senior mental fitness


www.TheBestofOurLives.com

Announcement

On our website, www.TheBestofOurLives.com, there is a page called Trisha’s Dishes. This is a page where my wife Trisha offered her favorite recipies. The problem has been that Trisha had to go through our publisher every time she wanted to include a new recipe. Well, good news. Trisha now has her own site where she will be providing her favorite recipies and a forum for others to share their favorites on a weekly basis.

Do yourself and your taste buds a favor and visit her new site.

Simply go to our homepage www.TheBestofOurLives.com and click on Trisha’s Dishes or click on the link below.

               

My Family’s Favorite Dessert « Trisha’s Dishes

Seniors and a Stree-free Environment 

After coming off a long travel adventure, it has taken a while to get unpacked, organized, and acclimated to our own home. As we were going through this process, I came across an online article that provided suggestions for creating a healthy and happy home. It reminded me of something my wife Trisha and I have been working on since we retired. In our book, The Best of Our Lives: Sharing the Secrets of a Healthy and Happy Retired Life, we referred to it as creating a stress-free environment. Reducing stress is key to maintaining both mental and physical health, especially as we get older.

Have you ever visited someone who has been retired for many years and noticed their living environment had not changed in years? That in itself may not be a bad thing, but the fact is as we get older we need to pay attention to our environment and make sure we create one that is stree-free, promotes good health, and meets our need for safety.

Here are a few suggestions for creating a stress-free and healthy environment:

1. Reduce clutter – This is my personal favorite because I’m claustrophobic and clutter makes me very stressed. Clutter also increases your chances of tripping and falling (see my last blog). Now University of Chicago researchers have found that living with clutter actually makes you more tired and that fatigue creates a hormone called cortisol within your body that can cause you to eat from 200 to 1,000 more calories per day. I was just going to use the “big bones” excuse.

2. Keep it light – Scientests have shown that keeping your home environment filled with natural light is good for both your mental and physical fitness. There are some studies that now contend an abundance of natural light in our environment can even help prevent disease. I’m always intriqued when I walk into a person’s home that has closed blinds or heavy window covers that prevent light. I’m sure it has something to do with privacy, but keeping our living environment filled with natural light is very important.

3. Keep it simple and spacious – This doesn’t mean you have to have a large home, it simply means don’t over fill your living space with furniture, plants, etc. When my wife and I bought our first home (sometime back in the last century), I could not wait to get one of those big sectional couches. Well, I got my wish. Of course, even the kids had a hard time walking around in our living room. As my old baseball coach used to say, “You have to learn from losing.” Allow yourself plenty of space and wide walking paths.

4. Keep it personal and upbeat – Have you ever watched one of those television shows where exerts come into someone’s home and help them redecorate (o.k. guys, now you know I do watch some of those shows)? They will often look at the paint color or some art object and ask why it’s there. The person typically responds, “It’s been there since we moved in.” Yikes! How much does two gallons of paint cost. Why are you hanging on to grandma’s old quilt hanging on the wall? If you are retired, it’s definitely time to make your living environment your own. Look through some magazines, watch some of the decorating shows, and create the kind of living space would make you happy.

5. Enjoy your space – Once you have created the perfect space for your retired life, make sure you enjoy it. My wife Trisha and I have added a mid-afternoon break to our schedules. When we are home, around 4:00 or so, we stop what we’re doing and sit down for some hot or iced tea, sometimes a snack, and just relax. Sounds very English doesn’t it. It just seemed that around that time we are usually still going strong on various projects and a nice peaceful break would be beneficial for us. Our stress-free environment is the perfect location.

See you next time and don’t forget to share this site with your friends and family.

 

Great place for adults, kids and grandkids!

For anyone living near Napa, California, here is a unique and wonderful place to take your kids and grandkids, and have a ball yourself. It’s PB & J’s located at 849 Jackson in Napa. There are inflatable slides, bounce houses, birthday party facilities, and much more for kids. For the older kids and adults, there are batting cages and golf practice facilities. In addition, there are a number of professional instructors available for those who take their games seriously.

That’s PB & J’s                                                                                                                                              

         

                   At the recent celebration to honor my father’s life, the most frequent comment heard was about his positive attitude and positive approach to life. He was not a person given to anger, but rather someone who sought to find the best in himself and others. Humor was his cure all.

          I’m very lucky to have had him as my father, and I’m also fortunate that my wife Trisha  has this same quality. Her every minute is spent with an energetic and positive approach to life. At first meeting, I’m sure some may think it is some sort of faux personality. It’s not.

          I’ve written before about a positive attitude and it’s many benefits on one’s life. From a longevity standpoint, barring some unforeseen health crisis, we now know having a positive attitude toward our retired lives can add nearly 8 years to our life. This week, having spent a lot of time in reflection, I have been reviewing some of my favorite quotes about attitude. Here is one I want to share with you. If you’ve seen it before, another reading may still be inspiring. It was for me.

Attitudes

by Charles R. Swindoll

     Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.

     I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.

Or as the great philosopher Jimmy Buffet put it:

   It’s those changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes     Nothing remains quite the same 

   With all of our running and all of our cunning, if we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane

Life is indeed difficult. A periodic assessment of one’s attitude may be quite beneficial.

Media Alerts

Meet the “Batting Stance Kid.”

Grandson Jack Reed Parker was recently featured on both the Dodger pregame show and the Jr. Dodgers program for his ability to imitate Major League baseball player’s batting stances and swings. Not bad for a four-year-old. 

Way to go Jack.

Follow the link and then click on “Meet the batting stance guy.”

Jr. Dodgers Show | Jr. Dodger Broadcasters interview Andre Ethier – Video | do

 

       On a travel note, Trisha and I have been invited to Kennebunkport, Maine for a number of book signings this week. Should be a lot of fun and we look forward to the beautiful locale and meeting lots of new people.

Bye for now.

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

I remember the great first line of one of my favorite books by M. Scott Peck, M.D., The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult.”  If you haven’t had the good fortune to read Dr. Peck’s philisophical masterpiece, his basic premise is that in our culture we are taught life should always be perfect and wonderful, leaving us vulnerable and unprepared to deal with the harsh realities. While my wife Trisha and I  try our best to maintain positive attitudes, our recent struggles dealing with my father’s health crisis have brought us face-to-face with some very difficult issues and tested every aspect of our mental, emotional, and physical strength.

The good news is virtually every time over the last few weeks we began to feel completely overwhelmed, a family member or friend would stop by, offer encouragement over the phone, or send us a supportive email or card. While not every one of our family members or friends are seniors, they certainly have been providing us with our own personal “Senior Support System.” After each phone call or other message, we have taken a deep breath and smiled at the wonderful sense of not being alone during this difficult time. It has been very reassuring and reminded us of a very simple concept: we all have the capacity to provide support and encouragement for our fellow human beings. What better gift can we share with one another?

For some this may seem a bit cliche and melodramatic, but from this side of the support coin, nothing could be more true and valuable. Thank you to those who have been so supportive (you know who you are). Both Trisha and I aspire to be as thoughtful and play a part in providing others with their “Senior Support System” when those times present themselves.

Life can be difficult indeed, but each of us can help make those times bearable.

John Parker

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

As much as we might not want to admit it, growing older comes with varying degrees of mental decline. Specifically, the declines are in memory, information processing, and communicating with others. That’s the bad news.

The good news is current research tells us if we take the proper measures, the inevitability of severe mental decline can be virtually eliminated. In one study, men were tested when they were younger and then again at age eighty-one. Those who had stayed mentally active showed that “cognitive capabilities generally associated with advanced aging were neither extensive nor consistent.”

Here is a summary of “Retirement Rules” for staying mentally fit:

1. Get regular exercise – Be sure to get in your thirty minutes of aerobic exercise daily and add in a mental component. Believe it or not, dancing and/or shopping are two of the best combinations. Sorry guys.

2. Socialize – Talking, laughing, and discussing various topics with other people is actually good for your mental fitness.

3. Reduce your stress – This will positively alter the chemistry of the brain and buffer it from harmful stress hormones.

4. Increase your mental activities – You can do this by reading, writing, playing musical instruments, working puzzles, and participating in group discussions.

5. Vary your activities – Change things up from time-to-time. The brain gets used to the same activities so we need to seek new sights, smells, and activities.

6. Improve your nutrition – There are spcific foods (which I will discuss in a future blog) that actually improve your mental fitness. Seek them out.

Following these basic rules for mental fitness will go a long way in slowing mental decline. As the saying goes, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Great gift idea:

*** On a completely different topic, I know many of you seniors out there have lots of grandkids. After these kids have received every toy in the store, it’s difficult to buy them presents for their birthdays or during the holidays. I’ve got a great suggestion for you and it’s one my wife and I have taken to heart.

Go to:   www.jenparkerphotography.com    and see some of the beautiful work she does. She is the best child and family photographer I have ever seen and can provide you with unique photos and photo books that will become treasures for a lifetime. Take a look a her website and you will be amazed.

Latest book news:

Trisha and I recently appeared on the ABC San Francisco television program The View From The Bay.

Succesful transition to retired life from authors John and Trisha Parker – 2/2

We will be appearing for a book signing at Barnes & Noble  in Antioch, California, from 3:00 to 5:00 on March 13. Would love to see you there.

John Parker

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

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