Healthy Ageing – how to keep the spring in your step
It’s funny what we remember about people. My very clear memories of my Granny (who I adored) was the smell of roast lamb, the sound of her sewing machine and of sweet peas. She grew spectacular roses and sweet peas and always seemed to have cut flowers from her garden in vases on a small table that is now in my house. She made clothes for us all and taught me to sew and knit too.
But I was thinking today about growing old healthily and all of these things combined in my head with the elements of growing old well. My Granny was nearly 90 when she died and she was spritely to the end. Of course not many of us live like she did as the adult war generation, but the elements of living healthily are the same.
She ate really well, fresh vegetables and fruit every day, she cooked for us and for herself, and she worked in the garden. The activity of moving about generally kept her fit although she would never have seen herself as a fitness person! She kept her fingers nimble and her mind occupied with lots of sitting activity when she was not moving about. Don’t get me wrong she enjoyed a kip in the afternoon and she loved ice cream and rice pudding but she was happy and healthy and that kept her fit.
I think we all want to live to be robust and healthy in our old age and most do, but as a famous 82-year-old once said ‘I don’t get up looking like this, it takes some work!”
It is so easy to get preachy about exercise and healthy eating and I don’t want to but the picture of the frail old couple crossing the road should not be you.
At SK Nurses we want to help people to be independent and to make their own choices about their health. Lots of you have good ideas which you can share with us but here are just a few to go on with:
Stimulate: your brain! Keep your mind active. Chatting to friends, meeting new ones, reading and of course, cross words and puzzles (if this is your thing). I love a book club, we meet once a month and read a new book each time and chat about it. The chat is great and we often go onto different topics but it keeps me reading.
Keep moving: 15 – 30 minutes a day of walking can really help. If this is not your thing, any activity that raises your heart rate a little and makes you a bit out of puff will help. (I hate to say it but vacuuming is great – but so is gardening like my Gran). But if moving is really difficult do the best you can, there are some great seated exercise classes out there.
Socialise: lunch with friends! This covers two aspects of living to a healthy old age. Socialising is good for you and eating is too. But eating on your own can be a drag so meet people for lunch and kill two birds with one stone!
Karma: don’t leave symptoms that are concerning to fate! Falling is not a normal part of ageing and neither is a poor memory. In my view, anything that people put down to ‘just old age’ generally isn’t! Do go to see your GP if you are at all worried and get it checked out.
I am always delighted by how exciting some people make old age seem. Let’s face it as George Bernard Shaw said “youth is wasted on the young”!
Just aSK: by all means use this blog to tell us your tips for a healthy old age (but let’s not call it that…..)