Early in the morning at Magens Bay, one can witness groups of seniors exercising, which is awesome. There is another group that swims at Brewers Bay from what I heard, at about 5 a.m. daily.
These activities serve two major purposes: the promotion of health and human interaction. The two are essential in the literal survival of people.
According to the National Institute on Aging, there are four types of physical activity that are essential for aging individuals: endurance, strength, balance and range of motion/flexibility. Each activity promotes good health in the individual and assures a much longer life of independence, which many elderly people fiercely defend.
Lastly is human interaction. I’m sorry to report that a phone call to granny on Mother’s Day is not enough, a card to granddad on Father’s Day is not enough. People sacrificed much for you to be where you are today and even if they didn’t give you a dime, they gave you life!
The following excerpt is taken from an AARP article. It really touched my heart and I am confident it will resonate with readers:
“Loneliness is harmful to your health. If you feel lonely — whether you live alone or with someone, have lots of friends or none — you are more likely to get dementia or depression. Seniors who report feeling left out and isolated have more trouble with everyday tasks like bathing and climbing stairs. They also die earlier than less-lonely folks do. Researchers found that lonely people have higher levels of stress hormones that cause inflammation, or swelling, linked to arthritis and diabetes. Another study found more antibodies to certain herpes viruses in lonely people, a sign of stress in their immune system.”
In essence, commit to being involved in your aging parents’ and family members’ lives. Build a regular schedule of contact so that your time with them can be pre-planned with vital activities such as doctor appointments as well as relaxing activities such as movies, church, family visits — or visiting any of our beautiful beaches throughout the Virgin Islands.
— Clarence D. Payne lives on St. Thomas.