Intelligent aging pushing margins

Our Intelligent Aging group chose an important question: How do you age intelligently?

Warmland Community Policing put on a successful Seniors Safety Fair event this past week at the Island Savings Centre. Representatives from various seniors programs and services were represented. Nurse Next Door was there with friends from our seniors services network — our Intelligent Aging group.

One of the fun ideas was a passport to visit each of the booths, where the passport required an answer to a pre-selected question. Our Intelligent Aging group chose an important question: How do you age intelligently?

If I were to ask you that right now, how would you answer? Go ahead, take 15 seconds and think of three things you think you should do to age intelligently.

Of course, you’re going to say “exercise” first. Then you’ll say “eat well”. And then something else. And then you’ll think, one day soon I’ll start to do those things so that when I’m older I’ll be healthy. If that’s how you’re going to answer it, then forget it. Do it now, or don’t bother thinking about it.

Anyways, back to the answer.

In my opinion, to age intelligently you have to be active, yes. But it’s deeper than activity and nutrition. You must be informed. And you must be involved.

To be informed means you know where to turn when issues like urgent care for a loved one comes up. It means knowing when the right time is to seek medical advice for a weird, new symptom. It means getting regular health check-ups like the experts always suggest. It means consideration of how your home may need to be adjusted or reno’d so that it will fit you as you change. It also means getting over the discomfort of talking about hearing loss or vision loss, death, your finances, and important legal documents like a POA, Representation Agreement and/or your appointed Substitute Decision Makers.

And as important as anything else, it’s being involved. Involved in community events. Involved in hobbies that interest you. Learning new interesting activities that previously eluded you. Pushing out boundaries and learning to challenge yourself each week. Fighting isolation. Involved in the lives of people who are important to you. Involved in your own life! Involved in life.

In my mind, if you can get a grip on the above things, you are aging intelligently. You are minimizing risk of early death, Alzheimers/dementia, cancer, loneliness, depression.

Is there really an alternative?

Chris Wilkinson is the owner/GM for Nurse Next Door Home Care Services for Cowichan and central Vancouver Island. For questions or an in-home caring consult contact 250-748-4357, or