I was catching up with some distant relatives after a funeral last week. As the fellowship hall of the church was filling with the noise of cousins and family and friends, I had the most amazing conversation with my Great Aunt Willie!
You see, my Aunt Willie is two months shy of 90 years old! She sure doesn’t look or act that old. In fact if you were to guess her age, you’d swear she’s only 65 or maybe 70 years old; a spring to her step, minimal wrinkles and a rosy glow to her complexion.
Oh, but that’s not the best part of my visit with this amazing lady!
As we were standing there chatting, oh maybe 10 minutes had passed, I thought I should ask if she’d like to sit down. “Oh no,” she said. “I get stiff when I sit down.” So we continued to stand and talk. Never mind that my own lower back was aching; but you know, there was absolutely no way that I was going to wimp out.
Not to say that she hasn’t had a little help along the way; a pin in a leg bone, two knee surgeries and a little work on both shoulders; other than that she is fit as a fiddle. (As an aside, I know plenty of people half her age who’ve had those kinds of surgeries!) She lives alone having lost her husband about 8 years ago. Except for the yard work she does everything herself. She says she even drives her car some locally – but not long distances.
Still this isn’t what amazes me.
Don’t stop reading now, it gets even better . . . You’ll want to read this to the very end for the full picture.
Well, the Nutritional Therapist in me was curious about how she could be so healthy and vibrant at age 90. And wondering if I could be like her 35 years from now when I’m 90 . . .
She beat me to the question about exercise; she told me she does water aerobics 3 or 4 times a week, and has done so for many, many years. She told me that’s the secret of a strong body – always stay active.
When I asked her what she eats, she said, “whatever I want.” Although she didn’t go into detail, I’m fairly sure she eats a nutrient dense diet. After all she was raised in the era of large families, an abundance of fresh veggies from huge gardens, home grown and game meats and down home cooking.
At almost 90, just as I expected, butter and eggs still make a regular appearance in her diet. And she confided in me that she has a sweet tooth and enjoys desserts. She doesn’t have a weight problem; in fact she looks terrific. So I’m guessing that she’s good at balancing those sweets with wholesome foods in her diet.
Since she eats what she wants, I questioned her digestion. Nope, she said she doesn’t have any digestive issues either.
However, she did tell me that a few years back she lost unexpected weight and finally went to the doctor. She had H. pylori and was given meds to keep that under control. Other than that, she says the only other medication she takes is something for her arthritis (well, yes, of course – at 90 years old, who wouldn’t have a little pain and stiffness). How many people do you know only taking 1 or 2 prescriptions, much less at 90 years old?
Awhile back she said she had some rather severe airborne allergies and someone suggested that she should take 100 mg Vitamin C once every hour. So that’s what she did for about a month. And just like that – allergies gone! She now takes 1,000 mg Vitamin C every day of her life.
Other supplements she told me she takes: Omega 3s (fish oil), Chondroitin, Calcium and Vitamin B Complex (she said, “B Vitamins keep neuralgia away”).
Oh, and get this: Aunt Willie mentioned that it’s time to schedule her checkup, since it’s been a year since she’s seen the doctor! I don’t know about you, but I’m lovin’ this!
Here’s the part that amazed me; not only her physical health, but her vibrant mental health.
Aunt Willie is one very optimistic lady! She says she never gets depressed. She has a contagious laugh. And that sparkle in her eyes makes me curious; I wonder if she likes to play tricks and practical jokes on those close to her.
But by far the most important thing she told me was, “it’s all about attitude!” Never let anything get you down. She’s always been active in her church, and I understand she is considered a mighty prayer warrior. Although she didn’t feel the need to tell me, I already know that she has a personal running dialog with God; and in my opinion, this alone I’m sure has a lot to do with her right attitude.
I feel so blessed to have had a chance to see and talk with my Great Aunt Willie. And I hope that you too have been blessed by my ramblings of this lovely lady, so content and happy and healthy and actually looking forward to her 90th birthday this February!
May we all be inspired to do what we need to do to live in great health well into our 90s!