Staying younger for longer

Former ABC newsreader Ian Henderson in his garden sitting with his two-year-old grandson.


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WATCH54m 2s

Staying Younger For Longer: Body

Recently retired ABC newsreader Ian Henderson sets out on a quest to find the secrets of ageing healthily. He discovers that a new understanding of how the trillions of cells in our bodies age could keep us all younger for longer. He meets Australian scientists working at the cutting edge of ageing biology and learns that their research isn’t just about making us live longer, but also about keeping us healthier into old age — improving our ‘healthspan’. They reveal that we can all improve our healthspan by making simple changes to the way we live our lives.Duration: 54min 2secBroadcast: Tue 13 Aug 2019, 8:30pmPublished: Tue 13 Aug 2019, 8:30pm

Diary, 1st of June 2021

I did a bit of browsing today and came across ‘Last Photos with Peter’. There are many photos, so I was rather astonished, how many I had published. This seems now like quite some time ago, in another life . . . .

The computer recently did cause me some loss of sleep because of all the updates, that I find extremely difficult to handle! Constantly, I have to sign in anew so that it can be verified that it is really ‘me’. Then they want passwords and some kind of codes. Whatever I print, always seems to be wrong. For the codes they want ‘numbers’ and for passwords there also has to be a certain number of mixtures of letters and numbers. I just have no memory of all of this. Maybe someone has written down somewhere the relevant information. No idea, where I can find that list, if there is such a list! And so it goes.

I am relieved, that at least WordPress did let me sign in now. They did actually believe, that I am the one, that is writing under the name ‘auntyuta’! How absolutely terrific!

Everything on my computer has changed. How am I ever going to find my way around again. It truly is a great mess!

Uta’s Diary

In Eastern Australia it is a bit after half past seven now. So GOOD MORNING to everyone who is up already!

First thing as always in the morning I had my AMLODIPINE APOTEX 10 mg tablet with a glass of water. I also had 1000 mg of Vitamin C! Then I made myself a large cup of instant coffee with quite a lot of reduced fat milk. In the grill section of the oven I heated some buns. I like to eat these with butter and some marmalade. Later on I am also going to eat a banana and a kiwi fruit as well as some avocado.

I opened all the shutters on the windows. The view is of glorious sunshine. In the radio I listen to ABC FM morning classics with Russel Torrance. I am looking forward to get dressed soon and go for a walk with my rollator.

Am I getting used to living on my own? Well, I think I am getting a bit better at it now. I like it, that I can make a lot of my own decisions. I live in a pleasant environment. I feel happy about this. I have a good relationship with my neighbours. I know that some renovations inside and outside are overdue. But this does not distress me, at last I don’t think so. I am prepared to show patience. Everything will be seen to in good time. It is very comforting that I have no money problems, even though I am aware that I must not go overboard with the spending. I am pretty confident, that I can handle all the spending satisfactorily. My three very capable children are always willing to help me, when I get stuck somehow and need some advice.

With how many people do I have usually have contact with over one week? Well, I am still on level one home help care. So my carer comes twice a week for one hour each. My present home carer is Summah. She comes Mondays and Wednesdays from 10,30 to 11,30 am. So, I am looking forward to seeing her today. On Thursdays I can quite often see my daughter Monika as well as one of Monika’s daughters and some of her grandchildren. I am always happy to see them and meet them for lunch for instance. Monika often helps me with the shopping too.

Friday afternoon from two o’clock to about five I usually play games with some of my friends. Last year I often preferred to self isolate or to stay with Peter who was constantly fighting his cancer. Now I have taken up meeting my friends regularly again every Friday afternoon. Last Friday they came to my place. I love playing Scrabble and Rummy Cub. For the next three weeks we are going to play at Irene’s, Erika’s and Barbara’s place. And then the three ladies are going to come to my place again.

So that leaves the weekends. If nothing special is going on, like a birthday or some kind of a holiday, I usually spend the weekends alone now. Sometimes my daughter Monika, who lives in Sydney with husband Matthew, comes to see me. It is always good, when she and sometimes Matthew as well, can com to stay with me for a day or two. Caroline is always ready to take some time of work to help me out in an emergency, like recently I ended up with extremely high blood pressure. So, Caroline stayed with me until the blood pressure was brought under control.

Overall, my life seems to be on an even keel now. Really, nothing to complain about. I rather like to count my blessings. Of course I have some age related problems in dealing with the technical advances of modern life. When these problems seem to overwhelm me, I have to try and be patient till I find someone who can sort things out for me.

So, I did spend the best part of an hour now on this writing. I better try to get ready now for the day. I think it is going to be a good day. I love life!

I must not forget, that my son Martin plays a big part in my life too, even though he lives in regional Victoria. So far he managed quite often to come to Dapto to stay here for a few days, and I was also able to spend a few days at his place in Benalla. This was an excellent holiday for me! Sooner or later I might be visiting Martin again. It is always good, to spend some time in Benalla. I think life in Benalla is a very good life. I am also very fond of Martin’s dog . . .

Five Years ago – And the Movie: ‘June again’

Five years ago we did not know yet that Peter had cancer. Five years ago we were getting ready for another trip to Berlin. Five years ago Peter turned 81,

In the movie ‘June again’ June, the matriarch, is played by Noni Hazlehurst. After a severe stroke and several smaller strokes, June does not know what happened over the past five years. So five years have gone, and then, to everyone’s surprise, she is gradually able to remember things about her life that went on before she had the stroke. The family is quite shocked, when totally unexpectedly, June is in their lives again! So this is ‘June again’ after five years!

I wonder, if I had such a severe stroke now, what would I miss out on over the next five years? Since I absolutely do not believe in euthanasia, I guess I would have to accept it, if, against all odds, I survived such a stroke. I just do not want anyone to help me to survive something like this!

Now back to the example in the movie. So, June obviously did survive the stroke, but she is severely disabled. In all likelihood no permanent cure can be counted on. So she does need constant looking after. The family leaves her in a home, where admittedly she is being treated very well, but without any significant family contact.

In this make feel good movie June ends up with loads of family contact, and even the love of her life meeting her again and staying with her in the twilight of her life! Well, this is as good an ending as can be. There is lots of love and caring all around. So I find it is a make feel good movie, even though it makes me think a lot about it how problematic caring for old people actually is in our society!

If I stop breathing, please don’t make me start breathing again!

I think, I am more or less past my ‘use by’ date. I still have a little bit of independence, but not much. If I lose all my independence, why should I want to go on living?

I said, I still have a little bit of independence. This is true, even though the vulnerabilities are many: Very poor eye-sight, bad communication when there is too much background noise, being hardly able to walk, difficulty in remembering new words, breathing difficulties, needing frequent rests, not being able to use public transport and the list goes on . . .

So far I can still shower myself (with difficulty!), I can dress myself (slowly!), I can cook for myself, I can do the dishes, I can do a little bit of cleaning and gardening, I can walk with my walker, I can do shopping with a shopping trolley . . . If I can’t do all this anymore, why should I want to be kept alive? I don’t see the point, for I have already had a very long and mostly happy life. I think, when my body has had enough, I should be allowed to depart.

I don’t believe in euthanasia. So, how do I know when my body has had enough? Well, I guess, it is just when I stop breathing even though there is enough good air around. It is then probably like going to sleep and not waking up anymore. For as long as I can still wake up alright, I am grateful for my life and willing to try to make the most of it. But please, don’t wake me up, when I stop breathing under normal circumstances! You have to let me go then!


This is where we had lunch on Mother’s Day:

“Located at 5 Crown Lane Wollongong, Kneading Ruby offers authentic woodfire pizzas & bespoke dishes made to share. Produced traditionally with the freshest seasonal produce, join us for a dining occasion with a casual modern approach.”

We had a lovely time on that day sharing some very good food. We had booked a table for eight.

At the moment the great news is, that finally we are actually planning to build a deck: It looks it may be happening very soon now!

Also very soon, Caroline and I are going to see the movie ‘June again’ in the Gala Cinema:

The other day I watched the movie ‘Schwarzwaldliebe’ and I liked it very much:

On the following Sunday, 16th May, Peter would have been 86. I am going to have on that day some family and friends over for afternoon coffee and cake in memory of Peter.

So, it looks like I keep myself pretty busy!

What do old People need?

For a start they do need an environment that stays THE SAME at all times. Any slight change in the environment can be upsetting! Reasonable cleanliness, yes, of course. But not that sort of cleanliness where everything gets changed around all the time!

When help is offered, preferably it should be offered in the most simple way with a minimum amount of bureaucratic rules but with simple explanations provided so that the aged person can understand what the rules are!

I do stop here for today, but I would like to recommend to have a look at what Ita Buttrose’s talk was about at yesterday’s National Press Club Address:

What I wrote on the 1st of May 2020

  2. REPLYHaving just reblogged this post Aunty Uta, I feel I would like to make some more comments, for instance on ‘Social Distancing’.
    Isn’t it true, that we cannot be sure who might be spreading the Coronavirus, the one that is called Covid19. Anybody can accidentally have picked up the virus somewhere. It is easy to pass it on if you do not keep a social distance. This is a fact, isn’t it?
    Well, with the flu, I reckon it is a bit different. Somehow we have mostly learned to live with it. Sure, a lot of people get infected during the flu season. We try to stay away from people who have obviously a bad cold. Most people do not end up in hospital if they happen to infect themselves with a bit of the flu virus. The medical profession and the hospitals are not overloaded just because a certain number of people happen to have the flu.
    But now, isn’t this a bit different with this present Coronavirus? You cannot protect yourself from this virus unless you practice strict Social Distancing and avoid touching surfaces where the virus might be present. So you are not allowed to touch your face before you washed your hands thoroughly! And if you say I do not like all these restrictions, therefore I do not care if I spread the virus around. Well, this may be so, but please, do you say the same about the flu virus? If you have a bad cold, do you go around and let your droplets reach others by coughing and sneezing regardless how close other people are to you?
    I agree, generally speaking dying is something all of us can expect sooner or later. However is it not obvious that the infection and dying en masse because of a virus we ought to prevent as much as possible?
    Sure, a lot of us are extremely upset when Social Distancing is necessary over an extended period of time, but are you not concerned how overloaded all our medical facilities become when Social Distancing is less and less observed and when millions and millions of people die at a time when they would otherwise not have died?Like
  3. AUNTYUTA REPLYReblogged this on AuntyUta and commented:
    I am 85. I do not mind dying. But please let my die naturally. Do not try to keep me alive when my time is up, let me die peacefully in natural surroundings, and possibly let me say farewell to my loved ones.

Diary of an older Widow

On the 7th of May 2020 I wrote about it how as a kid in the 1930s I played with my toys all by myself in my ‘Kinderzimmer’ (Child Room):

” . . . as a toddler I would spend many hours every day in my Kinderzimmer. All my toys would be kept in that room. I loved my Kinderzimmer and all my toys. I was very much used to playing with my toys in my room. I remember it quite well, how I would spend time there all by myself. I did not mind this, really, because I was used to it. But I always was most happy, when another person would spend some time with me! – – – I think when I was about four or five, I was allowed to invite a childhood friend to come to my place and play with me. We might be allowed to have a bit of a look into the living rooms, but to spend time playing in one of the living rooms was not the done thing! Playtime with my companions would always take place in the Kinderzimmer. The same would happen when I went visiting one of my friends. . .”

I said that even as a toddler I was used to spending time all by myself, and that I did not mind it. Of course I often wished for company, and I was always very happy when someone could be with me. Still, I think I learned from an early age, to cope a lot of the time with being on my own. Of course, when being on my own may perhaps felt somewhat boring, I would invent people surrounding me, people that I could talk to!

Now, in my old age, I think back to those growing up days, and how lonely I really often was. Isn’t something similar happening now that I am a widow and living without a companion? Maybe it is kind of normal, that people, who live on their own, often resort to talking to someone who isn’t really there? So, this means, talking to just a pretend person! Or, is that why some lonely people’s dogs are their best friends, for they are someone to talk to?

Come to think of it, I really often enjoy very much spending time by myself, working out how to best do things all by myself. As soon as someone is with me, they straight away tend to be taking over, meaning they help me by doing things for me that I am unable to do by myself with some reasonable speed. Well, it may be just as well, that having to do things by myself most of the time, keeps me on my toes. If everything was being done for me all the time, wouldn’t I be bound to deteriorate even faster?

There are certainly a lot of things that I cannot do anymore, like driving a car, or cleaning windows or doing some fast walking. To avoid disastrous falls I have to do everything very slowly and carefully. When I am doing things while I am on my own, I find it usually easier to do everything slowly and carefully. Not so, when someone is with me! So, being on my own most of the time may really have a lot of benefits. It helps me to stay a little bit more independent and not having to rely on outside help for everything!


Yesterday, on Thursday, I had some real quality time with some of my family too: We went for three hours to a beautiful park at Lake Illawarra with four children of our family! 🙂

There were heaps of other children there too, since the kids were still on their Easter holidays. Granddaughter Natasha was great in watching her nephews, aged 4 – 6 – and 8 years, as well as 18 months old niece. My daughter Monika had picked me up from home with my rollator. The two older kids are the kids of one of Monika’s sons, the two younger kids are the kids of one of her daughters. So all of them are my great-grandchildren! I enjoyed watching all of them playing to their heart’s content in this beautiful park area with lots of other children and lots and lots of playground equipment on a perfectly beautiful sunny autumn day. For lunch we had fish and chips from a nearby shop. We had brought our own drinks. I was so grateful to Monika that she had asked me to come along with them! 🙂

There was opportunity for some interesting conversations with granddaughter Natasha. She is a care worker. To be able to have some longer talks with her was very interesting! 🙂