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Aged to Perfection

“We hosted the ‘Aged to Perfection’ series one year ago,” relates Ann Fossum, Parish Nurse of Chapel By The Sea at 100 Chapel Street, adjacent to Town Hall, to the intimate group in attendance on Tuesday morning, July 11. “It was such a positive that we asked to do it again! A lot of our programs are to help people to stay healthy, and these classes improve your resiliency as we age, and make the necessary changes to keep you staying positive.” The programs continue in the Chapel By The Sea’s Silver Hall on Tuesdays, July 18 & 25, from 10 to 11 a.m.

“I love these sessions,” adds Carlos Morales of the Hanley Center Foundation, Inc., who instructs the programs. “We talk about health and how to best stay active and positive. This is especially true when you undergo significant lifestyle changes, like when you retire. Everyone knows retirement should make you so happy, but it actually can be quite stressful to many, leading often to an increase in alcohol use. As a result, ‘Aged to Perfection’ has a threefold mission: to Encourage, Educate, and Empower!”

“The great thing about these classes is they are very interactive, so they apply to each participant’s own life,” Ann emphasizes, “because Carlos does not read off a PowerPoint, but deals in real life situations.” “If there are only two things I hope participants take from these programs,” Carlos says, “it is that we will learn how to communicate better with each other, and we will better utilize patience, as everything seems so difficult these days, that we need to learn to take a breath and relax!”

He reminded the audience that “there are some things we still control, such as ‘The 3 A’s of Assets: Attitude, Activities and Associations’: If you don’t like something in your life, you generally have the ability to change it, and if you can’t change it, then you can at least change your attitude! Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so stay active and use your energy to do something productive, as the world needs your talents. If you hang around people who are constantly negative, you become one of them, but if you surround yourself with smiling cheerful people, that rubs off on you as well.”

Call 211

Carlos highlighted an essential community resource that is available in Lee County: 211. “This is the hotline and center of information for Crisis Services, similar to 911 or 411,” he explains. “It is there to provide help and advice to get you through the tough times in life. 211 is not available throughout Florida, but is in Lee County, so we are fortunate to have it, so use it.”

211 operators can refer you to places for crisis support and counseling, housing issues and placement services, caregiving advice to food meal programs, transportation issues to Medicare, health insurance difficulties to Veteran’s assistance, and then they follow-up to make sure your needs are met; they will even call every day to ensure you take your medication if you have memory issues. “It was through 211 that my own Mom found Veteran’s Administration treatments for my Dad,” Carlos offers. “It is amazing how well they take care of him. The best part is, 211 is available to anyone, even though most people are not even aware of it! It does not matter your question; if they do not know the answer, they connect you to someone who will.”

Carlos concluded the first session with “The Top Ten Tips to Stay Young,” adding a bonus at the end!

Top Ten Plus One

“’Continue to Learn and Grow” “You are never too old to learn something new,” Carlos stresses. “You don’t have to be the student, but can be the teacher and still learn new things, so volunteer! This is often the best thing you can do, not only for yourself but your community. You may not be able to make the whole world better, but you can change the world into a better place for one person at a time.”

“Have Regular Contact with Younger People” “You have so much wisdom to pass on, while young people are often naive and sometimes think with a one-track mind. Teach them love and patience, and help them through the process of life, and they may pay you back with free computer advice and technical support!”

“Avoid Dwelling on the Past” “There is nothing wrong with remembering the most significant points in your life, but it is wrong when we dwell on the negatives, as this can cause us to lose control of our lives and make the future look depressing.”

“Always Have Future Plans” “Even if it is something basic, like doing the laundry or planning what to cook for dinner. Forward-looking folks are positive people.”

“Drink Lots of Water!” “This is such a problem for many seniors, as dehydration leads to significant health problems, and drinking water is a solution we can all employ. Unfortunately, coffee and wine do not count, as they make you thirsty.”

“Find a Traditionally-trained Physician with Expertise in Anti-Aging Nutrition and Medicine” “Self-explanatory,” says Carlos!

“Learn about Food Supplements” “So many of today’s food are full of hormones, so read labels, buy healthy, and know what you are eating and the origin of your food.”

“Own Your Own Treadmill” “Put it in front of your television and walk through your favorite program, then watch your blood pressure go down, your mood improve, and your weight stabilize. Better yet, go outside in the morning or early evening and take a walk!”

“Let Go of a Grudge” “Once you let this go and employ forgiveness, you take control of your life; if you do not, the grudge controls you! Pray and practice love and one day you will wake up and realize all that anger is gone. Forgive others – not for them but for you. Do you want to be right or happy?”

“Flash That Beautiful Smile” “If you can’t smile and be happy today, I will give you one of mine. Before you know it, you will smile on your own and feel better about yourself every single day.”

As a bonus, Carlos suggests: “Always Be Grateful For What You Have!” “Deliberately remind yourself what is good about your life, and you will have a glow on your face and a sparkle in your eye, and what can be more youthful than that?”

To attend the final two sessions of the free “Aged to Perfection” on Tuesdays, July 18 & 25, from 10 to 11 a.m., advance registration is necessary with Chapel By The Sea at 239-463-3173, extension #20, or online at Consider attending as well upcoming events, such as “Food for Thought” with a healthy lunch menu on Thursday, August 17, at 11:30 a.m.; “Childproofing Your Life . . . Again, For The Grandkids” on Tuesday, September 26, from 10 to 11 a.m.; and “Living With Alzheimer’s for Middle-Stage Caregivers” on Tuesdays, October 17, 24 and 31, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. All are free and open to the public in Silver Hall, though advance registration is necessary.