Some of you will recall me telling you about my hubby’s Auntie Pauline who lives in Grimsby. Auntie Pauline is one of those people that we meet and immediately think ‘I hope I’ll be like you when I’m your age!’.
Three years ago Auntie Pauline, then aged 90, unfortunately fell twice in a relatively short period of time, breaking her hip on one of those occasions. From living independently for many years, it was felt she would be safer if she moved to a care home. Slowly she recovered and became more mobile but she developed ulcers on her legs and the nurse commented on how thick her blood was, hardly being able to take a blood pressure reading.
When Pauline told me, I knew she needed to move more so I taught her some leg and foot exercises over the phone. COVID, of course, hit us all and Pauline found herself unable to even venture out of her bedroom for weeks because the care home was in lockdown. Pauline nevertheless continued to diligently work toward getting fitter. The ulcers healed remarkably quickly much to the nurse’s delight.
Over time Pauline became fitter and more confident and after 18 months she decided to move out of the care home and back into a private flat to live independently where she is positively flourishing.
We regularly chat on the phone and the other day she commented that she was getting a bit out of breath after doing a few jobs around the flat. I explained that her heart and lungs probably were not as fit as they could be after living in a single room for so long but, over time, we could help her become fitter so that she wouldn’t get so puffed. I suggested that she walk a whole circuit of her flat, (bedroom, living room, hall, bathroom, kitchen) with her little walking frame, once in the morning and again in the afternoon, every day this week. Next week we would perhaps try to increase the distance if she found she could manage it this week. Even before I’d finished speaking that sentence she said, ‘I’ve worked out my route. Yes, I will do that and I’ll let you know how I got on when we speak on Friday.’ Don’t you just love that ‘can do’ attitude!
Now aged 93, Pauline is still as mentally sharp as she’s ever been and nothing gets past her. When she ordered a present for a friend at Christmas and they sent the wrong one she called to tell them. They asked her to return the ‘wrong’ one and then they would send the correct one. ‘Which Christmas tree do you think I fell off?’ she told them. ‘No, you send me the one I ordered and I will return the wrong one at my convenience’. The correct one arrived the next day!
Having a positive attitude and not making excuses as we grow older is the key to a happier life. I am always inspired by the example of people I come into contact with like my class member Pam, (86), who still came to my fitness class despite having had a fall in the garden that afternoon; or one of our Newsletter readers, Jennie, who is also in her 80s, who is now fit and slim having followed our advice and weekly challenges; or Auntie Pauline, getting back to living independently after a set-back. We can all learn from positive role models like these. Well done to you all!
Staying fit and feeling young is an attitude. Let’s work on developing ours!