary care checkups with your primary care physician to reduce disease occurrence or to detect it early enough so treatment may be more effective. 

Get a good night’s sleep. Some adults may struggle to get adequate sleep. Your goal would be to sleep seven to nine hours per night. This could increase your level of alertness and improve your mood and memory.

Avoid using tobacco products. That includes smoking, vaping and chewing. There are several effective options to assist you in quitting. Have your primary care physician be a member of your team to help you battle this health challenge.

Monitor your brain health. Our brains may change as we get older.  The good news is that dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. We can improve brain health by performing activities that challenge our brains: crossword puzzles, Wordle, Sudoku, etc. Notify your doctor if anything related to your memory or overall brain health has occurred. 

A full range of geriatric services that promote good health, prevent disease, treat afflictions and manage disabilities is available at the Wright Center. Its holistic, whole-person approach to treatment and care is especially beneficial to aging adults who could be categorized as frail or not being listened to by other doctors. The center offers Alzheimer’s and dementia evaluation and testing, well visits with providers, ongoing care for chronic conditions, caregiver support and more.

We’re all aging—but with a lot of personal effort and the assistance of our health care providers, we can age well and continue to enjoy our lives. Whether you refer to getting older as “the golden years” or “the silver tsunami,” let’s all strive to make them the best years of our lives—because they are precious. 

Maureen Litchman, M.D., a board-certified family medicine physician, is the medical director of the Wright Center Wilkes-Barre Practice. Dr. Litchman also serves as associate program director of the Regional Family Medicine Residency program at the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education.

wright center, invest, healthy, living, longevity, seniors


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