July 14


The Oldest Old


Senay, my oldest child and only daughter turned 17 this week.  What did she want for her birthday?

1.  Grammy to visit from Pittsburgh.
2.  Go out to eat with family, boyfriend, and grandparents.
3.  Play pickleball. 

I feel like I talk about pickleball every week, but it has truly taken over our family.  Most of our conversations are based around this delightfully addicting game. 

All four kids and Mommy and Daddy play can play together as we are evenly skilled. Senay will play five or six days a week for several hours.  What a great addiction!  It's social and healthy.  Certainly better than video games.

Most of the players are in their 60s and 70s, so Senay's youth and enthusiasm are a real joy. 

I watched a couple of fascinating episodes of 60 Minutes recently. One covered how many Boomers are now taking on roommates to help defray the cost of their living expenses.

Many of my clients bristle at the idea. "Roommates in my 60’s and 70’s? Like on the Golden Girls? No way," they say.

So I see them struggle to get by on their meager savings and Social Security.

This all goes back to the idea that having to ask for help shows some sort of weakness.

My wife fought breast cancer seven years ago. As you can imagine, we learned a lot about a lot of facets of life. She had great doctors, and the surgeries were very difficult, but overall we made it through. That isn’t the part of the experience that surprised us the most.

What surprised us was all the help.

When you face a life-threatening illness (with four very young children), certain thoughts run through your mind. "How are we going to make it through this?"

We have some family down here, but they could only do so much. Somehow, we had to balance my wife's care, and the rest she needed, with the very real-life demands of raising four children.

Then something amazing happened.

People came out of the woodwork to help us. While some were friends before the illness, most were mere acquaintances. Maybe someone we met once or twice. Sometimes we were served by people who didn’t even know us but knew we were in a time of need.

It was an incredible experience. You don’t know what support is there until you really need it.

So what’s my point? For whatever reason, the American culture has taught us to be completely self-reliant, less you be a burden to society and those around you. In almost every culture throughout history, it was assumed that community members supported each other. It wasn’t a sign of weakness. It is simply how humans naturally organize societies.

There are people out there waiting to help. It gives them purpose and joy to be the helper.

So why not explore the option of having a roommate? Housing costs are completely out of control. If you are curious, you can go to www.SilverNest.com. It is well-designed and useful.

You don’t have to barely survive while many other people are out there, too, with limited resources. Not only does it save a ton of money, but many people also find they like having someone else around the house. Humans are social creatures.

The other episode reported on a fascinating study about the "oldest old." Meaning those in the ’90s and ’100s. The study followed 14,000 people. They were tracked throughout their lives (from early childhood), and they came away with fascinating insights into how they have lived for so long.

Smoking obviously lowered life expectancy dramatically, and genes played a big part, but some of the other findings were more surprising.

They found that drinking between one and three cups of coffee a day actually increased life span.

And get ready for this…drinking 1-2 alcoholic beverages daily increases life expectancy by 1-2 years. When you’re done reading this article, crack open a beer without shame. Your spouse might look at you strangely if you are reading this at seven in the morning.

The common belief is that red wine is healthy in moderation, but the study found that alcohol, in any form, was equally effective.

What about exercise? Not surprisingly, it was an important indicator. Their findings revealed that forty-five minutes of exercise a day was ideal. Two hours was not better than forty-five minutes. You don’t need to kill yourself doing hardcore workouts, as moderate intensity yielded equally good results. You don’t need to do all forty-five minutes in a row. It can be spread throughout the day.

Another interesting finding was that it was advantageous to be overweight. While being obese is always bad, being a bit overweight as you get older is an indicator of a longer life. You don’t want to be slim in your 90’s.

Non-physical activities: book clubs, socializing with friends, board games, all good. They lead to a longer life.

Vitamins and supplements are a hot topic, but the study found no correlation between taking vitamins and living longer.

If you want to watch the segments go to:

The oldest of the old
Silver nest roommates

Be Blessed,


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