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Healthy Aging: Getting Better at Getting Older

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"by " HearingLife

There’s an emphatic mind-body connection between a sense of purposefulness and aging well. When we’re socially and physically active, and engaged with the world, our bodies tend to be healthier. Studies — from the benefits of exercise on cell regeneration to the effects of creative activities in slowing decline—show again and again that hobbies, interests, and exercise keep us feeling young.

Some of those findings also show a correlation between hearing loss and dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Hearing aids, however, appear to significantly reduce the onset of memory loss. A study published this September1 showed that people 66 years or older who acquired hearing aids within three years of hearing loss had lower rates of dementia, depression or injury due to falling, than people who didn’t acquire hearing aids. 

The reason, researchers say, is that hearing aids may help reduce social isolation, which, according to a New York Times article2 on aging well, is highly correlated with depression. (Cue the benefits of pickleball, salsa dancing and scrapbooking — fun ways to enjoy healthy aging). By being able to hear and have meaningful conversations with others, you increase your chances of living longer and more happily.

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to be old,” said the late actor and comedian George Burns. A new image of people participating in vital communities, finding a replenished sense of purpose in part-time work or volunteer activities and maintaining their health through exercise has replaced the portrait of old age as a state of interminable decline. (HearingLife's Connected Living eNewsletter offers lots of ideas for you, including 10 ways to connect with your community.)

Throughout the month of September, we’re celebrating that vision of aging well and the role hearing aid technology plays in helping people enjoy life in their later years. Healthy aging requires support -— both emotionally and technologically. We like to think our role in finding the best hearing aids for your lifestyle and introducing the latest technology does both. By helping people hear better, we help them feel, and in fact be, healthier.

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey’s famous prediction that the person who will live to 150 has already been born,3 is outdone by another prediction that the first person to live to 1,000 has already been born.4 What he and other gene therapy scientists say, is that technology will bring about an unprecedented level of defense and repair against the cellular degeneration associated with aging. So, it's important to consider the many opportunities to focus on healthy aging.

The question is, how can we make older age — or a theoretical much, much older age — the best it can be?

Social and institutional responses to an aging Baby Boomer generation’s needs and desires indicate a more active, engaged older adulthood is the new norm. Senior living communities are being redesigned to include more exercise options, workspaces, and multi-family units5 and at least a handful of states, including Colorado, California and Washington, have created master plans for aging to address the housing, transportation and workforce needs of a growing elder population.6

At HearingLife, we’re proud to support healthy aging. By giving older adults customized hearing care and technology fitted for their needs, we help them start the journey towards a healthier, happier older age. And, if we’re really destined for 1,000-year lifetimes, we’ll be here for you. It all starts with a complimentary hearing assessment

1"Can Hearing Aids Delay Time to Diagnosis of Dementia, Depression, or Falls in Older Adults?" Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. September 4, 2019.

2"How to Age Well," The New York Times, www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-age-well. Accessed September 13, 2019.

3Romano, Andrew. "Can you live forever? Two experts argue immortality." The Irish Examiner. August 31, 2013. http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/can-you-live-forever-two-experts-argue-immortality-241515.html. Accessed September 13, 2019.

4de Grey, Aubrey. "We will be able to live to 1,000." BBC News. December 3, 2004. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4003063.stm Accessed September 13, 2019.

5"USC Leonard Davis School Launches Master of Arts in Senior Living Hospitality," USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology website, August 14, 2019.

6"Developing California’s Master Plan for Aging: Examples from Other States and Relevant California Efforts," The Scan Foundation, https://www.thescanfoundation.org/. Accessed September 13, 2019.