Today's columnist, Donna Pierpont: Secret to a long and happy life

It's a question that has been around since the dawn of time '“ what is the secret to a long, healthy and happy life?

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 7:30 am

Well I don’t profess to have the answer to eternal youth but I have worked with elderly people for the past 22 years so I know a thing or two!

There’s no doubt that genetics play a key part.

If either of your parents suffered from a medical condition there is a higher chance of you inheriting these predisposing factors.

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But if either of your parents lived well into their 90s there’s every chance that you will be following in their footsteps.

That’s as long as you lead a relatively healthy life.

I say relatively as looking back over the lives of our parents and grandparents throws up more than a few questions and quandaries.

Think about someone you know in their 90s and think about the kind of life they’ve led since they were born in the early 1920s.

There was no such thing as skimmed milk, reduced fat butter, sugar free drinks, diet this and diet that.

The rind on the bacon was the best bit and a dripping cake was a real delight.

They played outside in the mud and didn’t wash their hands before they came in for a sandwich.

There were no such things as Playstation and Xbox.

Leisure time was spent outdoors in the fresh air.

They endured six years of war following Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

Nearly a 10th of Sheffield’s population was made homeless in the Blitz of 1940 that followed, hundreds died.

Rationing carried on for years after, as did National Service.

“Keep calm and carry on” was a mantra that seemed to stay with them for a lifetime.

They just got on with life and worked through whatever was thrown at them.

It’s hard to imagine how they had the strength to keep going as the country braced itself for invasion in 1940.

Nowadays stress and anxiety are recognised medical conditions.

We recently at Broomgrove celebrated the 100th birthday of one of our residents – Betty Richardson.

I asked her what she thought the secret to a long life was.

She said it was having her mother and father’s positive attitude to life, her strength and her faith.

So what is my answer to the secret?

It is to keep fit, eat well, drink well and enjoy life.