Tag Archives: ageing

You are never too old to learn a new skill

When do you get too old to learn a new skill? Never if you look at my parents generation who are playing bridge, mahjong, reading new books, golfing and taking up hobbies as well as exercising.

My grandmother when she was in her 80s, stopped cooking with her aluminium saucepans and refused to use deodorant that had aluminium as an ingredient. She was particularly insulted by our laughter when she told us that she was doing it to help prevent Alzheimer’s. Granny died when she was 104 and was alert almost to the end.

Now, my mother has returned from having a bone scan, jubilant that she doesn’t have dementia. Her bone density isn’t very good, but at least she doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. Judging from the number of days each week that she trots off to play bridge and have lunch with the girlfriends, there never was any doubt about her mental capability. However, both she and Dad are determined to slow the ageing process by all means possible.

Aged 92, my father is still playing golf three or four days a week and is irritated that 18 holes is almost too much for him. He comes back after a day on the course looking absolutely shattered. But as he says, ‘The alternative is to sit on the verandah and eat your mother’s cakes while watching the world go by.’

Mum’s hands aren’t strong enough at 87 years, to take up a new hobby such as quilting or knitting but she can still cook and her plan is to cook a new recipe every week. She says that deciding upon the recipe, shopping for the food and then preparing it fills in a lot of her spare time, that is if there is any after bridge, reading and lunches. She struggles to open the tops of jars and is tempted to ask the local shopkeeper to open the bottles of ingredients for her before she leaves the shop. Even the act of squeezing the petrol pump nozzle has become a challenge to her arthritic fingers. Dad complains his muscle strength isn’t what it used to be despite walking the dog and swinging a golf stick with a weight on it.

Keeping your body and mind does become more challenging as you lose muscle strength with age. You may be able to slow down the advance of Sarcopenia with exercise and diet but it eventually affects us all.  Mum says the latest topic around the bridge table isn’t which erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra the old fellas should take, it is all about super foods and which source of omega-3 and protein powder is the best one to buy. Whey protein smoothies are popular whilst others sprinkle it onto their yoghurt and muesli at breakfast.

These oldies enjoy life and seem to be determined to live forever and if they can’t slow the body down they will try to slow mental ageing down with Brain Training. However, I think my father’s latest challenge is one of the best.

He and I recently went shopping at Apple and he bought his first iPhone and replaced his very old laptop with an iMac. He is refusing to be overwhelmed and is already becoming more sanguine about using these new machines. There are lots of hiccups and he is often asking me what command he should use, but he is tackling a new operating system with determination. We sit together at his desk while I guide him, letting him use the mouse and keyboard, then he writes these instructions down in his notebook for future reference. He is familiar with internet banking, he scans rental property documents, books his travel online and has digital subscriptions to many magazines. He already has his Bridge notes on his iPad, now his bedtime reading includes manuals for using the Apple iPhone and iMac. Within 24-hours my sister had him on a WhatsApp group, exchanging text messages and photos with his children and grandchildren who are scattered around the world. He is set to become a role model in my son’s business as an example of how not to fear learning a new system. The great-grandchildren love it when he FaceTimes them.

As this inspirational couple say, at 87 and 92 years of age, Brain Training is probably all the training they can do.

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International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day. There are so many strong women in our household and we nearly let this day go by without even a squeal!

Most of the time my three girls just go about their working day without giving their femininity a thought. It isn’t until they run up against a co-worker whose attitudes date from two centuries ago that they give their gender a thought. They then turn to the two ancient males in the household to discuss how to deal with their work problem. Neither of these two men have any tolerance for inconsistency when working with women or men. As professionals they have always expected those they work with to act and think the same without recourse to using femininity to gain an advantage.

My father never really acknowledged that he had girls and not sons; he treated us as individuals and expected us to achieve what ever we set our minds to. My husband raised four children for 8 years on his own. He wasn’t sure how to raise a 12-year-old girl, so he did what he did best; treated her as he treated her three brothers. She is now a delightful, well-balanced and successful professional in her chosen career.

I love being a woman and value my fortune in living in a country in which I can play any sport, try any career, wear what ever I want to subject to the ever critical eye of our girls, and think whatever I want to. This is freedom is valuable and worth protecting.

However on a much more trivial but still important issue, every morning as I dry my hair I am reminded that I am encroaching on no-woman’s land. You know what I mean. I have reached the age when there are too many grey hairs to pull out, and when I go for a walk with my daughters, they now walk faster than me. I have to work a little harder when doing my exercise routine and worst of all, I find myself picking out clothes that I then decide would look better on my girls than me!

Watching the Oscar parade I looked with envy at the glorious tresses cascading over the shoulders of the women on the red carpet. I adore having long hair, and I am sure it makes me feel younger but you know you are getting old when you start checking out hairstyles for the over-50 women on YouTube. In addition, I really don’t like what age does to your hair. I too once had gorgeous glowing hair, now I search out shampoos and conditioners, serums etc that bring back that youthful shiny look. I think I have; Klorane products which contain ingredients including oat milk, pomegranate and mango butter really do seem to work. I have tried their Mango Butter shampoo and Conditioner and even better because they don’t have an overwhelmingly sweet aroma my husband is happy to use them as well.

However if you truly want inspiration on how good a woman can look as she gets older, then read how supermodel, Christie Brinkley, who turned 60 this year stays fit. She even features in a bikini for Air New Zealand’s Safety video. Sure she has been endowed with gorgeous looks and she promotes the beauty industry, but she works at it and if she can do it, then women like us should not give into the gravitational effects of age. I think I will have to pin her image up in front of my exercise bike as encouragement.