Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Living to 100

Ginger has a link in a recent post to a site that estimates a person's life expectancy based on a 10 minute questionnaire. Basically, if you have good genes, don't smoke or drink excessively, have no chronic lifestyle illnesses, are of normal weight and exercise regularly, eat little meat or processed foods, you can expect to live to the age of 100.

I want to LIVE to 100, not EXIST to 100!

Working with the sick and elderly can be very inspiring. We had a family meeting to discuss the discharge plans of the sweetest lady you could ever meet. She is 98 years old and lived very independently in her apartment until she fell in the night and broke her hip a few weeks ago. After her surgery, she developed a blood clot that moved to her lungs. She was very ill, receiving large amount of supplemental oxygen. She has defied the odds of age, bounced back from her surgery and complications, and is now using a walker with someone close by.

She wants to go home.
But we are advising a retirement home.
Tears...but no arguments.
A plan...

Her birthday is in September. She will go to a retirement home for further convalescence, and then her goal is to be back in her apartment when she turns 99.
We have to applaud her spunk and determination. Who are we to tell her she cannot do it?
I was invited to the 100th birthday party of a patient who returned home to independent living after a hip fracture. I know it can be done.

When I am 100, let it be me!

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree...
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They will be fresh and flourishing...
Psalm 92:12-14

Happy Birthday Oma Lois!


  1. I completely agree on LIVING not existing to 100, or whatever advanced age.
    I am blessed to have my father still living at 88. His father lived until 86, so the genes may be good.
    But I have been in enough nursing homes to know that some folks don't live; they just exist. And that is sad to see.

  2. Good for your patients! It has seemed to me in the past that a broken hip was either some sort of death knell, or a harbinger of slow decline until death. It's great to hear stories of people who got past it and could be independent again.

  3. My Mom (89)experiences regular falls and it is a fear of mine that should she break something and need to be confined to bed, she would not be able to resume an active life. Your stories are hopeful. Thank you Ruth.

  4. Absolutely on target. I moved to Florida in '95 to be near my 'elderly' mother, who was at that time 78 years old. I'm now back in NJ. My elderly Mom is now 90, but looks like she's 75. This last year, she went through some major surgery, and the doctors now say she is healthy. Diabetic, but otherwise healthy. She just went back to her place in Florida and is having more fun than I am. She says age is all in your mind. She also told her Dr. before her surgery that she was not ready to leave, still had lots of things to do, had no intention of dying, and if he messed up her surgery and she died on the table, he would be the first person she came after LOL. I think the Dr. was more frightened than she was!

  5. Thank you for the inspiring blog on this my 72nd b'day. I plan to at least accomplish Granny's 94 years - age is just a number. My life is so full of people to see and places to go I don't have time to age ...and my grandkids know they'll never have a grey haired grandmother, thanks to all those wonderful hairdressers out there.

  6. A broken hip doesn't mean the end. My Mom fractured her hip and gained full ROM very quickly. I applaud the tenacious spirit of those approaching a century! I'm smiling for them.

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful story of brave seniors who deserve best wishes.

    Ruth, your job is so rewarding. I'd much rather trade stories with your patients than shuffle silly state papers all day...

  7. Boy, it certainly does give you perspective when you see some people fully held captive by their age and health and others who LIVE and don't just exist. I'm with you Ruth... I want to LIVE, and that is impetus enough for me to try and take care of this body now.

  8. KGMom- I wish your father a continuation of good health. Even if the body fails, the mind is the most important thing to protect. Those who retain an interest on life and in others have a better chance of this happening.

    Ginger- A broken hip is often part of physical and mental decline that starts long before a fall. These patients do not recover well. The statistics look grim, but there are those who overcome.

    Lynne- At our hospital we have a Falls Clinic where frequent fallers are assessed, hopefully before they have a fracture. They are assessed by a team who may recommend medication changes, equipment prescriptions and exercise and education programs. Often they can be helped to live in a safer way.

    LauraO- Sounds like you may have good genes! You mother is likely one of those seniors who I will never see in a rehab setting. Diabetes is something that can really increase risks of a serious health event, but it is a risk that can be controlled well with good discipline and medical care.

    OmaLois- Hope you had a happy birthday. The women in our family tend to live long. You certainly don't look your age! even without your wonderful hairdressers.

    Mary- I think you are a people person more than a paper person. My job is rewarding but not without its frustrations. Not every patient (or staff member) is easy to work with and we are chronically understaffed. Even so, I do love my job and people like this lady make my day.

    Becka- Hi!

    Jayne- We have so much knowledge about how to take care of our bodies. My little summary of how to live to a healthy old age looks so simple, but really is so difficult for most of us. Most centarians I have met live simple lives with meaningful routines. Our stresses and excesses age us quickly.

  9. I love spunky older people who don't give up. Good for them!

  10. NW- I hope that in time you will be one of those spunky centarians!


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