BY PETER SCHWARTZ
Through my work at SYMPHONY SENIOR HOME CARE I visit many independent living facilities for the elderly. During these visits I have the pleasure to be able to interact with a number of older adults. I meet people in their sixty’s all the way to their late ninety’s. In order to live at these facilities they must be able to live on their own, independently as it were.
I am amazed when I encounter folks who look and act much younger than I perceive them to be. When we talk these folks have one thing in common- they are all physically active. They walk every day. They participate in many different activities at their buildings from card clubs to dancing and morning coffee with fellow residents.
We went to a building the day after our last big snowfall of the spring to do a slip and fall talk to the residents. When we walked up to the building there was a woman sitting on a bench near the parking lot. She was sitting with her small dog. I approached her and asked her if she was enjoying our latest snow fall. I was surprised when she said she was. She then went on to tell me that she had walked 2.2 miles this morning. She went on to say after her coffee with a group she meets with every morning she will walk an additional .8 miles.
I gave her words of encouragement and politely told her my mother taught me never ask a woman her age but would she mind telling me hers. To my amazement she proudly told me she was 94. I was in shock. She went on to say she has walked 3 miles per day for years. She followed up by saying ‘use it or lose it’. That was her philosophy.
This is a common theme in the elderly I encounter on a weekly basis who are living independently and enjoying life. It’s never too late to start. Seniors I encounter who keep moving and stay physically active are happier and healthier than those who live a more sedentary lifestyle.
Being active gives seniors better core and leg strength. It gives them a better sense of balance. It improves their overall quality of life.
The one piece of advice I can give seniors is “Keep Moving”. Try it. You just might find you’ll like it.
Remember her advice, “Use it or loose it”’.