How to Become Old as the Hills

Just about everyone has an opinion on how people can live to a ripe old age. Old as the hills is often used to describe one well into their 90s. That saying must be getting lots of use these days since people living over 90 are the fastest growing segment of our population, according to a recent 60 Minutes broadcast. Can you believe that? Hard to imagine in 1900 people only lived an average of 49 years. I’d be dust for 9 years already…

Theories abound as to the tricks needed to reach that wrinkly old age where you can get away with just about anything simply because you’re ancient. Personally, I’m looking forward to that part of it, at least.

Hopefully me in 35 years

Hopefully me in 35 years

So the few perks we can look forward to as we inch closer to decaying are things like no longer carrying groceries to the car  because some nice young man will help us with that. It’s his pleasure. At least that’s what he’ll tell us.

Here, let me take that

Oh, it’s my pleasure, ma’am

We will never be without a seat on a bus and I bet we’ll get to move to the front of any line because people will feel bad if we’re standing at the back of one. If we drop something, someone will rush to pick it up. No more unnecessary bending for us.

Oh, it's my pleasure

Don’t strain yourself, I’ll give you a hand

Ah, the joys of slowly becoming decrepit.

Now don’t get me wrong; getting old is not something to look forward to, but what’s the alternative? When you look at it that way, I say embrace the wrinkles, accept the aching muscles and brittle bones and just go with it. But wait. There’s good news to report on this front.

The 60 Minutes program I mentioned featured the results of a study conducted in the early 1980s with 14,000 seniors living in a retirement community in LA. The study attempted to determine what the seniors did or didn’t do that might eventually contribute to a long life.

Thirty years later they compared data from the original questionnaire to one recently conducted featuring those same seniors who were still alive and kickin’ – many now in their 90s:

And here’s what they found:

1) Doing just 15 minutes of exercise a day is all that’s necessary to maintain good physical health. Up to 45 minutes is optimal but it doesn’t have to be all at once or even aerobic. How sweet is that? Makes me question whether I need to take that hour-long Body Works class at the gym anymore. 2) As we already know, keeping the mind mentally sharp is important to ward off dementia. Join a book club, play board games, make new friends, travel to unfamiliar places…anything to keep those neurons firing so the old noggin’ doesn’t lose more precious brain cells.

Anyone for a game of Yahtzee?

Anyone for a game of Yahtzee?

3) Vitamins didn’t make a bit of difference. Nil. Nada. None. Most of the 90-plusers didn’t take them. There goes my stash of Cs, Bs, Es and any other letters I have in my medicine cabinet.4) Dessert is our friend. Don’t deprive yourself of sweets. I’ve got this one covered since, lucky for me, I’m not familiar with deprivation where sugar is concerned.desserts5) Those who smoked died earlier. A no-brainer.flirting with death6) Caffeine is a good thing. Having 1-3 cups a day was better than having more than that or none at all. So glad my espresso machine and I are inseparable.7) Late in life it’s better to weigh more than to weigh less. Those who were average or over-weight outlived those who were underweight. I absolutely LOVE this one, don’t you?no more diets8) And perhaps the best news of all? Having 1-2 glasses of alcohol a day (any alcohol) reduced the risk of death by 10-15%. I don’t know about you but that pretty much seals it for me. Vodka martinis and I shall be seeing a lot more of each other.

Come to Mama

Come to Mama

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. I think overall the news is pretty promising, don’t you?

It appears if you want to live into your 90s, don’t kill yourself with exercise, do new things you enjoy with people you like, chuck your vitamins, always eat dessert, get your caffeine fix and stock up on the booze.

Who knew getting old could be so much fun?

 

This week’s blog is dedicated to Dee Dee Dalton, 95-and-three-quarter-year-old mom to my friend Sue. Mrs. D is my inspiration. She’s independent, feisty and engaging. You rock, Mrs. D!

Mrs. D with her great grandson, Liam

Mrs. D with great grandson, Liam

Pumpkin picking

Pumpkin picking

An inspiration

An inspiration

9 thoughts on “How to Become Old as the Hills

  1. As always, Janet, you give me hope and make me SMILE, big time! And, love, love, love the pics of Mrs. D., stunning to see the similarities between Sue and her mom . . . Also, I saw the 60 segment as well and you did a great job of summing up how we ought to live our lives, yay!

    • Sue said people notice the similarities but she doesn’t. Isn’t it always that way? Anyway, Mrs. D follows the 8 “rule” so there must be some truth to it!

  2. Great post Janet, great news too as I am feeling as “old” as the hills these days…fighting a hip problem. Mrs Dalton looks wonderful. I’m going to a 92 year old birthday party next Saturday.

  3. My grandmother lived until age 100. We think the reason she died was no one in the family was getting married, graduating from college or having another great-grandbaby. Staying engaged in the world certainly helps to keep the brain, and more importantly the heart cells, functioning.

  4. Janet I love this. Can’t wait to share it with all of my crazy excess exercise, no sugar, no alcohol, no fun friends!!!!!

    • Kathy, thanks for reading my blog! Glad to spread the good news about how to live to a ripe old age. Let’s just hope it works for us!

  5. Hello from Germany!I saw 60 Min show.Wonderful. You know I play mxd. With my 90 yr.old pal weekly AT 8:30 AM!!! Will be forwarding this blog to an 85 yr old pistol I know! Don’t know Mrs. D, but she is a true inspiration!

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