Here’s Shana’s checklist for today, July 12, 2012:
_ Reading the paper
_ Food prep
_ Physical Therapy
_ Spending time with visitors
Dogsitting: The day starts early (7:30) when Shana’s son drops off his dog, Hermes, and heads to work. He’ll be back at 5 to pick him up. For nine hours, “Gramma Shana” gets to spoil her Hermes (and as such, she fits with my Lessons Eight and Nine: “Care for Others,” and “Reach out to Family“). At the same time, her family feels good that Shana has company. So does Shana. She LOVES having people over. She has run an “informal B&B” her whole life. Anyone who drops by gets a handful of flowers or zucchinis, whatever is being harvested that week.
Garden-work (mid-morning): Shana says that gardening keeps her sane, and she wants to die with her gardening boots on. Over the years, Shana, with the help of family, has adapted her approach to gardening as her body has changed. First, her neice put in raised beds, so she could reach the weeds. But she still lost balance sometimes. Now Shana tends those beds while seated in a plastic chair. It works. (I wrote about this in Lessons Ten and Four in my book, “Be Adaptable,” and “Take Time for Self“)
Food prep (late morning): Shana also cooks up a storm. She prepared the patties and the salads for Memorial Day this year, as she always has. And on a daily basis, she may be found cooking meals like fish and vegetables.
Therapy (after lunch): Today Shana is doing something new – physical therapy – because she fell while putting on a sweater in her room. Perhaps surprisingly, nothing was broken. But Shana has had to re-learn distance walking.
Napping (early afternoon): Shana gets energy for the afternoon and evening if she can take a midday nap.
Swimming (afternoon): Shana doesn’t go in her backyard pool on her own (she sometimes has problems lifting herself out of the water), but her daughter is visiting from the city today, so they will go in together.
Visiting: (late afternoon) “Mom tires me out; I can’t keep up with her,” says Shana’s daughter. And then she quickly invites me over for the day’s harvest and a visit. “Shana would love to see you!”
Shana is not your average 95-year-old. But, like many in her age group, she epitomizes how the active life span of Americans is elongating, as many live longer and healthier lives.
Now if only I could get up from sitting at this computer and do something!