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Hi, I'm Raj Benjamin, Head of Identity Content at HuffPost.


And I'm Noah Michelson, Head of HuffPost Personal.


Welcome to Am I Doing It Wrong, the show that explores the all-too human anxieties we have about trying to get our lives right.


Okay, Raj, before Before we get in today's show, I think we need to tell everyone about the little issue we had. Our email that we've been begging people to use. Give us show ideas. Tell us what you think. It hasn't been working for the last six months, and we had no idea.


We didn't, and we're so sorry, but it is working now, and we would love to hear from you. So hit us up at amidoingitwrong@healthpost. Com.


Please email us. We promise we will get it this time. Yes. In fact, we've already gotten some. People love the laundry episode that ran a couple of weeks ago, and we got an email from Jeff, one of our listeners. Hi, Jeff. And he said he loved the episode, but one thing that we missed was a tip about hanging our clothes outside to dry. There's actually a good reason for that. He claims that he used to wash his baby's diapers and the stains that they couldn't get out just in the washer, the sun would actually get rid of those stains. It's really cool. It seems too good to be true. I actually looked into this. It's scientifically true, actually. The sun has not only does the UV rays help sanitize things, but it has bleaching properties. It can help fade stains.


That's amazing.


Pop off, Jeff. Who knew? Thank you, Jeff.


All right, on to today's episode. Noah, how do you feel about aging?


Oh, that is a question. I feel pretty good about it, I would say. I think I'm 45 and I feel like I have aged well. I mean, if you were asking me this when I was 70 or 80, I might feel differently. Sure. But I had cancer when I was five. We've talked about this before in the show. I almost died. And because of that, I think I've just always had in the back of my head, you need to take care of yourself. Sure. This is not a guaranteed thing that you're going to stick around. So I eat pretty well. I don't smoke. I try and get enough sleep. I work out. And I think it's been doing me well so far.


You're a total smoke show, Noah.


Well, thank you. But you seem to have some trepidation about it.


I am really freaked out about aging. I hang out with a lot of my 24-year-old friends, literally trying to suck the youth out of them and put it into my body. Sorry, Alicia and Ian. I'm freaked out, but I honestly am hoping to get less scared about it. And thankfully, today we have with us Dr. Paral Goyal, a geriatric medicine specialist at Vanderbilt Health to tell us about aging and to help us understand it a little better.


Let's get a hold.


All right. Thank you, Dr. Goyal, so much for being here. We are so excited, and I'm a little scared to talk about aging. Okay, my first question is, what made you want to get into this work? What made this your specialty?


I get asked this question a lot. During residency, I really enjoyed interacting with my older patients. I enjoyed listening to their stories and what they brought to the table and learning from them. The patients really valued their physicians, and I just enjoyed spending time with them. That's when I realized it's a much-needed specialty, and so I decided to do geriatric medicine.


I love that.


I do, too. It's funny, though, because when you think about aging, we think of really old people immediately. But we're all aging the minute we get here. I mean, the minute we land on the planet, you start aging. You're aging when you're in the womb. But for the purposes of your practice, where do you define older people, or when does that start?


I think that's certainly true that we start aging the minute we're born. But for the purposes of geriatric medicine, it usually involves caring for adults over the age of 65. However, we just don't stop at that. We certainly take care of adults that are younger than 65 if they have complex chronic medical problems that need attention.


Okay, that makes sense. Yeah. Let's start with the physical, because I think that's what's on a lot of our minds. Let's start broadly. What are the most important things we want to start thinking about as we age? What do we want to focus in on, take care of as we or our loved ones start to get to that age?


There are many factors that go into aging. They can be genetics, they can be diet, our exercise, and what other illnesses that we might have. All of these contribute to the aging process. Some aging can begin in early life, for example, with their metabolism. Changes occur much faster, like around the age of 20, whereas some aging takes a while. Like hearing, usually you will see the changes in it after the age of 50. But it is generally it is safe to say that often after the age or when they're in their 30s, that's when the signs of aging start to develop.


That's funny that you say that, and it's funny that you mentioned metabolism. Because in my 20s, I used to eat cheesecake for lunch sometimes. Just the most irrational meals. I just never thought about it. And I was very thin and didn't exercise that much. The second, the second, I lie to you or not, I turned 30, everything changed. I was like, what? I didn't believe it. But it's a studied thing that you mentioned. I mean, did you notice anything like that? Noah is still 29, so.


Yeah. So I'm 45 and I heard the same thing. I heard at 30, you would notice it, then at 35, If it hadn't happened at 30, then at 40, so I'm 45. I'm starting to notice it more. But I also have a crazy metabolism. I think this is a good point, though, we should make it right now is that we're going to talk about people aging generally. But like any other group, like old or folks, everything is going to be different depending on who you are. Like you said, Dr. Goyal, your genetics, any illnesses maybe you had earlier in life. There are so many things that are going to change the way that we age, right? Your culture.


The individual factors that play into aging include your genetics, your family history, the diet that you're consuming, exercise, physical activity level, or any illnesses that you might have. So that's in general, that is going to affect the way you age. With regards to cultural factors, I think it also depends upon the diet we are consuming based on our culture. So people from the Mediterranean region, when consuming this Mediterranean diet, which is rich in polyunsaturated fats, whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Of course, they are going to do way better than if we're eating a processed diet or a diet that is rich in processed sugar, processed foods, processed snacks.


I would actually love to talk a little bit about exercise that you mentioned. For your elder patients, say 65 plus, how often do you ask them to exercise? What types of exercises do you ask them? Because I imagine it's the best course of actions can be different for different ages.


Great question. Physical activity is good for the body as well as for the mind. Studies, numerous studies have actually shown that exercise lowers the risk of developing heart problems, memory problems, and they're more likely to stay mentally fit. It is generally recommended that one should exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The exercise typically should be a combination of four different components, which includes strength, that can be weight training, endurance, that is generally aerobic exercise, flexibility, and balance exercises which can include Tai chi, standing on one foot or doing heel to two exercises. When the seniors make an exercise plan or when anyone makes an exercise plan, I usually recommend that they listen to their body and tailor the exercise needs to their own physical health, making it more beneficial. For example, I usually will suggest to them that they should take small steps, but take them consistently so that it becomes a habit rather than a chore.


Yeah. And I think people... I think I've also heard about the strength training because you start to lose muscle mass as you get older. But I think at the same time, you think as you're getting older, it's harder to do those things, and maybe you're afraid of getting hurt. But obviously, you You can pair back or use less heavy weights. There are ways to still do it that you're not going to injure yourself, but you can still be gaining muscle. Yes.


Dr. Goyal, I think about this a lot. I know I'm 39 right now. I've already thought about the type of fitness habits I want to put in place so that when I hit that age, it's so regular to me, it's so mundane to me that hopefully I can be strong and also have this as just a regular part of my life. My dad, who's in his 70s, he's South Asian. So it's really exercise and fitness is not hugely emphasized in the culture as a younger person. So he's discovering exercise now, and he does selfies from the gym and sends them to me and my brother, and he's working out. I hope you guys are, too. And it's wonderful. And he's trying to make it a part of his life, his every day now. And I've noticed a difference in his mood, all of that stuff. It's so wonderful. And I'm trying to start that process earlier. So I'm like, Oh, wake up. It's my 30 minute gym time. You know what I'm saying?


Or even just walking. I try and walk two hours a day. And that is something that hopefully most people can do if they're still mobile, and it doesn't take a lot of effort. Maybe you don't do two hours a day because I'm a maniac, but you could go for a 20-minute walk, and that would be good. Dr. Goyal, I'm wondering about when we're talking about the physical arthritis. I think that's something that people think about, every old person just has arthritis. But that's not true. It's not necessarily true that you're going to get arthritis. Can you talk to us a little bit about that and if there are preventative ways to keep from happening?


Absolutely. In your conversation, you anyways mentioned that a two hour of exercise doesn't necessarily mean that everyone needs to do two hour of exercise. So they need to tailor it to their own health. One of the examples One of the examples I want to throw in is that whenever I think about exercise in older adults, I think about this patient of mine who is 99 years old and going to the Y, or the YMCA, we call down here. So going to the Y or the gym is what brings him joy. And come rain or shine, every single day, he is at the Y at 6:30 in the morning to work out for an hour each day. I love that. So I think that's what is the discipline I want to make sure that we are trying to achieve as we are getting older.


And then I'm imagining, too, we're going to talk more about this, but there's a social component to that, which is also healthy for him. He's getting out of the house, he's seeing people, he has a routine. All of that seems like it must be really good for him.


Absolutely. Coming back to your question regarding arthritis, actually, unfortunately, as we get older, our joints also get older, and there is going to be wear and tear on the joints. So there is going to be damage to the joints, and people do develop arthritis as we get older. The question always comes is, is that arthritis painful? Is it tolerable or is it debilitating? And that's when when the treatments come into play or the activity modifying agents come into play.


Are there things we can do before we get to that point where the arthritis is there or it's painful? I mean, you hear about supplements. Glucosamine, I think, is one of them. Are there things that actually work if you're in your 30s and 40s and you're like, I don't want to get arthritis? Are there things we should be doing now?


Great question. I think some of the things that we can do is, number one, is make sure we We don't unnecessarily wear or tear our joints. We don't unnecessarily overuse our bodies in such a way, especially when we're young and we don't really care about how we're going to be as we don't think about what we're going to be in our 70s. We do these crazy things that can put unnecessary pressure on our joints and cause wear and tear injury. The other things is definitely indulging in strength training. Flexibility exercises. Those are really helpful to make sure that our muscles are strong, and these are the muscles that support our joints so that as we get older, we are in this state of mind that even though our joints have developed arthritis, we've got these muscles who are helping us go on with their day-to-day activity. Glucosamine supplements are available over the counter, and a lot of people take it to see if they help with their arthritis. Studies have shown that the glucosamine supplements actually act as a placebo which means is that after taking it, some patients feel it actually helps with their arthritis.


Traditionally speaking, I have recommended to my patients that if after taking that supplement, they feel that their pain is better, then I think it's okay to contend with it. If, however, after taking those supplements, they do not necessarily feel any difference in their pain, then I have advised them to discontinue taking those supplements.


Because there's no point in taking it if it's not doing anything. Yeah. That is correct.


They're expensive, too. Right.


Just throwing money down the drain.


I think this whole podcast episode is about how to be the hottest, sexiest, strongest old person we can ever possibly turn into.


That is Michael. Yeah, absolutely.


Let's talk about nutrition a little. We know the obvious, right? That as we get older, we need to make sure we integrate more vegetables and fruits into our diet because, again, can't eat cheesecake for lunch anymore. What are some lesser known things about nutrition as we age? Please tell us what to do.


Other things that we can do in our diet include limiting the consumption of tea and coffee.


Oh, no.


Limiting the consumption of processed foods such as cakes, cookies, pies, or processed snacks such as chips. That's also very beneficial. And such a diet actually protects us against many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, among others.


What is it about coffee and tea that is worse for us as we get older?


Because that seems like the most innocuous one out of all the things you named.


Always remember that tea and coffee have caffeine in it. Caffeine is a potent diuretic and can easily dehydrate us as we get older. We really want to make sure that we restrict the usage or the amount of tea and coffee we drink every day. Other things that tea and coffee can do is that because of the caffeine, it can affect our sleep. If you're consuming it too late during the day, it can linger on in our system and can actually cause us problems as we get older to go to sleep.


I want to come back to sleep, but one thing I was wondering about, my grandma, who She lived to be 96, and I would say the last 10 years of her life, all she wanted to eat was ice cream and waffles. She had a candy dish. I think we think of old people, like grandma's having candy dishes. Is there something to that? Do I think I've heard somewhere, and I'm not sure if this was scientific or not, but our taste buds wear away. And so the sweetness is the thing that we crave more as we get older. Oh, wow. Yeah.


That's absolutely true. Actually, as we get older, our taste buds also get affected. And the sweet taste buds are the ones that last the longest in old age. That's why, usually, you will see older adults have a craving for sweets.


Oh, my God.


That has ice cream or cakes.


This is resonating so hard. I know.


This is real. I have such a sweet tooth. But I'm sure you're going to tell us, Have an orange or have some grapes.


An orange? Gross.


But I'm assuming, again, back to the cheesecake, it's It's not great for us at that point. No, of course.


I think this has to be taken in context, right? So if my older adult is in their 90s and are really not enjoying other kinds of foods and are not really getting the caloric intake, then having them enjoy by whatever foods they cherish becomes important because it improves their quality of life and their perception of life.


I'm with you. Completely.


So I think at that time, I would encourage them, Okay, whatever you like, go ahead and have it because that's important for you in this stage of your life. As opposed to when you're in your '60s, you really don't want to indulge in those activities because those are going to stay with you for the rest of your life and can cause more complex medical issues.


No. When I'm '96, if I want to have a can of squeeze whipped cream for dinner, that's what I'm going to eat. I love that. Because how much more time do you have left?


I never thought I'd say this, but you're making me look forward to my '90s.


Talk to us about sleep. We already started to go down that road. How does sleep change? I think we think of... I think of two things. One, my grandma had a really hard time sleeping through the night. My grandma, I love her. She's getting so much love on this show. She's the best. But she would take a nap every day. Actually, she took two naps a day. She would get She was up at 5:30, and by 9:30, she was in her recliner napping, and then she had another nap before Jeopardy. So it's like her sleep was bad at night, but she was getting a lot of sleep during the day. What happens to our sleep cycles as we get older?


Sleep is one of the most common conditions that get affected as the age. Most of the adults actually need 7-9 hours of sleep each day, right? But adults develop many conditions that can impair their sleep. For example, women develop menopause, men develop prostate problems. They have to get up multiple times during the night to use the bathroom. You develop sleep apnea as you get older, apart from other medical issues. We really encourage our older adults to have a good sleep hygiene. Some of the good sleep hygiene practices include is you want to make sure that you're going to bed and you're waking up the same time each day. You want to make sure that you find ways to relax before bedtime. You want to avoid distractions like watching TV or being on the phone before bedtime. You want to make sure you don't take a big meal before bedtime. You want to make sure that you are just not exercising right before bedtime. Then another thing you alluded to is about naps. I think naps are okay, but you really don't want to take long naps during the daytime. Because if you're going to take long naps during the daytime that are more than 2 hours long, that is really going to set affect your sleep adversely during the night.




Speaking of relaxing before bed, I would love to talk about how drugs and alcohol affect aging.


Of course, you would.


I mean, this is as a cannabis enthusiast. I have to say that my parents live in a really fun 55 plus community in Jersey. And I'm not going to name names, but some people in the community have begun smoking weed or taking edibles, which I'm so happy about because a lot of times it has a lower addiction rate than some of the medications they were on before. But that's another episode. But I wanted to give a presentation there to teach them how to use it safely because not everyone does, especially edibles. People can be like, Oh, my God, I had a terrible experience and have to go to the hospital and stuff because they just had too much of it and it's in a little candy, and they don't know. They don't know like I know who grew up comfortable with weed. Completely. This is new to a lot of people. What would you say about safe consumption of cannabis and of alcohol when you're aging?


Believe it or not, cannabis use is increasing in older adults. It is more acceptance for it. It has been used to treat chronic pain. It has been used to treat sleeping issues in older adults. The key to using the cannabis is that always remember that it can cause increased psychological activity/high in older adults, and it can be potentially of concern, especially to adults that already have memory problems or that are prone to having memory problems. Other things is that it can also adversely affect the blood pressure and the heart rate, meaning it can increase the blood pressure on the heart rate. If you're already somebody that has difficult to control blood pressure When you're taking cannabis, of course, your blood pressure is going to be much, much harder to control. Another important thing is all of these drugs, cannabis, alcohol, and other drugs, they interact with the rest of the medications that the patients are taking. Sometimes when there is a drug interaction that's happening, it can adversely affect the levels of other drugs and can cause potential toxicity. So always remember to check with your doctor before taking any of these drugs. Coming to alcohol, as we get older, we metabolize alcohol much slowly, and it stays in our body for a longer period of time.


So So what I usually will recommend is that alcohol should be used in moderation as we get older. So it is generally recommended. One drink for women a day and two drinks for men a day is the maximum that they should try to consume if they have to for alcohol in a week.


Oh, my God. The patriarchy, why do men get two drinks? The patriarchy rears its ugly head again.


I feel like the more that we talk, one of the One of the biggest things it sounds like about getting older is actually you need a spreadsheet to keep track of all the interactions that everything you're doing can have with something else. You know what I mean? If you do this, it might affect that. If you do this, it might affect that. It's just so much to think about. Which brings us to just going to the doctor in general? How often are you seeing patients who are 65 and older? How often should we be seeing people now? Are there doctors that we should already be getting into the fold, like a dermatologist? What should we be thinking about as we're aging in terms of going to the doctor?


Absolutely. So I think one thing I definitely suggest to everybody is make sure that you are not skipping your regular physical appointments with your physician. So make sure you are getting your physical appointments. Also, when you're seeing your physician, you should discuss with them the recommended screening tests for your age, right? So the screening test can include your mammograms, your colonoscopes, or screening laboratory blood work that is necessary to keep you healthy.


Let's take a quick break, and we'll be right back.


I saw your B. Good baker running by again the other day, she's out to Elmish that Brennan. Ah, yes, she's he. I've never seen her stand still. And she's running rings around the rest of us with our Brennan's Be Good bread. Only 60 calories a slice. 60 calories, she's I. That's just a whole meal, is it? No, she's he. It's the whole meal, the whole grain and the whey's. 60 calories a slice and high in fiber, whatever way it's slice is. That's why anything baked is better with Brennan's. Today's Bread Today.


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Welcome back to Am I Doing It Wrong?


Let's start talking about cognitive health and mental health, our emotions, all of that stuff. Again, let's start broadly. What would you say are the most important things you stress as far as staying your sharpest and being your happiest as you age?


That's right. So cognitive health is actually how well you think, learn, and remember. So as we've been talking about, as we get older, changes do happen to our brain, and that's why our cognitive health also gets affected. To help with our cognitive health, apart from all the physical things that we're going to be doing, such as exercise and managing our chronic other medical issues, we want to make sure that we want to do activities that keep our mind active and in turn help with our cognitive health. For example, we can read books, we can join a book club, we can play games, we can take a class or teach a class, we can volunteer, we can learn a new skill or a new hobby, or we can just work. So these are all the tricks that you can do that is going to keep you cognitively healthy.


How likely is it, though, that are going to get dementia? I think that's the number one thing that people are worried about. But is it a far gone conclusion that you just are going to have dementia at some point? There are definitely people who don't get dementia, right?


There are people who can get dementia, but not everyone gets dementia. If you do the things to keep your mind active, if you do things that keeps your body active, you really do not have any chronic medical issues. You stay active and you're healthy, then there is really very low likelihood for you to develop dementia.


I think that's an important point, though, is that there are other things that can contribute to dementia, too. I've read about having certain If you have a stroke, obviously, if you have certain physical issues, I even read in some places air pollution, possibly, could contribute to people getting dementia. There are certain things that we just don't have any control over. Genetics, too, maybe, I'm wondering.


That is correct. There are certain things like genetics. Some people are more predisposed to get dementia or Alzheimer's, and there is clearly has been a genetic linkage for Alzheimer's. You will see that the patients will say their grandmothers had it, their mother had it, and They're worried about it. There is a genetic predisposition. The genetic predisposition is actually, they form more of this amyloid protein in their brain, which leads to dementia. There are also physical factors that can lead to dementia, which includes uncontrolled blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, have had multiple strokes in the past, have had severe heart disease. And all of these can adversely affect our memory and therefore predispose us to develop dementia.


Okay, I have one more question about cognitive decline, whether it's dementia or any other way. I mean, I heard alcohol is not great for you. No, but my question is, and this is a very honest question, when When do I need to stop drinking a frat boy? There's healthy drinking, and then there's fun drinking, which I'm still doing. I go out every weekend and I have three martinis in a night or whatever, right? I think it's a little more than I should be having It's really fun, but I still consider myself young. You are. Thank you. At what age should I be like, Raj, maybe have two martinis, maybe take it down a notch?


I'm going to guess you're going to say, Start right now. Like, take it down a notch now, but I would love to hear your answer. Yeah, please.


I absolutely would say take it down a notch right now. It is recommended that we should... Women should not be doing more than two drinks, actually, at one point in time. So that's why I would recommend that. And when you're already seeing, to answer your next question, when you're already seeing problems with memory, when patients are already starting to feel, Oh, I'm starting to forget things, or I can't remember this or that, then I start recommending to them that they should stop completely drinking alcohol. Got it. Because it's going to make it worse.


Okay. That hasn't happened yet, but that's a good thing for me to keep an eye on. Let's return to mental health because we talked about cognitive health. I know that community is so important. Can you talk to me about the loneliness epidemic in older people and how important community is for mental health?


Yes. I absolutely agree with the loneliness epidemic that is currently happening. Partly, it started with the COVID pandemic because our older adults were so isolated during the time frame to keep them healthy, and it has since persisted. It has affected my patients in way more sense than I ever could have imagined. They have aged much more in the last few years than in the past I've seen them. The loneliness can predispose us to mental issues issues, cognitive issues, emotional issues, and therefore to safeguard ourselves, I actually suggest participating in social activities, and I'll come to that, the social activities, because it lowers the risk for some health problems, and it can improve their sense of personal well-being. The activities that I generally will encourage would be volunteering at a local organization, joining a group that is focused on a hobby that you enjoy, right? Joining Finding a walking group that is especially meant for older adults, checking out programs that are available in your community, like Area Agencies on Aging will have a list of programs that are available that you can make use of, senior centers in your community, or other community organizations. Do not forget that there are groups that meet online, too.


That can also be a way of connecting from home with others who have the same interests interests and hobbies that you have.


I wanted to also just talk about, while we're talking about cognitive health, just the idea of optimism or having a positive outlook, which sometimes can feel a little schmultzy and just like, get out of here. But have there been studies, Dr. Goyal, or what have you seen in terms of just, if you do look on the bright side of things, does that- Speaking positively, yes. Does that help you age better?


Actually, research has indicated that individuals that have a positive mindset, they tend to experience improved cognitive function, better physical health, and enhanced emotional resilience. There is a study that came out in 2019 from the Rockefeller University, which talked about that optimism was associated with exceptional longevity in men and women in two different colors.


I read that study. I read that study. I'm very proud of myself.


There was another study that came out of France, which also talked about that positive perception of aging actually was a key predictor in the quality of life in people who were aging. Some of the common practice attributes that I will share with my patients would include is making sure that they keep a gratitude journal, especially to use at night. Practice positive affirmations, practicing meditation. Then last but not the spending time with positive fingers because you are who you spend your time with.


I love the idea of a better perception of aging because I'm scared, as many of us are. But also if we can retrain our minds to be like, You know what? I'm going to have a little more money. I'm going to take care of myself. I'm going to take care of my loved ones. That's one thing about aging I'm excited about, right? I want to spend more money on people I love. I want to take them on vacation. And if we can shift our minds a little bit, just imagine how that would affect our lives.


You're going to know more things. No more things.


Be more confident.


Exactly. I was reading a study, too, somewhere, and they were just saying, If you have the expectation that old age is going to be bad or hard, it's almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you expect it, that's what you're going to get. But if you don't have that expectation, they saw that people had so much happier older years. And I think that that makes sense. It does.


I It really does. We have heard about so-called blue zones, about places where people age well. Can you tell us a little bit about these areas and why that might exist?


Yeah, like Japan, too. You always hear about how old people are in Japan. There are these places around the world where it's like, they found the fountain of youth.


Yeah. The elders there look happy, younger, and- Are healthy. Yeah, healthy. Yeah.


Blue zones are traditionally defined as geographic areas with lower rates of chronic diseases. Phases and a longer life expectancy. There are many reasons that these blue zones exist, and some of them include the diet they have, their eating patterns, or fasting, if you will say, or exercise. Some of the examples I will give would be is that people in Greece, they usually will practice a Mediterranean diet. Greece is called as a blue zone. People from Okinawa, Japan, they consume more soy-based protein food, and they practice Thai qi. And so that is also considered a blue zone. People from Costa Rica, the elders still have a sense of life purpose. They are volunteering. They are keeping their grandkids. And so that is also a blue zone area.


I bet you anything in many of these blue zones, elders are more cherished and valued in the community. That has to be a thing, right? I sometimes really get sad when I think about American culture and how we look at elders.


I know this is not your specialty, but I wanted to talk about a couple of things, too, that we should just be thinking about as we get older in terms of getting our lives in order. So what would you say in terms of some of the things that we should be thinking about, or you see your patients, and they haven't thought about it, and it's a bad thing? I'm thinking of things like getting a living will, things like- State planning. Yeah. What would you say are some of those things that older folks should start thinking about or we should start thinking about now.


Probably us. Yeah.


So I think the key is that you're starting these conversations early, right? And you're starting these conversations with your significant other or with your other family members. And making sure that you have done your research because there is a lot of information that's available, and taking down specific notes. That is the key, right? Make sure that my patients have reviewed their health needs, they have reviewed their health insurance insurance plans so that they can compare and contrast which insurance plan would be best for them. Making sure that you have planned your estate, taking into account your financial needs. Living arrangements, which could mean for them later in their life, independent living or senior living or assisted living. Again, they might consider investing in long-term care insurance if it is and if they're eligible. The most important is, I always encourage them, is to create a living will and a health care part of attorney, which they want to share with their family members as well as with their physicians so that the physicians actually know what the patient's wishes are.


That's really smart.


It's just hard to have these conversations sometimes. It's scary to have them. It's really, again, anxiety-inducing for a lot of families, but it's necessary. I know we've asked you a lot of things, but what is your number one tip for aging well? If you could only just leave us with one thing.


Yeah. So my number one tip for someone who wants to age well would be to work on being physically fit, mentally healthy, cognitively active, and emotionally connected.


So easy peasy.


Do all the things. Well, we're going to work on it because we want to be old and fabulous. Yeah. Thank you so much for here. This has been so great.


This is really, really... I'm less scared, which was my goal.


Completely. Absolutely. I hope I could be of some help.


So much help. Oh, my God.


Incredible. Thank you again. We'll talk to you soon. It's time for Better and 5. These are your top five takeaways from this episode.


Number one, it's never too early to start living a healthier life, whatever that means to you. But 65 is the year you want to start taking aging really seriously.


Seriously. Number two, exercise is important, but strength training is crucial for aging well. It can protect your bones, help with arthritis, and so much more.


Number three, sleep becomes even more important as we age. If you're going to take naps, please make them short. The long ones will screw your life.


Number four, the loneliness epidemic is so real. But the bigger and better your community is, the bigger and your life is going to be.


Number five, everyone ages differently depending on so many factors, but one thing rings true. A positive outlook is guaranteed to help you age better.


All right, Raj. We did it. We made it through. Are you feeling less afraid of aging?


You know, weirdly, I am. And it's mostly because of what you said about happiness and optimism. Oh, yeah. That, literally, optimism can keep you younger. I always try to have a good attitude about things. I have I have the words La vie en rose tattooed on me. I try to see life the rose-colored glasses as much as possible. So that made me really, really hopeful. What about you?


I thought, yeah, when she was talking about the gratitude journal, we've had other people on the show talk about that, too. Studies have shown that If you are grateful for things, if you are optimistic, everything's going to be better. And I feel the same way. I think I have been doing a lot of the things that she was talking about. I think when it comes to aging, I think we just don't want to suffer, right? That's the thing. I think we all know someone who is older and doesn't have an easy time of it. Struggles, yeah. Anything that we can do to make sure that that doesn't happen to us, that's what we want. But some of it's out of our control.


Totally. I think we have to find some peace with that as well.


Yeah, I agree.


Well, once again, please talk to us about how you're feeling, comments and feedback about the show. We love to hear it. Again, it's amidoingitwrong@healthpost. Com.


Until next time, as long as there are things to get wrong, we're going to be right here to help you do them better.


We'll be older, too.


Do you have something you think you're doing wrong? Email us at amidoingitwrong@huffpost. Com and let us know.


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