Aging in Place


Using equipment to do the heavy lifting really makes a difference.

We all get older (darn it!). Given that it’s inevitable, I’m always surprised at the folks who seem to think they’ll be able to keep right on doing the same stuff in their 70s that they did in their 30s. Here’s a little secret for you – you can’t. So start thinking about how you’re going to age in place.
When I was 30, picking up a bale of hay was no big deal. Today it is – although that’s partly because in the days of my youth, a bale of hay might weigh 60 or 70 pounds. Today’s bales are meant to be handled with machinery, so most bales start at 100 pounds and go up, with an “average” bale often weighing in at 120-130. I can’t lift them and neither can hubby or the right hand ranch hand (oldest granddaughter). Not to mention that even if I could lift the beggars, it wouldn’t be long before the discs in my back would start to give out. So I drag, roll or tip them on end to get them loaded on the hay trailer.

This low hay trailer makes feeding chores a lot easier.

It’s going to take you longer to accomplish tasks as you get older – might as well get used to it. It will help if you organize first, instead of just leaping in the way my nearest and dearest tends to do. You should also plan to take breaks. The body might be willing, but it’s not physically capable of the kind of sustained heavy work you could accomplish 30 years ago. Not to mention that you have a bunch more aches and pains. I can still put in 10- and 12-hour days but I have to break them up with rest periods.
While the basics of exercise, nutrition and sleep were important in your youth, they are absolutely critical now. I am the first to admit that I’m lazy (which helps me be efficient) and a routine exercise program just grates. But there are some muscles that don’t get much of a workout in my day-to-day activities, and if I don’t stretch regularly, I can barely hobble. I see a chiropractor regularly. I have also come to the realization that wheat causes all sorts of nasty side effects (like pain, stiffness, asthma flare-ups and high blood pressure) and that I feel best when I minimize my grain intake. I don’t have trouble sleeping unless it’s a few days around the full moon, but if I did, I would cut out my coffee entirely (I only drink one cup a day as it is) and take steps until I was getting a minimum of seven hours a night.

Keeping your immune system strong is vitally important as you age; blackberry syrup helps.

In addition to accepting your limitations and doing everything you can to stay healthy, start thinking about some of the other things you can do to help you age in place. Live in a house with stairs? What happens if you can’t climb them in 10 years? A big part of this, when you live on a ranch or farm, is making sure that the younger generation has the necessary skills and knowledge to take over. My library contains a number of “how-to” books; while I don’t necessarily need them at this point, they’re great reference material for the up and coming gang. It also helps to get the kids involved, as many of these things are psycho-motor skills – meaning they involve brain and body and should be practiced regularly.
How are you planning to age in place? Got any tips and tricks for the rest of us?

This entry was posted in Farms, Food, Health and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Aging in Place

  1. Karen says:

    I’m still stuck in the stage where they say the first step in recovery is admitting the problem. 🙂 You briefly touched on being organized. Lists are my silent task masters. There’s just something about writing it down. I’ve also learned that it’s better to tackle big jobs in stages.
    Never heard of having problems sleeping around the time of the full moon. Do you have any idea why? What are you not telling us, Bee? 🙂

    • Bee says:

      Yeah, I have lists and they have little baby lists, not to mention cousins and aunts and uncles. I still can’t get it all done (story of my life). As for admitting the problem, my body sort of jumped up and hit me in the face a few years back, so now I listen better. Don’t know what it is about the full moon (no werewolves in the closet, as far as I know), but hubby has the same problem. It’s just the last three or four days before the full moon and a couple of days afterward.

      • Karen says:

        Like Betty Davis said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies!” Hope the weather is treating you better and Violet is happy and healthy.

        • Bee says:

          Violet is doing great; graduated to a calf bucket because she kept pulling the nipple off the bottle. Can’t say the same for the weather; we’re up to 54 inches of rain and 10 of snow (since October!) as of this morning. I have six inches of slop on top of six inches of mud and a whole bunch of new waterfalls in the house orchard, which sits at the base of a cliff. Oh, yeah, and NOAA says it’s going to snow for the next three days (sigh).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *