Don't you just love this poem...by May Fenn? All about the arrival of Spring, it's a favourite of mine, and lifts my spirit.
"Hush, Can you hear it?
The rustling in the grass,
Bringing you the welcome news
Winter's day is past.
Soft, Can you feel it?
The warm caressing breeze,
Telling you the sticky buds
Are bursting on the trees.
Look, Can you see them?
The primrose in the lane,
Now you must believe it -
Spring is here again.
Of course changes in the season remind us of time passing, but getting older is definitely not all doom and gloom! It happens to all of us, is a normal part of life and ageing is inevitable. Some might say it's a depressing thought and nothing we can do about it. But I say yes we can! OK we can't add years to life, but we can add "life" to the years we have! By maintaining good health we are able to continue leading interesting lives in our older age. Good health helps us all to enjoy the increase in longevity, experience a sense of wellbeing, helps us to feel relaxed and more confident. So, it's important to remind ourselves that it's just common sense to look after our health and that feeling good is about having a positive attitude to life, and not always looking back over the years, dwelling on failures or regrets.
We need to encourage ourselves - and everyone around us - to look forward with optimism and to help ourselves to better health. We should encourage everyone around us to take better care of their body, their looks, and to advise them to be more active and to eat a well-balanced diet. Explain it's never too late to adjust one's lifestyle and never too old to change habits. Looking after a person's health goes a long way to helping them maintain physical and mental independence as the seasons come and go. However, as well as looking after the physical fitness of those we care for, we should be aware of their mental and emotional fitness too.
So now Spring has sprung let's get out into the fresh air, if and when it's possible. Fresh air is for free and (hopefully) away from pollution is good for our bodies and naturally helps us improve our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Fresh air and warm sunshine can work wonders on morale and being in the great outdoors can give a sense of freedom, it puts us in touch with nature, and is a tonic in itself. Just sitting and watching, or if possible walking, listening to the sounds of nature, the birds singing and children laughing can be so uplifting. For the more able of us, aiming for a brisk walk will help improve heart and lung efficiency, encourage better circulation and help keep weight down!
Just simple walking is an excellent whole body exercise that will improve general health, and keep more mobile those of us who can still walk. By encouraging those you care for to maintain physical independence you will add quality to their lives. Encourage those less able in your care to simply sit outside, or by an open window able to see the gardens, because the colour green is therapeutic. (As a "Green Goddess" I should know). The opportunity to enjoy the sight of the green grass, shrubs and trees will not only soothe their eyes, but their soul at the same time.
Personally speaking I am aware of the needs of older people, because at the age of 77 I'm one of them myself. As the years go by we find ourselves worrying about money, our health, what is to happen to us if we fall, or become blind and unable to cope independently. We are nervous about going into hospitals or into a Care home and we're concerned about Dementia. We worry about the future of the World, which too many of us seems to be spinning out of control. We are fearful for our children and our grandchildren - and want to avoid becoming a burden to them.
But far too many older folk are lonely, living in isolation, and some fragile folk feel trapped in their homes or their rooms, too afraid to go out. Other vulnerable folk need care but are unable to access the help they need, or someone to guide them through the minefield of the benefit and care systems. Some feel discriminated against and not able to stand up for themselves, whilst for others language may be a problem in getting across their needs. That's why we all need to take the time and the chance to talk about things that might be worrying our older relatives or friends. We could help put their lives back into perspective
On a practical note, the calorie requirements for many of us over 70 is likely to be less than in previous years, especially if we are inactive. We must all be aware of the amount and type of food we eat, in order to cut down on calorie intake, if being overweight is a problem. If you have piled on the pounds your metabolism may be sluggish, and your entire system slower, resulting in a less efficient circulation and poor lymphatic drainage system causing swollen ankles.
Being fit is about being able to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them. Maintaining fitness should be a necessity of life - not just an option!
Maintaining our body is an important job and one that can make a difference to other people's lives as well as our own. Nurture your relationships with others, continue to listen and learn, and always keep an open mind, and respect individuality.
Let's enjoy our life and help the people we care for to enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons and the rest of our lives.