Nearly three-fourths of seniors have living wills

When it comes to planning their future, seniors are on top of it.

According to a recent study from the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research on behalf of the U.S. National Institute on Aging, a record number of Americans have living wills that explain what to do with their end-of-life medical care. The data showed that 72 percent of seniors had living wills in 2010, well above the 47 percent who had them in 2000.

“We found that while there’s an upward trend in creating these documents, it didn’t have much bearing at all on hospitalization rates over the decade,” said lead author Maria Silveira. “Indeed, hospitalization rates increased during the decade. These are really devices that ensure people’s preferences get respected, not devices that can control whether a person chooses to be hospitalized before death.”

Silveria added that the study reveals Americans are more becoming more comfortable talking about death and long term care.

“Identifying the person you trust to make these types of medical decisions isn’t as emotional a decision as deciding whether you’d want aggressive treatment or hospice care if you’re dying,” Silveira said. “It’s much more difficult to make decisions about treatment because it often depends on unforeseeable factors such as how sick the person is, whether his or her brain is working and chances of recovery.”

Ways to stay fit past 65
Seniors should always have a plan in place for care later in life, but the best bet to avoiding a hospital is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And while this can be easier said than done, establishing a routine and sticking to it is a surefire way to staying fit past 65.

Here are a few tips:

  • Weekly exercising: Finding time and motivation to exercise can be a challenge, but it’s critical in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While seniors don’t necessarily have to buy a new gym membership, finding the time for a long walks a few times a week will improve cardiovascular health.
  • Wake up with water: It’s a good idea to drink a glass of water each morning when you wake up. A long night’s rest can be dehydrating. Not to mention, 16 ounces of water will likely boost metabolism, helping maintain a healthy weight.
  • Proper diet: Eating healthy is easier said than done, but getting into the habit of maintaining a proper diet will have resounding impacts on overall health.

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Pete Blasi