Staying Active as a Senior
David moved to senior living three years ago when his wife’s health was declining. But the 90-year-old is so active rollerblading, riding his motorcycle, cottaging or working out at the gym that you’d be hard-pressed to find him in his suite! We convinced him to sit down for a few minutes to tell us how he does it.
How do you typically start your day?
David: I go to the gym Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. I power walk for 30 minutes and then do 30 minutes of exercises for my upper and lower body. About 35 years ago, I was having heart problems. I went to cardiac clinic and they helped me change my diet and start an exercise routine and I’ve been at it ever since. It’s made a great difference: I lost about 18 pounds and I can do a lot more than I used to. I was experiencing angina heart pain and I haven’t had any pain in the past 15 years.
What other activities do you enjoy in the summer?
David: I go roller-skating on Tuesday mornings from 10 to 12. I get on my motorcycle whenever the weather’s not too hot or two cold. Recently I rode my Honda 750 cruiser to the motorcycle rally in Port Dover, which happens every Friday the 13th. I enjoy meeting people — more than 100,000 bikers were there. I had to park two kilometres away and walk the rest: that was as close as I could get to downtown.
I really enjoy spending time at the cottage on Georgian Bay, which has been in the family since we built it 55 years ago. It’s a real family cottage. I have two daughters and five grandchildren. Over the May long weekend we had 11 people and two dogs up there. I just went up over the weekend to mow the lawn and clean up the gardens then I came home on Saturday afternoon so I could be home for church on Sunday.
What do you do in the winter?
I used to ski regularly but I only went downhill skiing twice this past year. I’ve recently arrived at the conclusion that I’m not up to mountain skiing anymore.
How do people react when they hear about all your activities?
They rarely believe me! A lot of people say I don’t look my age. Maybe it’s because I’ve been keeping busy all my life. I worked with the same company for 53 years: 37 as an accountant and then 16 years with the board of directors. I just can’t sit around and watch TV all day. If I do sit down, it’s because I’m watching the business report. I’m quite active on my computer and I like analyzing stocks. I’m never just sitting around. I try to keep my mind and body going and I mix with people. It keeps me happy and helps me look on the bright side
What’s your favourite advice to share?
Get an education. My uncle told me that, he was a schoolteacher. I left school at 16 when my father died. My uncle was very disappointed when I dropped out. I couldn’t see why until years later. I was doing factory work and I saw there was no future in it. I went back to school at age 30 when I was married with two kids. It took me 10 or 11 years to get my accreditation as an accountant at night school. I worked all day, went to classes and did projects all night. It was a real trial for my family.
What do you like best about being a senior?
I enjoy the freedom. I was always tied to my job for so many years. When I retired I was free to do charity work. I used to work with the church literacy group: once a week I’d go into the jail and help inmates to talk to young people and help them with their reading and writing. I also worked with Big Brothers for about 10 years. I had a lot of mentors who’ve helped me over the years and I wanted to find ways to give back.
Stay as active as you like at an Amica senior living community. Find one near you and drop by for a visit.