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

This is a previous post from 2014. What can I say? Life’s been busy of late…

Gaining on the Golden Years

Busy, busy, oh so busy…therefore please enjoy this post from 2013 and I’ll be back next week…

Last year, after my 56th birthday, I began to understand what the phrase, “feeling your age,” actually entails. What caught me by surprise, however, is how it looks.

Evidently, my  appearance has betrayed me. Strangers no longer refer to me as “miss.” At some point, I stepped over that invisible threshold into a new reality. I am now known as “ma’am.”

me leaning on pole

Apparently this is how “ma’am” looks

Aging is sly the way it sneaks up on you. There are no bulletins to announce its arrival. It suddenly appears when you aren’t paying attention. Looking in the mirror one day, you wonder whose face is staring back. Personally, I never saw it coming.  Continue reading

Hitting 60

It’s official; I’m old. But that’s only according to AARP.

For those of you with no clue what AARP means, you’re obviously not one of “us.” You don’t yet have a bathroom drawer loaded with hair coloring and you’re able, or more importantly, willing, to look into a magnifying mirror without wanting to lose your lunch. So if you’re in that group, AARP means American Association of Retired Persons.aarp cardI’m now an official card carrying member of this club, one I never particularly yearned to be part of. But since hitting the big 6-0 Friday, I’m closing in on being at peace with what put me in this prestigious group; things like gray hair, wrinkles and occasional aches and pains.

The most important criteria for membership in AARP is simple: live long enough and they beg you to join. No tests are taken. You also don’t need a sponsor vouching that you aren’t a lunatic who will eat all the chocolate chip cookies at the meetings. Do they have meetings? I guess I’ll find out. If so, they better have cookies.chocolate chip cookies Continue reading

Aging: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As one approaches the Big 6-0, one learns that aging has good, bad and ugly moments. For instance, you wake up one morning needing glasses. It happens just like that. Your hair changes color, and not in a good way. Bones soften, skin wrinkles. Some of us get shorter, if that’s even possible with me.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’d much rather wither with age like a dried fig than the alternative of being 6 feet under or in my case, scattered to the wind. That comes soon enough. Just remember, with the not-go-grand aspects of aging there are accompanying benefits – like people helping you lift heavy stuff into your car; not noticing dust balls in the corners of your living room because you can’t see them without glasses. And then there’s the adage, With Age Comes Wisdom. I’m still waiting for that to happen.

Continue reading

Gaining on the Golden Years

Last year, after my 56th birthday, I began to understand what the phrase, “feeling your age,” actually entails. What caught me by surprise, however, is how it looks.

Evidently, my  appearance has betrayed me. Strangers no longer refer to me as “miss.” At some point, I stepped over that invisible threshold into a new reality. I am now known as “ma’am.”

me leaning on pole

Apparently this is how “ma’am” looks

Aging is sly the way it sneaks up on you. There are no bulletins to announce its arrival. It suddenly appears when you aren’t paying attention. Looking in the mirror one day, you wonder whose face is staring back. Personally, I never saw it coming.  Continue reading