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The Columbia Press

Columnists and Other Opinions

Senior Moments: Set your mind on healthy things

Emma Edwards
By Emma Edwards, Thursday, July 8, 2021

The epoch of “old” is barely setting into my life, no matter how old I get.

I wonder what will define my demise. There are many theories out there. Do I follow the maternal or paternal side of my family? Maybe you genealogists can tell me.

I have asked the Lord to keep me here until I’m 103. Do you think I’ll get my way?

I know, there are charts I could look at, but I try to stay away from them. In doing a bit of research, I learned the average life expectancy was about 35 from the 1500s to the 1800s.

Life was a lot harder for our ancestors.

We are traveling on the longer life pathway much faster than we did back then. I’m convinced that having more to think about helps.

Think about all the virtual visits we’ve been privileged to take part in this past year or more. I heard of more than one family reunion that took place via the current media available.

Many have become acquainted with Zoom and Skype and then, of course, there is FaceTime and Facebook and so many others.

And we can still keep in contact with handwritten letters, of course.

An 80-year-old woman I know wouldn't dream of quitting their job. Those who volunteer and act as caregivers remain healthier, I am told. And those who continue to be involved, even if it’s a weekly Bridge or Pinochle game, are far less apt to give in to loneliness, which could have negative impacts both physically and emotionally.

Another way to fight loneliness is to live in households with or near one or more grandchildren, according to the American Psychological Association. As many as half a million grandparents 65 and older have primary responsibility for their grandchildren, another “kicker” of loneliness.

“One out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95,” according to the APA. “The number of Americans over age 85 is increasing faster than for any other age group.”

There is a verse in the Bible that reminds me of our thought patterns. Many of us need to remember to feed our thoughts positively. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8 to set our thoughts on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy.

That reminds me of one distraught senior citizen who let her thoughts go elsewhere when she phoned her doctor’s office.

“Is it true that the medication you prescribed has to be taken for the rest of my life?” she wondered.

“Yes, I’m afraid so,” the doctor told her.

There was a moment of silence before the lady replied, “I’m wondering then, just how serious is my condition because this prescription is marked ‘No refills.’ ”

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