Actively aging — it's going to be a busy week

How does your week look? Since retiring, my husband and I use that query to initiate a ritual in which we compare planned activities and our respective calendars. We do it during a game of Scrabble on Sunday evening or over Monday-morning coffee.

Aging brains have a lot of information to carry around, and it's easy to get distracted from a task. This sit-down-together moment ensures we show up for appointments on time and prompts us to commit to daily exercise.

It's going to be a busy week. My husband will, once again, host the AARP-sponsored Rogue Valley Community Cable Television show "Age Friendly Rogue Valley" (on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.). It took gentle arm-twisting before I agreed to be one of his guests. Hopefully, I won't use "honey" or "dear" when I respond to his questions.

On Wednesday, I will be in my second session of co-facilitating the "Living Well" (chronic disease self-management) series. Good group of participants — I learn from them and they learn from each other. The series uses an evidence-based Stanford University curriculum. If you're interested in learning more, check it out at www.sohealthyoregon.org or call 541-864-9611.

On Valentine's Day, I've agreed to offer an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute lecture to their membership titled "An Ounce of Prevention."

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That would be the Benjamin Franklin who struggled with obesity and gout throughout his middle-aged and later years. But then, he also lived to age 84 at a time when many people died decades earlier.

OLLI folks asked me to provide a lecture to members months ago, and I'm excited about sharing current research and from-the-heart information on aging well. These OLLI audiences are quite amazing — they push presenters to excel with their high expectations and excellent questions. (If you're interested in exploring membership, check out www.sou.edu/olli/)

As preparation for this presentation, I'm reading "A Short Guide to a Long Life" by Steven B. Agus, M.D. It's a practical book with a few unexpected ideas. Dr. Agus reminds us, "Be sure to ask mom or dad what killed Grandpa and Aunt Marge."

And there's a wonderful chapter in the book called "Get Naked."

Agus believes restorative sleep is significantly more important than nutrient-dense foods. His book has caused me to think more about my sleep needs before important events. For the week upcoming, perhaps I should put "8 p.m. bedtime" on my calendar.

It overwhelms me a little to review our upcoming week's activities. I am about to submit this column to my editor, and I can envision him rolling his eyes and remarking, "This column looks more like a community bulletin board."

So be it. Aging is better done actively. You might consider putting that phrase at the top of your own calendar.

Sharon Johnson is a retired Oregon State University associate professor emeritus. Reach her at Sharon@hmj.com.


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