23 December 10 Lifestyle in Action – A Tribute to S&S

I recently had the pleasure of spending three days with a wonderful couple in their late 80's/early 90's. I will call them "S&S." Many of you reading this blog might not have parents or grandparents who are still alive at that age. For those of you who do, my guess is that they share some important qualities with S&S. I decided to write about S&S because I was so impressed with how they live. Their lifestyle seems so consistent with everything I that teach at the diabetes clinic, as well as what is reported in Harvard Health’s “Living to 100: What's the Secret?" Here are just a few of my observations about these two lovely people.

Active Lives, Active Minds. S&S still travel regularly, both within the states and abroad. They remain curious and explore the world around them. They read voraciously and have opinions about current political topics. One still works periodically. They still vote. They still care. And they are great conversationalists.

Physical Activity. S&S get up and move every day. One walks about two miles every morning, whereas the other is active keeping up the home and shopping. Both rest when they need to, but are then back on their feet regularly throughout the day.

Balanced Meals. One person has Type 2 Diabetes, but both have adopted recommended dietary changes for diabetes. This is fantastic since as one person controls blood glucose, the other controls weight. Since I work as an outpatient diabetes counselor, I couldn't help but notice how beautifully the meals matched recommended guidelines for carb control yet still contained flavor and balance. These meals were a creative combination of dishes made from scratch and pre-prepared items. All were delicious, affordable, portion controlled, and contained fruit and veggies.

Knowing When to Celebrate. One night, we all went out to a lovely Danish restaurant to celebrate a family gathering. I was delighted to see that S&S both enjoyed their meals. There was no obsession or angst about the meal or whether or not they should indulge in dessert. It was a special occasion - to be enjoyed and savored. The next day, they were back on track and that was that.

Connectedness. S&S are loved and appreciated by their friends and family. They create opportunities for new relationships while making time to nurture existing relationships. Travel helps maintain connectedness, but they also stay in contact by writing letters, emailing and by phone. Most importantly, they simply find the time to stay connected.
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD
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