Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Keeping Busy

I found this research on how a sedentary lifestyle speeds up the ageing process very interesting. As Nellybert's respective mothers Matty and Pearlie enter their 82nd year it's remarkable how differently they are managing their very old age. Pearlie is failing and unable to get about much while Matty is doing comparatively well for her age. True Matty has angina, a touch of arthritis and never stops complaining but Pearlie is literally 'done' and can do hardly anything for herself. Matty keeps her independence. Pearlie depends on a shift of eight carers a day and lots of help from her family. Matty may look like an old lady but Pearlie, only a few months older, looks ten years older again.

Matty has always been a very busy woman. Rearing seven children kept her on her toes. She went out full-time working in her forties and on retirement continued to keep very active. Up until the angina took hold she gardened, she sewed, she painted, she wrote, she decorated, she walked and she cycled. She stills keeps herself occupied and is the most fidgety person I know. The thing she resents most about old age is the way it has curtailed her physical activity. On the other hand Pearlie was very inactive all her life. She would spend endless hours in front of the fire. Where Matty would be haring around like a blue-assed fly, Pearlie would be shuffling about hardly bothering to lift her feet as she went. Pearlie never had a job in her life and spent her later years doing damn all. OK. She'd knit dishcloths and patch her aprons and knickers but that was about it. Maybe she'd occasionally go out looking for hen's nests but she never baked or gardened or danced or took a brisk walk to herself. And there is a reason Bert's an only child.

There was one physical activity that Pearlie enjoyed and it used to baffle me. She loved a day out in the moss gathering and bagging turf. Bert and I hated the moss and I could never understand why Pearlie relished it when she was usually so idle. But maybe she was thinking that 5 or 6 days spent toiling in the moss was a small price to pay for 360 indolent evenings sitting mazling her shins at the Rayburn.


Hageltoast said...

my nanna was a smart active lady, independent and living her life until the day her heart just gave up the ghost at 91. nanna always swore an active and inquisitive mind and a solid social circle kept one going.

Ronni said...

Damn. Does this mean I have to get off my duff and do something?