Having reached the grand old age of 50 years last month I am starting to think about the concept of ageing. And the aches and creaks are starting. When someone mentions the words “oh she is ageing well” it always makes me think of skincare. And whilst skincare is an important part of ageing that is not all it is about. So I will ask the question … what does it mean to age well? For women and for men? It’s a lot do to with your health. Keeping fit and active, playing a sport, going for walks, getting out in the fresh air and eating well. Also minding your mental health.
The trouble is there are only so many hours in the day. It can be hard to fit everything in. I do ten minutes of stretching in the morning because I went over on my ankle a few years ago and if I don’t do the exercises my foot hurts. It’s nothing major – just standing on the stairs and going up and down on one leg and then switching to the other leg and a few floor exercises. You don’t need fancy equipment or exercise gear, you just need to commit to looking after yourself on a regular basis and actually complete the exercises.
Procrastinating is just putting off the inevitable. And if you have a tendency to put things off there comes with that an element of guilt and regret. You can feel annoyed that you didn’t get out for a walk and make excuses – it was raining, you had to make the dinner, your favourite TV programme was on. Or you can just put on your coat and walk out the door. Even if you only go for 10 minutes at least you get outside and have a look around you. There is lots to see – children coming and going, animals in the fields, cars going up and down the road, neighbours exchanging greetings. These are the simple things and it is nice to see them. It is good to stop and look around you instead of always rushing from A to B. If you are feeling a bit low it is important to get up and move even if the temptation is to sit down and feel sorry for yourself and ruminate on things that you cannot change.
So I think that ageing well boils down to one thing – looking after yourself as best you can. Stop worrying about everyone else and their problems and ringfence time to take care of yourself. And after you have done your exercises and what you need to do in the day you can then start to think about what you can do for other people. I know that it can be hard to focus on yourself but it is an essential part of ageing well.
Emer Lavin is an independent eldercare consultant see – www.emerlavineldercare.ie