5/11/2021 | By Terri L. Jones

Recently, my husband and I moved in with my 83-year-old mother-in-law for two months while we wait to close on our new home. I knew Alice regularly did water aerobics, but I envisioned the remainder of her days filled with crosswords and lunches with friends. Boy, was I wrong! Life with Alice – a woman who knows how to get the most out of life – is turning out to be a valuable road map for my own senior years.

Don’t Sleep the Day Away

As we age, our sleep patterns inevitably change. For some older people, that means sleeping in or taking naps throughout the day. Alice, on the other hand, beats me to the coffee pot every morning. In fact, earlier this week, when I staggered bleary-eyed into the kitchen at around 6:30 a.m., she was already mixing a scratch batter for a friend’s birthday cake. The cake was fully baked and frosted by 8:30 a.m. before she left for water aerobics! Despite rising with the sun, she stays up with us until around 9 p.m. every night and I’ve yet to see her catch a few z’s at any point during the day.

Keep Moving

While bad joints run in my husband’s family, Alice still lives in a two-story house and gets around without the slightest need for a cane or walker. It seems that she has remained so mobile precisely because she has continued to be so active. If she’s not doing water aerobics (often back-to-back classes), she’s attending a balance class or taking a walk through the park with a friend. She’s even offered to walk my dogs if I need it!

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Stay Busy

Alice worked as an appraiser until she was 75 and maintained her real estate license after that, selling two houses for my husband and me three years after she officially retired. When Alice isn’t physically active, she’s also never idle. You’ll find her at her desk scrolling through email, reading or flipping through the latest coupons. Even if she’s relaxing in her recliner with the television on, she’s usually also playing a game on her tablet at the same time.

Meet Up with Friends

You’ve probably heard that socialization is critical to avoiding depression and remaining mentally sharp. Alice, who lives alone, admits to feeling a little down when she had to stay clear of family and friends at the start of the pandemic. But after a while, she devised a plan to safely meet small groups of friends in the park, with everyone bringing their own chairs and staying socially distanced. Now that Alice and her friends are vaccinated, she’s still taking precautions but regularly seeing people for lunches and dinners again.

Plan Outings

But her social calendar doesn’t just revolve around food! Alice is continually headed off somewhere – from visiting an alpaca farm to spending time at friends’ beach houses. In fact, Alice, who has ventured overseas many times, had a trip to Singapore planned for 2020. While she had to postpone it because of the pandemic, she’s bound and determined to get there later this year or next.

As you get older, you might have to make an extra effort and even push yourself a little bit. But the old adage, “life is what you make it,” turns out to be true. Just keep living to get the most out of life!

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones