National Grandparent's Day: An Inspiration for Healthy Living at 106-Years-Old
National Grandparent’s Day is coming up this weekend! Many of us have grandparents who have inspired us to live life to the fullest and embrace healthy lifestyle habits.
In honour of the upcoming holiday, we sat down with our President and CEO, Ron Bettin, to talk to him about his grandparents and how they’ve inspired him to live a healthy lifestyle (particularly Grandma Olive, who is still going strong at an amazing 106 years old!).
Who They Are
Q: Tell us a little bit about your grandparents.
Ron: I am very fortunate to have an amazing grandmother, Olive Myhre, who is 106 years young! She lives in the Shepherd Manor Seniors Complex in Scarborough, ON and is still an active member of the community. Although my other grandparents have passed away, I was very fortunate to spend quality time with them. My other grandmother Margarete Bettin lived to 98 years old and both my grandfathers, Cyrus Myhre and Maurice Bettin lived into their 80’s.
Q: What kinds of activities/habits to they have to live a healthy lifestyle?
Ron: I have learned a lot from my grandparents on how to live a healthy lifestyle. One of the biggest lessons I learned was to stay active and be a participant in life rather than a bystander.
More specifically, my grandparents have always known that walking everyday counteracts the negative effects of sitting. One of my Grandmother Olive’s favourite sayings is “If you don’t move, you’ll STOP!”
My grandparents each had hobbies that kept their minds healthy as well: Grandpa Myhre did fine craft work, Grandpa Bettin did fine woodwork and all of them played games regularly. In fact, Grandpa and Grandma Bettin played a game of Crib and Yahtzee every day after dinner for almost their entire lives, keeping their minds sharp!
Q: Do they have any secrets to a long, happy life?
Ron: There are several secrets that they’ve shared with me over the course of their lives, some of which include the following:
- Live each day with purpose,
- Be active every day
- Care about other people and they will care about you.
- Accepting change keeps you young; resisting change makes you old.
- Grandmother Olive has taken cod-liver-oil every day for as long as I can remember… so at 106 years old there must be something to it!
Q: How do they inspire you to live healthy?
Ron: All of my grandparents were inspiring and each of them showed me that growing old does not mean you have to be old. Watching my grandparents live life with an attitude that every day is a new adventure inspires me to live healthy and enjoy life to the fullest at any age.
Q: Any last comments or thoughts on grandparent appreciation?
Ron: I have been very fortunate to have spent quality time with all my grandparents when they were alive and extremely blessed to continue spending time with my grandma Olive at 106 years old.
It is mind-boggling to think of how much the world has changed since my grandparents were born. My Grandmother Olive was born in 1912: the year that the first traffic light in the world was installed in Salt Lake City, Shell Oil became a company, Thomas Edison produced the first talking motion picture, Girl Scouts were founded, Oreo Cookies came to market and the Titanic sank! It is incredible to think that she has lived a life spanning events like seeing the first televisions when she was a teenager to talking to family across Canada on FaceTime with a smart phone!
The older I get, the more I appreciate how lucky I am to have had grandparents who have had such an impact on my attitude towards growing old. Happy Grandparent’s Day to all the grandparents out there!
As an extra bonus, we asked a few of our other staff to share something about their grandparents and how they’ve inspired them in relation to living well:
Angelique: “Both my Grampie and Grammie enjoyed participating in sports (bowling, curling and golf) until they reached their 80s. They also exercised their minds by playing many a game of hearts and cribbage.”
Rachel: “My Oma and Opa were always an inspiration to me in terms of living well. They lived life to the fullest while they could, loving each other and seeking meaningful relationships with their grandkids. My Opa also loved to walk and kept his health as a priority; he continued to go on regular walks even into his 80’s!”
Tanya: "My parents are in their mid-70s and 80s, so my grandparents have been gone for a while. The good news is that they also lived very long lives - three of them into their 90s! Times were different, and people were far more active than we are now. I think that's something we really should be aware of. Simplifying, staying active and finding the happy in all the things we do - perhaps this is the trifecta to a long and healthy life!"
Matt: "My Grandma was a world traveler, always on the move and active. She instilled in me a value for active living and a wonder of new and different cultures. My grandparents were also always working away in their garden or playing with their young grandchildren. Movement and healthy eating were important lessons they successfully passed on."