Forever young

Two women in their 70s share their secrets to aging gracefully and their daily routines

Who doesn’t fear growing old? According to a survey, fear of growing old is common because along with growing old, there’s this worry about declining physical ability, losing memory, running out of money, suffering from chronic illness, and dying.

But there’s no reason to fear. Two women in their 70s share how to accept this natural phenomenon and how to age gracefully.

LITA REAL: Living life to the fullest

“If you’ve lived your life to the fullest, you serve the Lord with all your heart, and when you treat others the way God wants you to, there’s no reason to be afraid,” says 75-year-old Lita Real from San Mateo, Rizal.

Like most people her age, Lita also has maintenance meds for her blood pressure and cholesterol, but she keeps herself healthy, by dancing by herself while listening to music and walking occasionally.

“I do not exercise. I’m lazy with physical activities,” she admits.

Lita starts her day with a prayer, then drinks a glass of water and hot ginger tea (salabat) on an empty stomach. After that, she eats breakfast which usually consists of bread, fruits, or oatmeal. She eats all kinds of food, especially vegetables and fruits, except shrimp or seafood because she’s allergic to it.

“When I’m in the mood to do kitchen work, I cook lunch for my family, and whenever I don’t cook, our house helps do it for me,” she says.

Younger days

Lita got married at the age of 20, but her husband passed away 22 years ago due to a heart attack. “He was a good partner. I was so blessed because he was a good provider, so I didn’t really need to work during the time,” says Lita, who would’ve been a teacher. “When I was younger, I used to have a jewelry business I inherited from my mother who was a very good businesswoman.”

Lita in her younger days with her father
Lita’s children: Rissa at 16 and Jojo at 21

The couple was blessed with two children: A boy and a girl, but her son passed away at the age of 39 in 2007 due to kidney failure. While her 50-year-old daughter has been living in Virginia, the United States of America for almost 30 years now.

“She visits me here in the Philippines almost every year to celebrate the holidays with us. Sometimes I visit her in the US for vacation,” says Lita.

Daily routine

Pre-pandemic, Lita used to go out with her friends all the time. She also travels with her family every year and goes to church every Sunday.

Nowadays, she busies herself watching noontime shows, chatting with her friends via Facebook, and uploading photos. At 6 pm, she prays the rosary with her grandchild. After that, she watches her favorite teleseryes again.

Lita revealed that she doesn’t have a complicated beauty regimen. She just washes her face with soap. She also doesn’t wear makeup except during special occasions, and whenever she goes out, she simply uses baby powder, blush, and lipstick.

Advice

“Life is all about learning, loving, and enjoying. Don’t let mistakes stop you from loving life. Take them as your learning experiences to do better each day. Lastly, never take life too seriously. Always remember to have fun and do the things you want to because once you get old, you’ll look back and wished you’d never stopped yourself from doing those things,” she concludes.

HERMINIA REMO: Count your blessings

Hermie celebrates her 71st birthday

For 71-year-old Herminia “Hermie” Remo, her secret in life is counting her blessings, being grateful, giving more, and expecting less.

“I see many older people who are unhappy because they kept thinking the world owes them more. We think we deserve more recognition, more money, and more of everything. If we count our blessings rather than entitlement, we might find that we [instead] owe the world,” she says.

At her age, Hermie is blessed that she’s not taking any maintenance medications except vitamin C and zinc. “I stay active physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. I like walking, exercising, praying, and meditating as an antidote to stress. I also like reading, browsing the internet, ballroom dancing, and maintaining a positive attitude or letting-go feeling,” she reveals.

Daily routine

Upon waking up in the morning, Hermie prays and gives thanks, shares Bible verses on her Facebook account, do Zumba exercises from Youtube, takes brisk walking outdoors with her husband, and does household chores.

Hermie with husband, Rey

Hermie has been married to Raymundo for 43 years now, and they were blessed with six children and six grandchildren.

“Before I sleep, I turn the radio on and listen to classical music or watch movies on Netflix, chat with friends and pray,” she shares.

For food, Hermie admits her diet consists of foods rich in acid-producing food (meat and cereal grains) and low in non-acid producing foods (vegetable/fruits), which have shown to have negative effects on muscle mass.

Hermie’s father used to be a farmer. So, she would sell vegetables from their farm. When she graduated, she came to Manila and worked as a civilian employee in the Philippine Army for 39 years.

At present, she’s the vice president of their barangay’s Lupon Tagapamayapa and Senior Citizen Association where she gets to attend weekly hearings and meetings.

“Let us be grateful for what we have in life. We should give more and expect less as we age. Stay active and vibrant. Be physically fit, do a regular check-up, free your heart from hatred, free your mind from worries, live simply, and surround yourselves with every people who are going to lift us higher,” she concludes.

Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

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