Charlotte’s Blog

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Ask the Doctor

Don’t ask just any doctor…and don’t just ask your primary care provider (although they may have some insight)…ask a cardiologist who has lived to 95 years of age about the lifestyle choices that can get one to the “really big numbers.”

A profile of a 95 year-old cardiologist hit the news recently.  This nonagenarian has eight lifestyle recommendations for those who wish to not just live a long life, but to live a great life.  Hint: it does not include a list of preferred video-streaming services.  Whatever your age, see if you’re up to what this 95-year-old does everyday to give himself a better chance of doing it all over again the day after today.

  1. Walk – you don’t have to be a truly early riser to follow the simple rule of this 95 year old…and you don’t have to be 95. He starts his day with a 30 to 60 minute walk which will chalk up the first 7,000 steps of his day.
  2. Workout – We’re not talking Muscle Beach, but strengthen and flexibility training according to a routine will help avoid the worst risks of older individuals. A trainer I know refers to this as “muscle-confusion” training…different ways to work your muscle groups that are essential to avoiding falls or back strains and more.
  3. Communicate – reach out to folks personally, via phone, via social platforms or any other means of communication. Isolation so often leads to depression among older adults.  Or, even if you’re single, you don’t have to live by yourself.
  4. Write – Keeping a journal or diary may seem a bit old-fashioned, but it may resonate with your older family member. Or, in the case of my partner, he is writing and illustrating a monograph on what his father taught him about life…to share with our kids as well as their kids.
  5. Create – We have a friend who has been as delighted as a kid with a new toy when he bought a state of the art wood lathe. He has moved beyond carving beautiful wooden bowls to all manner of artistic creations.  And his art doubles as upper-body strength training.
  6. Hobbies – Ideally one should try a hobby that involves activity, memory or creativity. I’m not saying that stamp-collecting cannot be fun, but learning to play the harmonica or guitar or piano may get the blood flowing a bit more.
  7. Nap – This one was a bit of a surprise for me, especially when I read that this 95 year-old favored more than one 30 minute nap a day. Yet, I’ve talked to a number of friends whose eyes light up when they talk about the ideal time or times of day they prefer their naps.
  8. Eat – Consume a variety of foods and eat full meals three times a day. You know all that you should eat, but the main rule is to steer clear of highly-processed foods.  Our nonagenarian includes fine wines in his menu.  I won’t get into the biochemistry of consumption, but it is the amount and the rest of your lifestyle choices that should help form your habits around a bit of spirits.  (Nonetheless, ask your provider.)

 You may not be ready to turn 95 just yet, but you should get yourself in shape for that stage so that you can enjoy every day and year of that vintage on your way.  Live Well!

Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.


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