So here’s something I didn’t expect on turning 64: a new-to-me category of mail. On the day after my birthday (or, as my sister likes to describe it, the first day of my 65th year – as if I was catching up to her), the Government of Canada had this delivered to my mailbox:Holy crap! Here I’ve been, bopping along, still a 20-something hipster in my head, then this arrived to shake my deluded sense of reality.
And on that subject . . .
The very next day, I received an email that confirmed where I’m headed. But first a back story.
Four years ago, I was invited to participate in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, which over 20 years is monitoring the health and well being of 50,000 Canadians. It was an easy ‘yes’, for me. While most of the results stay with Health Canada and McMasters University, which is conducting the study, I saw it as a way to hopefully inform the system for my daughters and future generations. I’ll be 80 when my part is up.
Every three years my cognitive and emotional well-being is assessed in a lengthy interview, followed by a three-hour physical exam that covers the gamut including hearing, sight, balance, and bone density. Memory tests, by far the most unnerving components (‘Can you repeat that list of objects I mentioned 15 minutes ago, Gery?’) feature in both the interview and the physical exam.
I’m privy to some of the results. Turns out my hearing which has been annoyingly acute for family who have to strain to hear the TV at levels I’m comfortable with, isn’t all that hot, after all. Upper ranges are indiscernible to me, but since I’m not a dog, I won’t sweat that.
The bone density test is of great interest. I’m built much like my mom whose late-in-life spinal compression fractures were agony.
My last visit with the CLSA study team was a year ago and this week I received an email with my bone density results: 10-20% risk of bone fracture over the next 10 years. Admittedly, it could be worse, and I expect over time it will be. Meanwhile, it’s a heads up to me to bump up calcium intake and put more oomph into weight training.
I’ll be a year into receiving the above mentioned cheque when I next meet the CLSA team which, as I like to put it, is monitoring my decay for the better good (now where’s that emoji option on WordPress?)
Still haven’t figured out widgets.