“Summertime Senior Safety”

Summertime and the living are easy!

Man, listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing that song makes me want to go outside, sit in the warmth of the sun with my gin & tonic, and a good book. The truth is I can’t lay in the sun anymore. I never should have all those years back when I lathered up with baby lotion to get a tan. I’ve been lucky so far that I haven’t had skin cancer, but I’ve had a few big scares. I’ve read that the older we get the longer we’ve been exposed to the sunlight which is one of the many reasons we’re at higher risk for skin cancer.

I don’t know about you but I want to live, and a lot of that living has to do with being outside. I like to garden, walk on the beach, play in the pool with my grandchildren, watch them play sports, and walk my dog. So, how can I do that and be safe too?

6 steps for senior skin care

I did my research, and while many of the things I learned I was already doing. The things I read made me sit up and take those things a little more seriously. I would encourage you to read them if you’re serious about taking care of yourself. I’ll have the site information at the end of this post. For now, I made up a reminder list of the important things we can do.

  • Be committed to the consistency it takes to be the best you.
  • Check your skin on a regular basis
  • Stay out of tanning beds
  • Apply SPF 30 or higher before you get dressed to make sure you don’t miss a spot.
  • Pay special attention to the ears, bald spots, hands and feet, and reapply exposed areas throughout the day.
  • Always use a lip balm of at least 30 SPF and apply several times throughout the day.
  • Sit in shade
  • As my friends would say moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/protecting-senior-skin-from-the-summer-sun-147114.htm

https://www.skincancer.org/healthy-lifestyle/anti-aging/seniors

Ignoring the Pain

elbow pain 
In my last post, I talked about how much I enjoy playing in my gardens. I call it, play because it feels more like fun than work to me.  Life’s too short to do things any other way at this stage of the game. I want to be able to keep doing the things I love. So, I go the extra mile by doing my warm-up exercises. Setting time limits, wearing my hat, gloves, comfortable clothes and sunscreen. I’m ready to dive in.
 
Like a kid with all my toys, I head out to my garden. Taking my hoe in tow I begin to loosen the soil. Right away a nagging pain around my elbow reminds me that it’s still in recovery mode. I hurt it the other week putting some elbow grease into scrubbing my oven. So, I put the hoe away and got down in the dirt. The soil was soft enough to pull the tender weeds. It wasn’t long though before my tennis elbow started screaming stop. Determined to keep going I switched to my left hand and when that got tired I went back to my right. Going back and forth each time until the pain started screaming louder. It’s okay, I tell myself. There’s plenty of other things we can do. So, I head for my potting shed. I open the door and there are dirt-filled pots piled up everywhere. I don’t attempt to pick them up instead I go for the smaller empty ones that I can scrub out. I pile them outside the shed. Grab a scrub brush and start brushing the dirt out, but by now even the simplest of things are causing pain. So, I give up and go inside for a drink of water. Even pulling on the refrigerator door hurts. I reach for the water jug but this time my left-hand moves in before the right one pick it up. I sit with my water, and an ice pack around my elbow looking out at my gardens. There’s so much work to do before I can begin to plant my flowers. I’m not going to be able to do any of it until my elbow has time enough to heal now. I am frustrated but most of all disappointed. Now I’m going to have to do the one thing no senior wants to do. Ask for help.
 
Lessoned learned, to play responsible, you have to prepare yourself its true. But none of that matters if you don’t use your common sense too.

“The Dis-ease of Seniorities”

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I was working on my memoir and started a sentence off with the word senior. It was about reaching that final year in high school. I sat there looking at the word senior, thinking how surreal the moment felt. I mean, here I was a senior again going through some of the same feelings and emotions only this time it’s at the opposite end of life. But what could make two such different correlations of the word anything alike? It could only be that dreaded feeling that comes with the anticipation of the unknown. It creates a kind of dis-ease they call…senioritis.

So, I wondered, what are the symptoms of senioritis? Of course, it only applied to seniors in high school. But once again I couldn’t help seeing the correlation to those of us adjusting to our retirement and our senior years of life.

The symptoms:

Loss of interest in your appearance
Lack of motivation
Increased irritability
Difficulty reading things longer than a few paragraphs
A drastic increase in TV watching
Feeling rebellious
Feeling superior
Short-term memory loss
Sleep too much or too little

Oh, those years of youth when I had my whole life ahead of me to look forward to. Another symptom of senioritis comes with the wonder of what’s left to come. Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s in her book, “Love Your Age,” reminds us that, “We can’t control getting older, but we can control how we do it.” Understanding those words gives us our power back. It takes us out of that senioritis mindset. We realize life is no longer about looking ahead or back, but about making the most of the moments we have right now. I’m learning that you can live a lifetime in those moments because it actually feels as if time stops and all that matters is where you find yourself.

So, there we have it. Another way to embrace this stage of our life, take control and do it our way.

If you’re looking for more ways to find out how to make the best of this time in your life check out Gruffermans’s book. She has lots of great ideas and insight.

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“The Embrace”

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Turning 65 made me step back and take an undeniable reality check. I’ve reached the age of no return.

I tell my friend, “I want to embrace this time in my life, but I don’t know what that means.”

“Neither do I,” she says.

While I was on vacation recently I had an aha moment that put everything into perspective for me. I stopped to check out this big old tree that was over 237 years old. Standing beside it I looked so small in comparison. I was drawn to step within the fold of its draping branches. At first the clusters of Spanish-moss looked like ghost from the past swaying between the branches. Then it looked like beautiful long silver hair blowing in the wind. I’m in awe of the moment as if I’ve stepped within that place where the meaning of inner beauty lies. This big beautiful old tree with it’s wrinkles, cracks, and age spots still stands strong in a weathered region against all odds. Maybe it’s because she went with the flow of the winds, bending with a flexible heart to whatever God brought her way.

Nature teaching me how to embrace my age meant; to stand tall and proud for what and who I’ve become. That’s where our true beauty lies, and keep on moving so I can bend with the flow of life, with the gracefulness of Spanish-moss blowing in the wind.