BY DR. PAT HANSON
Many of us are in the “sandwich generation.” We may be providing care for elders in their 80’s or 90’s, while also having adult children in our homes with grandchildren that we care for or aren’t able to see as much as we’d like. For many of us it is a triple-decker burger full of unexpected seasonings. If we are not careful the amount of time and energy we spend taking care of others can deplete us and cause illness.
STEPS FOR OUR MENTAL, PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL FITNESS
- Eat well! Choose a balance of fresh rather than processed foods, with lots of protein and grains.
- Exercise. “Keep Moving” led the list of hints a dozen nonagenarians like Carl Reiner, Betty White, Mel Brooks, and Dick Van Dyke all gave about maintaining vitality in the HBO documentary “If I’m Not in the Obits, I Eat Breakfast.” Walk, jog, swim, do tai chi or pilates to the level you are able, for as long as you are able.
- Sleep is a place our minds need to be a minimum of seven to eight hours a day. The amount of sleep we need increases more and more as we grow older. R-E-S-T in between periods of meaningful work is vital. Naps ought to be mandatory.
- Practices for Peace of Mind – Meditation, tai chi, chi gong and long slow walks in nature lead the list of activities that reduce stress and can even improve brain function. Avoiding toxic people or situations, even if they are family members, is also on that list.
And although it isn’t easy to face one’s own morality, nor talk to children about death, any adult regardless of age ought to “have their papers in order” by having a will or written instructions about passing on “stuff.” An advanced directive or palliative care agreement concerning both in and out of the hospital end of life procedures can help all family members have some peace of mind about your wishes.
Let’s model healthy body, mind and spirit practices for our descendants, whether they can witness them in person or not.
The two to three generations created out of our gene pool can learn a lot from the choices we make to maintain maximum health. Let’s model healthy body, mind and spirit practices for or descendants, whether they can witness them in person or not.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – PAT HANSON, PH.D.
Pat Hanson is a seasoned health educator, public speaker, and workshop facilitator. She is the author of Invisible Grandparenting: Leave A Legacy Of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not. She lectures nationally on Aging Positively and is a columnist for the magazine: Crone: Women Coming of Age