Jack Simpson: Seniors must take ownership of their health

It's debatable, but busy seniors probably neglect their health. They read a lot and know what they are supposed to be doing, but who has the time?

The daily routine may not include a regular exercise program. Living to be as old as Methuselah surely includes having a sensible diet and exercising.

I personally often sit in my big, old Lazy Boy recliner chair and think about getting up for a brisk walk around the pasture. Often I do this, but it is easy to say, "the arthritis has inflamed my hips, knees and back, so maybe walking today will be too painful an experience." I know if I take the walk my joints will argue with me. If you don't use "em, you'll lose "em, so I move on!

In this metro area, it is almost necessary to drive where you need to go. Walking safely isn't always easy to do. Yes, and folks around here may have two or three vehicles in the driveway. You have to drive them to keep up the batteries, huh? Why walk when you can drive? Those who drive everywhere probably exercise in the gym or play golf. Anyway, they are active and do not just sit around all of the time.

When we know we are supposed to do something, and for whatever reason we don't follow through, guilt and tension may adversely affect our well being. We may know a piece of wheat toast, a bowl of soup and unsweetened tea for lunch is our best option. However, that local buffet and some of the best sweet iced tea in town sure tasted good. Grubbing up can blow a diet in a hurry.

In spite of a sensible diet and exercise, we are all getting older and the body wears out. Aches and pains require canes, walkers, scooters, and sometimes wheelchairs. Assistance is needed for minimal movement. The medication list grows longer and longer, as well as more expensive. Some of us eventually require spare parts and eventually have surgery to get them.

New hips, new knees and a motorized scooter! We met such a person at the grocery store just the other day. Asked how he liked his scooter, the 80-year-old man answered, "I can't function without it." He keeps his battery charged, he moves about, and so far, in spite of pains in his hips and knees, he isn't rusting. He is mobile.

Among his purchases was Gatorade, stewed prunes and vitamins. He still takes a turn or two around his pasture on his scooter. Old age, for him, isn't so bad when he thinks of the alternative!

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Sunday.