Health Beat — August 2014

HeartDr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

This month’s column was a guest column written by Walter Boomsma for the June 2014 Senior Matters and as a follow up to least month’s “It’s time to live it up” Health beat.

Borrowing Kids Helps Hearts

Several years ago the Mrs. and I accidentally started what has become an annual tradition when we decided to go to the circus. Since it just didn’t feel right going by ourselves, we borrowed the children of some friends to take with us. We had a ball. The kids kept thanking us for months.

Fearing they will eventually decide they are “too old,” we still keep asking every year only to discover they’ve been anxiously waiting for our invitation. We don’t spend much money—they bring their own but are careful spenders. It’s become one of our favorite days of the year.

Educator Rita Pierson says, “Every kid deserves and needs a champion.” She’s right, of course, but what’s great about borrowing kids is that every adult deserves and needs at least one kid. In fact, the older we get, the more important it becomes to spend time with kids. Whether you take your own grandchildren or borrow some, everybody wins.

Studies have documented the benefits of mixing seniors and kids, but the statistics aren’t half as exciting as the experience itself. During our last foray, we learned (rather humorously) the disadvantage of being the youngest in the family. We also watched two young ladies make some very intelligent decisions that left us believing there is hope for the future.

Of course we acknowledge that borrowing kids is an awesome responsibility, but we’ve learned not to make things too complicated. The kids actually don’t expect much. It’s not about how much money you spend; it’s about respecting and being interested in them as little people.

There are plenty of free and low-cost opportunities to share with a kid. Talk to them; listen to them. Appreciate their energy and wonder. Your heart will feel younger.

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