Coaching Caregiver


August 27, 2009 by David Gillaspie



A retired coach stopped by DG’s B&B last week:

“Getting old means doing what you’re told.  It’s not so different than being young, except when you’re old you might die if you don’t.  It’s not the same as forgetting to wash the dishes. 

The years of doing what you want fade into the mist.  Feel like a hamburger?  Feel like drinking that half-rack of beer?  Feel like staying up all night with friends?  Instead you do what you’re told.  If you can’t listen to your body, find a doctor who makes sense.

Doing what they’re told to do is nothing new to octogenarians.  They’ve been through the Great Depression without regular therapy.  Been through the Big One.  They’ve been enlisted, rationed, hungry, overseas, and back.  The country depended on them, now they depend on us.  They’ll do what they’re told. 

The important part is telling them the right thing.

If the 1930’s were about scraping along, and the ’40’s about war and recovery, then the 50’s were King of the World days.  It was a world of new frontiers to conquer and not enough time to do it all.  Forget the old ways, starting with fresh vegetables and whole grains.  The King wants pre-cooked packages of frozen food, and he wants it quick. 

In 2009 it’s back to fresh vegetables and whole grains for the King.  It’s not only older folks who need every bit of nutrition from their food, they just need it most.  A diet rich in high-pigment foods is the best step toward that end.

I tell the guys it’s either the gym or the pharmacy.  Eat right and grind through the resistance training or get locked up and chair bound.  We’ve all slept wrong and got a numb arm or a cramp.  If you live wrong and never move, everything goes numb with just enough tingling to drive you crazy. 

Drag yourself to the gym and push through range-of-motion routines.  Start at the bottom, your feet, and work up to your calves, which really means ankle movement.  Do the knees frontward and back on the stacks.  Work your hips with mini-squats.  Alternate days between pushing and pulling, triceps and biceps. 

Do just enough to raise a sweat then find the sauna.  Put on your swimsuit and heat up before you shower and walk the lap pool.  Notice how light you feel in the water?  Step quickly.  You can’t.  No one can.  That’s the beauty of walking in water.  The muscles around your joints all feel the resistance with each step.

Once you stabilize your workout, look at the diet again.  High pigment food has nothing to do with watercolors.  It has everything to do with anti-oxidants.  It’s blueberries, beets, blackberries, cranberry juice, red-leaf lettuce.  It is cherries and pomegranates juice and leafy-green vegetables.  The clevelandclinic dot org lists an Anti-oxidant Food Table for additional choices:

  • Vitamin C – Citrus fruits and their juices, berries, dark green vegetables (spinach, asparagus, green peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, watercress, other greens), red and yellow peppers, tomatoes and tomato juice, pineapple, cantaloupe, mangos, papaya and guava.
  • Vitamin E – Vegetable oils such as olive, soybean, corn, cottonseed and safflower, nuts and nut butters, seeds, whole grains, wheat, wheat germ, brown rice, oatmeal, soybeans, sweet potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas) and dark leafy green vegetables.
  • Selenium – Brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken, eggs, dairy products, garlic, molasses, onions, salmon, seafood, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains and most vegetables.
  • Beta Carotene – Variety of dark orange, red, yellow and green vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, red and yellow peppers, apricots, cantaloupe and mangos.

Eat more of this so your body can absorb the benefits of real food.  We all know the best medicine is good food and exercise?  Give this idea three months then re-check your condition and the medications you take.

Seniors do what they’re told.  They know the consequences of not doing.  The problem is keeping them engaged after an initial disappointment.  You see, this is a population who won’t get fooled again.  They’ve seen the abyss close-up.  They hear their own clock ticking.  They won’t put up with anything less than your best.  They’ve earned it. 

If younger generations follow the lead of their elders’ good habits their lives will grow richer.  They just have to get over their feelings of being told what to do before it’s a choice of life and death.”


3 thoughts on “Coaching Caregiver

  1. […] Listen to your coach better.  Challenge the toughest guy in your weight.  Get your rest.  Eat right.  Finish your homework.  It’s not what you don’t do, but if you don’t make an excuse for […]

  2. I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks,

    A definite great read.. 🙂


    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hello Bill,
      I try to keep DG’s B&B all about the substance. So much passes by that it’s hard to know when to stop and pick something up. I’m glad you stopped. Please keep checking in.



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