Senior Women Aging Gracefully

Feb 22nd, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

I’ve been reading a lot about aging gracefully these days.  Had a delightful lunch yesterday with one of my best friends, and she commented on my healthy-fitness appearance.  I began thinking about that and decided to share some notions I have with you about how to age gracefully, with the best possible physical and spiritual appearance you can muster. 

Who wants to live to 100? Me.  I promised my grandchildren.  And I’m going to work at doing it as healthily as possible.  What does this mean in terms of my day to day behavior now?  Here goes with some things I believe are important:

  • Try to keep physical and financial stress as minimal as possible.  This means I have to correctly identify stress when I experience it, and I must find ways to keep it at a steady small hum rather than a huge deafening roar.  Learning new activities like Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are good beginnings for keeping physical and emotional stress under control.  Managing finances within a realistic budget keeps that stress under wraps. That’s not rocket science; it’s good sense.
  • Do something every day to keep your mind alert.  I do Sudoku and Wordoku.  Books with hundreds of puzzles can be found everywhere.  I also love Bridge and table games like Rummikub that challenge me to add numbers in my head and search for relationships among the Rummikub chips on the table.  Keeps my mind alert.  And that’s good sense.
  • Do something every day to exercise your body, even if it is only 20 stand-ups/sit-downs in a chair.  That exercise keeps your leg muscles healthy so you can delay the need for a walker or wheel chair.  Preferably, take a walk every day.  If weather is inclement, walk inside around your home or apartment; or get a friend to go with you to the local mall; or, if you live in the country or suburbs, walk up and down the road in front of your house.  There is nothing more important in your day than doing something to keep your body in good shape.
  • Develop compassion about others.  This includes friends going through emotional trauma, people in your community who need prayerful attention, people you don’t know (like illegal immigrants) who are having difficulty just finding a way to eat and a place to sleep… the Dalai Lama says, “Each of us in our own way can spread compassion in people’s hearts…” and the way we do that is to demonstrate compassion toward others in our lives.  Your spiritual life in relationship to others is reflected in your daily interactions with friends and family.  Happier more compassionate people live longer and live healthier lives.  We also have more friends and better social lives.  No one likes grouches and whiners. 
  • Don’t put nasty chemicals and carcinogens on or in your body.  Read food labels.  Trans fats are ‘partially hydrogenated’ fats and do nasty things to your body… even leading to serious illness and death.  Educate yourself about what the nasty chemicals are, about what carcinogens are so you can avoid them with food as well as skin care products.  Years ago, our little dashchund developed meningitis from licking the shower floor after I shampooed my hair; the shampoo was so poisonous that she was in a coma for two weeks, and was pulled out of it through the loving care of an amazing veterinarian.  And I had been using that shampoo-poison on my head.  Yikes!  Read the labels on your skin care products, your body soaps and lotions.  You should be using only safe and beneficial products on your skin, and you should be eating only safe, chemically-free food products.

If I say much more, you won’t read it.  I hope you ponder the ideas above, and make some appropriate changes in your life so you can live better, longer, healthier … and spend time with those precious grandbabes.



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