My Grandma inside the igloo for her 89th birthday!

My Grandma will be 92 tomorrow.  She lives on her own, cooks for herself, loves the movies, and is interesting to talk to.  She has moments of forgetfulness and relays a lot of stories from the past and her youth.  Now and then my mom will call me to tell me she is worried my Grandma might be losing it a little.  Sometimes my mom seems right and other times I say, “I do the same thing.  If Grandma has dementia then I must too.”

A week after Christmas my Grandma called me to thank me for the beautiful amaryllis I’d given her for Christmas.  She left a message and as I listened, I grew a little sad.  I had not given her an amaryllis.  Perhaps my mom was more right than I realized.  Someone else deserved this thank you.  Not me.  It signaled that my Grandma seemed to be losing it.

Later that night when Matt arrived home, I told him about my Grandma’s message and how my mom might be onto something.  “I didn’t get her an amaryllis,” I told him.  “Yes, you did,” he reminded me, proving that my Grandma is still doing okay.

Often, I feel like my Grandma is more with it than I am.  She tells me it is because I’m busy and have a lot on my plate—just another reason I’m still lucky to have her.

The Secret to Live Longer

The story got me thinking: how and why is my Grandma so healthy at 92.  What’s the secret we are all looking for to a long, healthy life?  No one knows the answer, but I’d guess it is that she walked daily for decades. Though she has a sweet tooth—a pretty big one that she indulges—she always eats a well-balanced diet with lots of veggies.  Each day she drinks eight tall glasses of water.

Instead of guessing I went to the source directly.  She believes her longevity comes from her genes.  Her paternal grandma lived to 93.  But supposedly genes only dictate twenty-five percent of our chance to reach a ripe old age.  She also attributed her health to working outside in the yard—a task she enjoyed and did daily during good weather.  The regular walking was key for her.  She slowly built up to three miles a day begrudgingly, but her doctor, who she always says was ahead of his time, nagged her to walk for her heart health.  She said her neighbors would ask why and what she was doing.  It was not the norm at the time.

I’m happy to take long walks.  That’s fun for me and feels good.  Food is trickier for me.  I have my Grandma’s sweet tooth and probably don’t get enough vegetables.  As I’m doing our Mindful Eating Challenge this month, I think perhaps all the veggies keep her saner than she realizes.  For the rest of this week, I’m attempting a veggie at every meal.  Feel free to join me whether you are doing the challenge or not.  Is this something you already do?  What is your favorite vegetable?  I love Brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, and squash.

Want to Read More?

Click here to read about the Mindful Eating Challenge.  It’s never too late to join!

Click here to read more about Maggie’s Grandma in the igloo.

Click here to read about Maggie’s favorite place to walk!

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