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Fit, solvent, free – what now?

How does it feel to be 60? This life landmark, once meant old age, now it can be the start of life’s best years. As I head towards retirement this daily blog – see below – is about what I do, think, feel and the choices I make at the start of my sixth decade.
Continue reading “Fit, solvent, free – what now?”

Doctor’s surgery closed to me again

Spent the first half-an-hour today trying to get through to our heroic NHS.

I’ve got what feels like quite a nasty water infection which came on all of a sudden yesterday while I was out running.  People tell me it’s a condition that, at my age, can become quite serious if ignored!

Despite drinking copious quantities of water the symptoms persisted all day yesterday and I don’t feel much better this morning.

The doctors weren’t open at 8am, as advertised, but not long after I started getting ‘user busy’ as soon as I punched the number in my phone.

Employing the same technique I remember from the old days when trying to book a ticket to see a rock star, I just sat there chain ringing.

I tried from another phone for a while and then went on the website to see if there was an alternative number.  

There wasn’t but my attempt to ring via the phone number link brought up the message: ‘This website has been blocked from automatically starting a call’.  Never seen that before but impressive they’ve managed to organise that unhelpful function. 

Here I noted the surgery the surgery has a 2.8 out of 5 google rating with most reviewers complaining they can’t get appointments.

After half-an-hour and 35 attempts I eventually got through.  I nearly fell off my chair but I had plenty of time to collect my thoughts as I then had to listen to a very lengthy message which in summary told me to not make an appointment if I had Covid symptoms. 

It also went on to say that you shouldn’t contact NHS 111 either unless you were really ill.  It was a kind of lengthy ‘Don’t Call Us or Them’ message.

Presently I got to speak to the surgery receptionist and tentatively and very politely asked if I could see a doctor.  I actually tried to make myself sound old and doddery to get a bit of sympathy.

Immediately I was told that all appointments had been taken.  I didn’t dare ask if I could make an  appointment for another day because I know this is “not possible” from my last attempt at doing this which ended in me being branded a troublemaker.

Eventually the awkward silence was filled by the receptionist asking if it was an emergency.

I told her what I thought was wrong with me, mentioned I was in my sixties and said that I felt pretty rough with it which was only partly true. 

An unnecessary personal question ensued which, presumably I answered correctly, and reluctantly, it seemed, the receptionist said she would talk to the oncall doctor and ring me back at some unspecified time.  That’s some sort of success, I guess.

What with the last week’s announcement of another six months of coronavairus restrictions,  I reckon that doctors’ surgeries – the entry point to our NHS – will remain effectively closed to both Covid and most routine illnesses for a good year. 

I spent many a Thursday evening clapping for our NHS in those early weeks of lockdown, I feel like booing now.

Covid shuts my local eaterie

Coronavirus has taken out our local Indian restaurant. We first heard the news on Facebook when this  statement popped up:

Due to a positive case of Covid-19 at the restaurant, we have decided to close the restaurant for at least two weeks.  This is to allow us to deep clean and all our staff to get coronavirus tests.  If you have dined at the restaurant, or come in to collect a takeaway, over the last two weeks and are displaying symptoms – we urge to get a test.  NHS Track & Trace will be in contact with all those who provided details.

We dined there 11 days ago, did fill in a tracker form, I was half expecting a call from NHS Track &Trace yesterday but nothing so far.

Our contact with a masked waiter was only fleeting and we were well away from others as the tables were socially distant so maybe I won’t hear.  

Thankfully, I have no symptoms but will keep well away from others until my 14 days are up on Thursday.

I feel sorry for the restaurant staff and owners who have worked hard to keep going during these difficult times – their take-away service was a godsend in the early weeks of lockdown. 

Now they are going to lose at least two weeks of business and then it may take a while before people return having tried out or other eateries or perhaps lost confidence in them following the outbreak.

While wondering whether I’d get a call I started to think about where I’d been and who I’d been in contact with since I’d dined there.

I was quickly able to tot up three family members as well as Mrs Jones that I’d definitely had more than 15 minutes of close contact with indoors.

There were another four people I’d spent time with as part of helping my daughter move to her new home.

I’d also had my first post-lockdown haircut, been to the gym, chatted to a neighbour, had workmen round fitting new windows, had a tennis coaching session and played doubles with three others.

I’ve spent time in three shops, a pub garden and briefly another restaurant to pick up a take-away.

In just 10 minutes of racking my brain there were potentially dozens of people I’ve had some contact with. 

I guess scenarios like my normal daily life – even though I don’t use public transport or work in an office and try to follow the rules around mask-wearing, sanitising and staying socially distant – are the stuff of nightmares for those trying to  keep us safe.

Spending Christmas with family is more important than staying alive

At 60, I feel like a bit of an inbetweener when it comes to old age.  After all 60, really is the new 40, I once read.

I wonder if I’ll feel the same when I’m 70 which I do regard as properly old.  Talking of 70, myself and a friend were chatting yesterday and were forced to acknowledge that we had ‘mates’ in their seventies. This didn’t seem good!

For this reason I’ve always felt that any organization with the word age in that title was too old for me which, of course, rules out Age UK which bills itself as the UK’s leading charity helping everyone make the most of later life.

All that said I couldn’t help applaud what Baroness Greengross – pictured above in front of the poster! –  a former director-general of Age Concern, which merged with Help the Aged, has had to say about the latest coronavirus restrictions banning gatherings of more than six.

Older people care more about spending Christmas with their families than protecting themselves from coronavirus, she said.

To put it more starkly she goes on to say that pensioners would prioritise seeing their grandkids “over staying alive”.

I believe this is true of the three elderly relatives – all in their eighties – who I know well. All have had to put up with severe lockdown for more than six months – two of them had their first proper evening together with family this Saturday gone. 

Truth is as you get older there’s more chance of the next Christmas being your last and I sense they’re ready to take the risk and literally embrace their families once again.

Greengross, herself in her mid-eighties said: “Christmas is coming. What do we do about elderly people who long to see their family at Christmas and it looks as if they’ll not be able to? That’s absolutely awful.

“I think I would make an announcement just before Christmas that relaxed some of the rules, because most older people with families would prioritise seeing them, I think, over staying alive.”

She said life “always should be worth living” – with most people needing some form of social interaction.

Greengross, who has sat since 2000 on the House of Lords cross benches, said: “If I was going to be totally isolated from them all over the Christmas holiday without technology – because most of the people we’re talking about are not going to be experts in technology – I’m sure that I would, maybe for the last time, want to see my family.

“Finding ways of improving quality of life and the interaction with other human beings, which is what’s been so damaged with isolation, is more than just a luxury.

“Life always should be worth living, because we’re human beings. We’re social beings. We’re not isolated as a species — most of us need other people, and this isolation that can result is awful.”

There’s no place like home

I’ve spent a good part of the last couple of days helping my youngest daughter and her now fiancée settle into their new home. 

It’s been a surprisingly enjoyable experience, reminding me of a time – long, since left behind – where everything is new and exciting.

It’s also an achievement, getting to the point in life where you can afford a place of your own and have the wherewithal to make it all happen.

With it, of course, comes stress and worry which I’ve also felt vicariously but less intensely than I would do if it was me.

Experience tells me that all the frustrations, delays and worries of setting up a new home will almost certainly be forgotten in the coming weeks and months.

Setting up your first proper home of your own is one of the key moments of your life, particularly when you’re doing it as an adult with a long-term partner.

It feels like my daughter has been working towards this moment all of her adult life, instinctively knowing what she wants in her home and what looks good.

Not as I first did as an 18 years-old student in my cramped university halls of residence cell.  Biggest interior design decision I made then was which wall to display the now iconic poster of the tennis girl caressing her rather perfect bare bottom.  How I loved that poster!

Now I get my kicks from assembling Ikea flat-pack furniture.  Though I’ve not done it for many years now, deciphering the wordless instructions and avoiding the various wrong-way round mistakes, felt like second nature.

With no time pressures, and plenty of support from an appreciative daughter, I found the whole process highly therapeutic.

It felt good creating something from scratch, building something physical, seeing it transform from a box with hundreds of parts to something not only functional but solid, high quality and beautifully designed.  I need more of that in my life. 

It also felt good helping this young couple start out on one of life’s great journeys. Home is, after all, where we spend most of our life and where we should be our happiest. 

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to.”

Scottish students lockdown treatment is an outrage

At various points during the pandemic I’ve been left incredulous at how freedoms have been restricted by our Government without any democratic scrutiny.  

The virtue signalling of the devolved administrations and city mayors, who all seem to want to lockdown further and quicker than the UK government, I also find deeply depressing.

But how students are being treated in Scotland right now tops everything that has happened so far.  This weekend more than 1,000 students have been ordered to self-isolate in “prison-like” student accommodation in Glasgow and Dundee, following coronavirus outbreaks.

All 250,000 students, from those in their first year to mature students and postgraduates, have been ordered not to visit pubs, cafes and restaurants in what has been described as an “astounding” restriction of their liberty.

And while members of the public face £30 fines in Scotland for breaking the rules, students have been warned that if they are caught flouting restrictions, they could be expelled which could have consequences for their rest of their lives.

Emma Hardy, a masters student at the University of Glasgow, said: “We were told to come back to campuses with the promise of some in-person teaching.  I signed my lease believing that I would be able to go to the occasional class and spend time with my friends.

She said she was only told this month that all her classes would be delivered online, for the whole year.  “I’m now paying tuition fees and rent to live in a city far away from my family and I can’t even see  my friends.”

One of the Dundee student’s parents Jackie Bruce said: “These young people’s human rights are being completely trampled on.  They are at greater risk of serious mental health problems than of death or serious complications from Covid.

“The rooms are barely big enough to stand up and walk around in … it is like a prison, where you are also being charged an extortionate rent.”

How can it be right to discriminate against a particular group of people not only by virtue of their age but also because they happen to be studying.

Even though I’m 60, I still remember how I, and many other students, felt on arrival at university, the first time away from home adjusting to living in my tiny student flat, in an unfamiliar city, not knowing a soul and trying to cope with the new academic challenges of university life

It’s not often I agree with the head of the National Union of Students Scotland has slammed the sudden student lockdown backed by the Scottish Government last night “a complete disregard for students’ mental health.”

President, Matt Crilly said: “Tonight’s announcement by Universities Scotland, and endorsed by the Scottish Government, unfairly blames students for the spread of coronavirus.

“These measures are deeply concerning- not least to those students who rely on income from hospitality jobs.

“And the rules show a complete disregard for students’ mental health and well-being – we need better.”

There is now talk of students not being allowed home at Christmas.  Crilly is right to focus on the mental health angle. 

I believe these restrictions, if they are allowed to continue, will directly lead to the suicide of some vulnerable students unable to cope with being forced to live alone, away from their friends and family in prison-like accommodation.  It really is an absolute outrage.

Bored!

I’m feeling a little bored.   Woke up this morning and felt like I couldn’t be bothered doing anything.  I’ve got a few things planned – a zoom call with an old work colleague, a tennis coaching lesson which I really need after last night’s abject performance and then this afternoon popping over to my daughter to help out with her move to her new home.

That’s all reasonably active, I suppose, but with this latest six months of Covid restrictions now in force I feel I need to find something new,  a real passion that will carry me through to the Spring when hopefully Covid will be behind us all.   

By way of inspiration I found this list of 101 things to do in retirement to avoid boredom – a good 10% can’t be done right now because they involve travel while others are just too difficult or scary plus there are few I’m doing or have done.

Right now the ones that appeal are around learning or study.  I need to get focused, I know, though part of me feels that a bit boredom is allowed, maybe it’s the catalyst to something new. 

Here’s the list, be inspired.

  1. Study for a degree (in anything you wish)
  2. Learn to speak a language fluently
  3. Write a novel
  4. Read all the “classics”
  5. Volunteer in a Charity shop
  6. Teach English overseas
  7. Help dig wells/build schools/hospitals overseas
  8. Volunteer on conservation projects overseas
  9. Cycle a country (continent!)
  10. Learn an instrument to grade 8 level
  11. Visit all the football grounds in the UK
  12. Visit the world’s iconic stadia
  13. Eat in the world’s top restaurants
  14. Paint your ‘master piece’
  15. Teach school leavers your skills
  16. Become a bird watcher/astronomer
  17. Write a screen play
  18. Sail around the Greek Islands
  19. Swim with Orca
  20. Watch the great African migration
  21. Create a wild life haven in your garden
  22. Create a video series of your skills and experiences for the benefit of others
  23. Travel around the British Coastline
  24. Drive Route 66
  25. Go on a cattle drive with cowboys
  26. Visit all the wonders of the world
  27. Learn to scuba dive
  28. Be an extra in a film
  29. Visit the North & South Poles
  30. Trek the Himalayas
  31. Trek the Amazon
  32. Sky Dive
  33. Bungy jump the world’s highest jump
  34. Make a random act of kindness every day.
  35. Learn about the solar system
  36. Start Yoga
  37. Walk the great walks of the UK
  38. Keep a bird of prey
  39. Drive a motorhome around Europe
  40. Cruise the world
  41. See the Northern Lights
  42. Do a shark cage dive.
  43. Become an expert in wine
  44. Grow your own fruit and veg
  45. Watch every West End show (or Broadway show)
  46. Study the life and times of an icon (past or present).
  47. Learn how to save a life
  48. Restore a classic car
  49. Join a book club
  50. Build a scale model of something
  51. Build a model railway in your attic
  52. Get your golf handicap as low as possible
  53. Teach your grandchildren a new skill
  54. Learn to cook
  55. Learn to fly
  56. Write your memoirs
  57. Learn computer code
  58. Cross the Atlantic in a tall ship
  59. Run a marathon
  60. Complete a triathlon
  61. Learn to sing
  62. Join a choir or band
  63. Become a church minister
  64. Learn about the world’s religions
  65. Study politics
  66. Learn economics
  67. Study philosophy
  68. Build a house
  69. Learn to sail
  70. Write a book of poems
  71. Spend time in a monastery
  72. Become a landscape/portrait/animal… photographer & publish your work
  73. Produce your own beer
  74. Learn to play chess
  75. Become an ebay seller
  76. Write a children’s book
  77. Become a cartoonist
  78. Write a travel journal
  79. Start a blog about your retirement experiences
  80. Start ball room dancing
  81. Learn to play poker
  82. Become a tour guide
  83. Volunteer for your local wildlife trust
  84. Watch your favourite team home and away for a season (or more)
  85. Volunteer for your local political party
  86. Learn graphic design
  87. Make soft toys for disadvantaged children around the world
  88. Take up carpentry
  89. Study the Bible
  90. Swim with dolphins
  91. Take other people’s dogs for a walk
  92. Become a companion for someone who is lonely
  93. Become a counsellor
  94. Learn public speaking
  95. Start a social enterprise business
  96. Start a for profit business
  97. Make and sell your own cakes/jams/preservatives
  98. Visit the world’s holy places
  99. Study a period of history
  100. Become an actor
  101. Learn mindfulness

Life is a piece of cake

It was great to have Great British Bake Off back on.  Not sure about Matt Lucas or the political opening to Tuesday evening’s first episode but there’s something about the format that transcends the personalities.

I’m sure I’m going to love my Tuesday and Friday nights all the more – with the nearly as good – An Extra Slice – from now until Christmas.

Following my blog arguing that life’s all about balance, inspired by Bake Off I started to think that creating the perfect life is a bit like baking the perfect cake.

First of all you need to have the right ingredients, I reckon there are just 12.  You need the best of everything, if you get some cheap, low-cal jam for the filling – like a holiday in Margate rather than Mauritius – it just won’t be right. 

Some ingredients are more important than others, the eggs and flour are like the relationships and career of your life whereas, for example, your spiritual life is the metaphorical cherry on top.

Then you need to mix them right – this is the how long you spend on each of your life ingredients.

Getting the temperature right for the bake is about how intense you are about each activity.

Finally there is the art of the decoration – the way you live your life, its quality – putting thought and care into each thing you do – that’s how you get the legendary Paul Hollywood handshake and the Star Life Award.

So what are those all-important 12 ingredients.  I’ve been doing some research and am indebted to the Design Coach for the best list recipe I’ve seen so far.

1. Key Relationship

This is a measure of how happy you are in your current state of relationship – whether you are single and loving it, in a relationship, dating or desiring a relationship.

2. Friendships

This is a measure of how strong a support network you have. Do you have at least five people who you know have your back, and you just love being around?

3. Adventures

How much time do you get to travel, experience the world and do things that open you up to new experiences and excitement?

4. Environment

This is the quality of your home, your car, your office and the general spaces where you spend your time during the day and night (eg: café’s, bars, schools, etc), even when travelling.

5. Health and Fitness

How would you rate your health, given your age and any physical conditions?

6. Intellectual

How much time do you set aside to learn new things, and how fast are you learning? How many books do you read/podcasts do you listen to/tutorials do you watch? Are you seeking to learn from others?

7. Skills

How fast are you improving the skills that make you unique and help you build a successful career, or enjoy a meaningful past time? Are you growing towards mastery or stagnating?

8. Spiritual

How much time do you devote to spiritual, meditative, or contemplative practices that keep you feeling connected, balanced and peaceful?

9. Career

Are you growing, progressing and excelling? Or do you feel stuck in a rut? If you have a business, is it thriving or stagnating?

10. Creative

Do you paint, write, play music, or engage in other activities that channel your creativity? Or are you more of a consumer than a creator?

11. Family

How is your relationship with your partner, parents and siblings? If you don’t have immediate family?

12. Community

Are you giving, contributing and playing a definite role in your community?

I’m going to answer these questions for myself,  examine how I’m faring and what I’m aiming to achieve with each one in forthcoming blogs.

In the bleak Covid mid-winter

Well that’s that, 2020’s as good as over and the cold, grim first few months of 2021 will be a write off too, following Boris Johnson’s announcement of the latest set of Covid restrictions which could last six months.

These include the 10pm closure of pubs and restaurants, fewer exemptions to the rule of six and spectators not allowed into sports venues.  This, along with all the other changes announced, brings any chance of normal life resuming to a premature end.

In some ways, I suppose, the restrictions aren’t that bad. For the time being, at least I can still go to the pub, can travel, still see family plus much of normal life continues with kids going to school and all the shops open.

I’ve only really got five friends so the six-rule’s not a problem, I already work from home and we’re rarely out beyond 8pm, in truth we’re often asleep before 10pm.

In other ways, though, things are very different.  The summer months, despite the holiday quarantines, felt like we were getting back to normal but after Monday’s address to the nation by the chief medical and scientific officers it feels like the virus and the fear that comes with it is back again with a vengeance.

In response we’ve regretfully decided to cancel our annual winter break to the Caribbean, our little window of sunshine – literally and metaphorically – amidst the Covid winter gloom.

The requirement, hidden away in our booking terms, to be temperature checked on arrival in St Lucia and then be carted off to the nearest “respiratory hospital at our own expense” if we’re anything above 38 degrees Celsius is too big a concern.

It also didn’t help when they described our Sandals resort as a “Covid secure facility”.

I accept the chances of us catching the virus remains remote, particularly as you have to take a Covid test, the week before you travel.

I don’t though want to be sat on a plane worrying about what happens when I arrive.  I’m also anxious about catching it on the eight-hour flight and then falling ill while away presumably ending up in that same respiratory hospital.

The other concerns is that even if we stay fit and well, the holiday experience will be flat, a little out-of-season, certainly not a patch on the joyous fortnights we’ve had these last three years.

So let the long six-months’ winter grind begin, stuck at home here in the cold, dark UK.

Balancing my retirement year

2020 – my year of retirement transition – was going to be a journey to enlightenment I thought.

At some point during the year’s 366 days I hoped I would crack the code of retirement, the meaning of later life.

So with just 100 days to go of my Covid retirement year what have I learnt? 

The rona has robbed me of many of the experiences I’d planned but in its place I’ve had plenty of time to reflect.

Balance, I’ve decided – that’s what it’s all about.  Not just retirement but all of human life.

After all the main thing that defines retirement, the only thing that makes it different to the rest of life is the absence of  work. 

The Cambridge English Dictionary definition of retirement is: the act of leaving your job and stopping working, usually because you are old.

What retirement brings is the ability to choose how you spend your life without work consuming everything.

On that subject, I’ve learnt, for example, that I quite like some aspects of work.  I’m happy that I’ve still got a business to run and am looking at other ways of giving myself a purpose that pays a wage.

I’ve also discovered the truth that you CAN have too much of a good thing.

By way of example I think of Britain’s climate.  I make the most and appreciate every sunny day I have at home but if every day were sunny I know that eventually I’d take it for granted.  

Truth is I wouldn’t want the sun to shine every day and, for that reason, I love Britain’s autumn and winter, just wish it didn’t last so long.

I like to travel but wouldn’t want to be away for more than a month at a time.

I love eating out but want simple and home cooked after a week or so.

I like relaxing at home but need to go out and run or work in the garden almost every day.

I imagine a chart – a bit like the one above – with separate bars for all the key parts of life such as work, relationships, travel.

You then need to slide the arrow along the bar to the point which gives you the best balance.  You won’t get it right first time, it will take constant adjustment, repeated tinkering as life and your priorities change.

It’s not just about time – hours, days, weeks  – it’s about quality too.  The secret of the ideal life balance is about getting all the elements that contribute to a happy and useful life in perfect alignment.   

That’s where I’m at after 266 days of Covid retirement reflection. 

I’m going to develop these ideas further in future blogs.

How to live to a 100

After reading about Japan’s world leading 80,000 centenarians I’ve been keen to learn about the secrets of longevity. 

I found this article, originally published in 2013, about Katharine Weber, of Winnipeg, Canada fascinating, then 102 – she lived another for another five years – here she shares her eight secrets to a longer, healthier and fuller life.

1. Never act your age
In Okinawa, Japan, a region with the longest-living people in the world, residents are considered children until they hit 55, and a ritual called kajimaya heralds a return to youth on their 97th birthdays.  In Sardinia, Italy, the traditional greeting, a kent’annos (“May you live to be 100”) is appropriate in a place where age is celebrated and people work into their 90s.  Katharine has never stopped searching for new experiences. In her 70s, she toured across Russia, Siberia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. A decade later, she made two treks to China. “Age has never stood in her way,” says her niece Katharine Bergbusch.

2. Shut down stress
Consciously keeping stress at bay is also proven to be key in reducing your risk of chronic inflammation and keeping cortisol levels low (research shows prolonged cortisol spikes may accelerate aging, damaging areas of the brain associated with memory).  The best way to battle stress is to carve out time for the hobbies you enjoy. It’s also important to find time in your day for quiet reflection. Research shows meditation may increase the activity of enzymes that rebuild telomeres, the sequences of DNA linked to aging that act like the plastic ends of shoelaces — the more they fray, the more you show your age.

3. Eat quality

Calorie restriction (CR) — eating 30 percent fewer calories per day without eliminating essential proteins, vitamins and minerals — has the potential to extend life and slow aging. In recent studies of rhesus monkeys, with whom we share 95 percent of our genes, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have followed the primates for over 20 years and found CR delayed the onset of many age-related diseases. Even more compelling: Those who consumed fewer calories were stronger and looked younger than their counterparts on regular diets. Twenty years after the study began, 80 percent of the calorie-restricted monkeys were still alive, compared with 50 percent of the monkeys on normal diets.

4. Sleep and have sex
“Most North Americans live in sleep deficit,” says Wassef. “If you look at long-lived cultures, you’ll see they get routine, adequate sleep. They prioritise it and they don’t feel guilty about it.” Lack of sleep can offset important hormonal balances and it contributes to weight gain, depression and heart disease.  A little nocturnal action also has lifelong benefits. A study by Duke Medical Center in North Carolina found a woman’s past enjoyment of sex (indicating a history of a healthy, active sex life) was one of the top three most important predictors for increased and enhanced longevity, adding as much as four extra years.

5. Move every day
Exercising today offers benefits beyond tomorrow. Yoga, dance, tai chi and other core-building workouts improve balance to help you avoid falls as you age.  Research shows the fountain of youth may flow between the treadmill and dumbbells. “Muscles weaken with age; physical activity helps rejuvenate their stem cells and promote circulation,” says Dafna Benayahu, a medical researcher at Tel Aviv University. “Regular workouts may undo signs of aging elsewhere in the body.” One study found the cells of gym users who clocked 150 minutes of vigorous exercise a week looked about 10 years younger than non-exercisers.

6. Connect
All the way across the globe, centenarians cherish close ties. In Okinawa, they form part of a person’s ikigai, or reason to live. Elders connect with young people and report some of the lowest depression levels in the world. “Centenarians generally don’t stay isolated,” says Wassef. “Prolonged loneliness can weaken the immune system.” He points to a study involving 7,000 people: Women who felt friendless were five times more likely to die from breast, ovarian and uterine cancers.

7. Tweet about it
There’s a growing movement in social networking among the 65-and-older set. Nearly half of all internet users are between the ages of 50 and 64, and social networking among those 50 and older rose from 22 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2010. Googling grandmas report up to a 30-percent decrease in loneliness and symptoms of depression, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. On weekday mornings, Katharine does crossword or Sudoku puzzles and catches up on the Winnipeg Free Press to help her stay sharp.

8. Just believe
A survey of centenarians found almost a quarter attributed longevity to their faith. Katharine doesn’t fear death, but she also doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. Instead, she finds peace in her belief in a higher power and the goodness of people. Even if you’re not religious, you can tap into the power of belief, whether it’s getting involved in your community, volunteering for a cause you find important or finding peace outdoors in nature.

Read the full article here.

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