Some time ago, I met Rita at the Sports Centre. She arrived on her bicycle with a lovely smile, and she was very independent. When we chatted, she said: “I am Rita and I have Alzheimer’s”.
Rita’s philosophy is that every day will be the best day. She loves to do sport and she is very active despite being in her eighties. She is very popular, and we all respect her.
When I met Rita she was participating in yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and body sculpt classes and she ran every single day. Now, she is doing more yoga and Pilates than anything else to keep up her good health.
At the Sports Centre, students and community members are together in the same classes and it is interesting to see everyone doing their best as the challenge is to persevere and accept your limits whatever your age or level of fitness.
Rita shows us how important it is to be positive every day, whatever life’s circumstances. In her case, Alzheimer’s causes problems with her memory, but her behaviour is always admirable!
Her basic routine is: eating healthy food, sleeping well, and exercising every day. And we can see how important it is for:
Mental health – Rita’s routine is good for all ages. Consciously trying to be positive every day helps us to enjoy the day and accept that life has bad as well as good moments.
Physical health – Having a routine and doing sport is important in human life. Every stage – childhood, adulthood, retirement – has different requirements and it is crucial to take time to do this to achieve the best physical and mental health possible.
Socialising – Doing sport is a social activity: Participating in the group, chatting with others, taking care of oneself and others. The interaction with others is interesting and it is possible to develop a lot of empathy in the dynamic of the group.
Positivity – Thinking positively helps people to achieve their goals, being in a good mood they can adapt to different situations whatever the difficulty. Rita says : ”all is good in my life – the only thing is Alzheimer’s”. And her physical health is probably better than some younger people’s!
Rita is adorable and a great example of trying to be the best version of herself. That’s why she inspires people around her. Looking at her I cannot help thinking how important it is to be responsible for oneself and enjoy each day. Probably, Rita is struggling with her memories but in her “present” she tries to be well and happy.
She is living in the short term – from hour to hour. But she keeps a notebook where she writes down her routine, appointments and details. When we pop in, she doesn’t remember our last visit but she has a little souvenirs to remind her and she enjoys those moments which is the most important.
The big question is what we are doing to feel well and happy? …in my case, I like practising yoga and Pilates because it makes me feel great – I am more conscious of myself and I can accept life is a competition with only with myself! And you – what do you do?
By María Verónica Paredes