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Avoid Decay and Stay in Control of Your Money

Would you like to feel younger next year? The book, Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D., explains, while we can’t stop aging, we can turn back our biological clocks. Co-authors Crowley and Lodge describe the three components to becoming functionally younger as we age. Crowley writes, “50 percent of all the illness and injuries in the last third of your life can be eliminated by changing your life style the way we suggest.”

The authors suggest:

1. Exercise six times a week. This includes both aerobic exercise and strength training.
2. Quit eating crap. There is no diet in this book, but an explanation of “crap.”
3. Connect and commit to other people.

Younger Next Year is a guide to avoid decay. I was engaged by Lodge’s discussion of what happens in your body after age fifty. Lodge refers to many medical studies to support his ideas. He describes the changes in your cells and in your brain when you choose a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet. And, he explains what happens when you choose the opposite.  Lodge says much of the illness people experience as they age can be avoided if they avoided a harmful lifestyle – the choice of many older adults which leads to their decay.

My blogs focus primarily on money. What does this have to do with money? A lot.

Staying healthy keeps costs down. Illness means medical care. Doctors, hospital stays and drugs are expensive. Caregivers need to be paid, and individuals lose income and retirement savings while caring for sick loved ones. The cost of dementia care is extremely high, both in dollars and the toll it takes on family. If you can keep diabetes, heart disease, broken bones, dementia, and other common “old age” diseases from entering your life, you will save yourself and your loved ones money. And, you will get greater enjoyment out of life.

Staying healthy keeps you independent. When you are free of disease it is much easier to focus on your finances. When you can drive and walk, it is less cumbersome to get to the bank. When you can retain your memory, you can pay bills, keep track of checks, and file your taxes. When you stay in control of your money, you stay in control of your life – including where and how you live.

The authors recognize changing your life style may not be easy. Younger Next Year provides many ideas on how to incorporate exercise, eating well and connection to others into your life.

What if you are sandwiched between caring for elderly parents and caring for your own children? The authors say it is imperative you make adjustments to your life to care for yourself. They use the airplane oxygen analogy: Put on your own mask first before helping others. If you pass out from lack of oxygen, you can’t help others. Likewise, if you become sick or die from lack of caring for yourself, you can’t care for others.

To me, Crowley and Lodge’s advice make sense. In my work with seniors over the past several years, I have witnessed the many choices people have made about their self-care as they aged. Those who chose to be active and engage with others were much happier, healthier and independent at an older age than those who didn’t.

I decided to try the advice outlined in Younger Next Year. Somedays I have to convince myself to get out of bed earlier or set aside work to exercise. I need to make time to prepare non-crap food. Since it has only been a few weeks, I can’t report on whether this has saved any money or improved my health. But, I can say the exercise feels good and I have lost weight.

The book’s full title is Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit and Sexy – Until You’re 80 and Beyond. There is an edition for women and another one for men. Check them out. You may find yourself younger next year.

This blog is published to provide you with general information only, and is not intended to provide specific or comprehensive advice.  Money Care, LLC encourages individuals to seek advice from competent professionals when appropriate.