• Yuma AZ and snowbirds

    Did a winter vacation to see my dad, he snowbirds down in Yuma Az. it’s on the boarder of Arizona, California and Mexico. There is about 100,000 snowbirds that go there for the winter/spring. Let’s just say the average age is north or 75.

    It is flat, dry and is the sunniest town in the world! There are miles of RV’s of every type in all directions and all sorts of different types of houses. Some people take their RV and just park out in the desert and hang out, they call it ‘boon-docking’.

    I am stunned how busy my dad is. When I first showed up to Dad’s Casita/5th wheel lot, I asked why he had 10 couches, 50 chairs, enough cutlery etc for an army. Then the cars started showing up. We set up a BBQ in the lot and had a huge hot-dog party.

    Often there is a ‘bloody marry’ party. Where at 9am, 30-40 people will show up at someones house/RV/trailer and drink bloody marry’s till 10am, then 30 of us went for breakfast. Often at 4pm is happy hour where again 40 people show up and all are gone by 4:59. It’s like magic. One night we went to a fabulous house for supper with 15-20 people.

    On Thursdays they meet to go out to the desert and drive around to some old mine site, or look out or oasis. There is movie night’s, they go into the big city to see hockey or baseball games. It never ends.

    We went to Algodones Mexico and that is where things got interesting for me in the health business. The town of 5500 is about 1/4 pharmacy’s, 1/4 dentist, 1/4 eye glass shops and 1/4 everything else you’d think Mexico should have.

    The line up getting back into the USA was long and very social, everyone was visiting and most where carrying BIG BAGS OF DRUGS. Just not the kind 20 year olds think of. My dad’s been going down there for 10 years and after a couple of years I asked him what was surprising to him. His answer was how restricted some of the group was due to their medications and how many med they where on.

    I asked my dad what he thought his reason was for better health and he said the farm life. My dad farms about 4 moths a year. It’s not as hard a job as it once was but he’ll start at 6 am and normally turn into bed around 11-12 pm. He’ll do that in the spring for 6-8 weeks and in the fall harvest for 3 months.  He’s pretty tough for a 72 year old.

    When the group realized what I did for work the health questions started. I think I could be busy down there. To age well I encourage all of us to do the following:

    Eat well, learn what eating well for you means. It can take 10-15 years of casual study to get a food plan that works for you so start right away. Start small and just pick an area of study each year to get better at it. My first year was how to eat more vegetables, then we worked on finding better sources of meat. Last year was finding ways for me to eat more fruit. This year I am studying the microbiome (the bugs in us).

    Get active. Find things you like to do that work your muscles in a balanced way. I talked to a retired PE teacher in Yuma. He’s messed up. How we trained and stretched 40+ years ago was mostly a bad idea. There are a lot of 70 year olds that have terrible body structures. If it hurts regularly then maybe it’s not for you. I of course love Tai Chi but there are thousands of activities you can do to keep fit.

    Find hobbies that activate your mind. If they can involve other people that’s a bonus. You want to keep your mind nimble and quick. A good way to do that is to use it. Find things that challenge you. I pick up a new hobby every 5 years. It reminds me how crappy it is to be brand new at things, it gives me the chance to improve at it and notice I can get better at things and it stretches my mind/body in new directions.

    Heal your injuries, whether they are physical, mental, spiritual, emotional or nutritional. As you age they can come and ruin your life. Many of us are trying to do just that, well continue then. It can take years to fix some things. I am reading a book on healing the gut for ADHD, they talk in years not months in this book.

    Get better social skills because if your going to Yuma your going to need them and enough stuff to sit 40 people for supper.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies