I've been echoing through the halls of our ancestors to the present moment, now pinging toward the generations yet to come with cautioary tales. Croneish time traveler tricks. Goes something like this:
In remembering both my biological grandmothers and other fine elders I've had close involvement with, each who remained physically active up through their later years, most had signifigant loss of balance toward the end of their lives (as have many mid-life friends). Many became recliner, bed, or wheelchair bound from the initial fear of falling and the resulting inactivity or injury.
For my mother this year, a near decade of dealing with a general loss of balance resulted in a broken hip and eighteen hours plus on the kitchen floor. Akin to having birthed six kids including a set of twins but at 82!. Coupled with fear and the resulting inertia there has been several months of being wheelchair and bed bound and terrific head scratching (could it be vascular dementia i.e. stoke damage from TIA's resulting in Ataxia? ya ditty, ya ditty, ya ditty ya...gratefully, each ruled out). Once the anesthesia cloud finally began to lift and healing gained a toehold, good old confidence building at home and some outpatient OT are beginning to make tiny incremental gains. Mostly, by helping her to gently stretch her hamstrings and build a growing awareness of her center of gravity via her pelvic tilt and use of core strength.
She's frail but healthy; no meds, a life history of good diet and work related activity, and an uber- keen use of her mind for eighty two years. If we can get past this hurdle she may just pass her 89 year old mother. Down the hall and to the present.
Here's my pitch: trying to stay fit while housebound, i.e. caring for Ma. I'm using the Strongwomen program introduced to me last year via the Wisewoman program of SEARHC, our regional health consortium. I witnessed and experienced astounding results having already been fairly fit. A dear friend, having suffered a balance related broken leg claims she healed quickly and never felt better while useing this simple regemen twice weekly (love you Margaret!).
So, with the Strong women reps (wonderfully described on their site) coupled with a yoga ball and related exercises, I'm intending to return to my Alaskan lifestyle able to pick up where I left off. In peak Crone form. Oh yeah, fellas can be Crones too. Old Cronie? Codger? Guys, make it happen in your chosen fashion and let me know. We all be elders in training.
I've done a little cutting here from the Strong Women Web site and added links under Keepin The Gears Greased. Aw go on, check it out.
" Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, is one of the Tufts University scientists who developed this remarkably successful exercise program. Her research created news worldwide when the results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Now Dr. Nelson has written Strong Women Stay Young, to translate her laboratory findings into a safe, simple and effective program that any woman can follow at home.
"My study followed 40 postmenopausal women for a year. All were healthy, but sedentary; none was taking hormones. Half the volunteers - the control group - simply maintained their usual lifestyle. The others came to the Tufts University laboratories twice a week and lifted weights.
Most women begin to lose bone and muscle mass at about age 40; in part because of this, they start to slow down. And that's exactly what happened to the women who didn't exercise. One sedentary year later, their muscles and bones had aged, and they were even less active than before.
The women who lifted weights changed too - but in the opposite direction. After one year of strength training, their bodies were 15 to 20 years more youthful.
They became stronger - often even stronger than when they were younger. (Ade will attest to this)
Without drugs, they regained bone, helping to prevent osteoporosis.
Their balance and flexibility improved.
They were leaner and trimmer, though eating as much as ever.
The women were so energized, they became 27 percent more active.