A Queen’s Guide to Smart Aging
It’s hard not to admire Queen Elizabeth’s poise and resiliency during her 70-year reign. Not only was she one of the most famous seniors of our time, but she was also a poster child for Smart Aging™. As older adults, we can learn a thing – or two or three – from the queen’s daily habits and smart lifestyle choices.
Royal Rules for Living
A 2020 book “Long Live the Queen: 23 Rules for Living from Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch” by author Bryan Kozlowski shares the Queen’s healthy habits that allowed her to remain resilient and active well into her 90s.
I noted several Smart Aging tips from the book that any senior can follow for a fulfilling and healthy life:
- Follow a daily schedule. Queen Elizabeth followed a strict “timetable” that barely changed over the years, which allowed her to be both highly productive and set aside time for herself. Having a routine can help older adults find a sense of purpose while also allowing for downtime when we need it. Her ritualized daily 5 o’clock tea with a small treat is a metaphor for honoring personal time.
- Incorporate “play” into your life. In the Queen’s case, she had a lifelong passion for horses and enjoyed crossword puzzles. Whether you pick up a game of chess or play hide-and-seek with your grandchildren, play is vital to aging well and keeping your muscles and mind active. Some research suggests playing games may even lower the risk of dementia. EAG’s Meaningful Engagement program can rekindle older adults’ long-lost hobbies and/or facilitate interest in the arts, music or theater. The renewal often energizes not only the older adult, but the spouse and family.
- Adapt to change. The Queen saw quite a bit of change during her lifetime, particularly when it came to technology. She used a cell phone (although not in public) and worked with palace staff to have an active Twitter account. Continually evolving and adapting to change is a key skill for aging adults to stay connected – and maybe learn new things. In the last several years, this has become particularly important.
- Prepare for death. While it may seem morbid to many of us, the Queen participated in twice-yearly death rehearsals, planning out every detail of her funeral, for more than 60 years leading up to her passing. This practice is perfectly routine in royal life, and Mr. Kozlowski also says proactive planning is a hidden key to a meaningful and productive life as we age.
Smart Aging for Everyone
Queen Elizabeth’s healthy habits and routines resulted in an active, long life exemplified by resilience and effectiveness. She worked 30 years past the normal age of retirement but she didn’t do it alone. Queen Elizabeth effectively maximized the resources and support available to her.
Likewise, if you or your family is interested in discussing our Smart Aging approach, call Elder Advisory Group for a free consultation at 713-624-4288. An Aging Life Care Professional® can work with the older adult and their family to establish routines and find meaning to aging well.