IT'S NEVER TOO LATE...
By Martha Nottingham (Reprinted from the 4/23/13 edition of the Senior Citizens’ News)
According to The Encyclopedia of Aging & the Elderly by Hampton Roy, M.D. & Charles Russell, Ph.D., many well-known people made major accomplishments in old age. A few examples are as noted: Grandma Moses was painting at age 100; Pablo Picasso was producing drawings and engravings at age 90; Michelangelo did architectural plans for the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli at age 88; and Winston Churchill wrote a ‘History of English Speaking People’ at age 82. The Discovery Fit & Health website also published 10 Famous Accomplishments made Late in Life which includes Nelson Mandela being elected as president of South Africa when he was almost 76; Benjamin Franklin being the oldest original signer of the Declaration of Independence at age 70; Mother Teresa winning the Nobel Peace Prize at age 69; and Laura Ingalls Wilder publishing her first book at age 64.
Considering this brief list of individuals, their varying ages and remarkable achievements, one may wonder about the ‘appropriate’ time of life to cease setting goals. Perhaps the quote by Mary Anne Evans, an English novelist and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era, (better known by her pen name, George Eliot) says it best, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Although our efforts may never be recorded in the history books, there is always the possibility that, by setting and achieving goals later in life, we may prove to be an inspiration to others.
Such is the case for Mary Jo Frame, Director of Nursing, at Braxton County Memorial Hospital. She remembers, “My mother, Ann Plummer, was 65 when she decided to quit smoking after more than 50 years of chain smoking Lucky Strikes. She was pretty healthy and decided smoking was not good for her. She quit ‘cold turkey’ and used a small wooden cross about the size of a cigarette as her comfort. When she had a need or urge to smoke, she gently placed that cross on her lips. She never smoked again and was 95 years old when she passed away. Her lungs and heart remained healthy until the last few years of her life. It is never too late to quit!”
At Braxton County Memorial Hospital, information is readily available to any patient expressing an interest in tobacco cessation. Statistical data, educational material and contact numbers are included in packets and distributed by Cardio-Pulmonary staff members. Stephanie Arden, Registered Respiratory Therapist (pictured on previous page) states, “We simply ask our patients if they are interested in receiving the Smoking Cessation packet and if so, we give them the folder.” In previous years, Stephanie focused on educating children through the TAR WARS program. The harmful effects of tobacco use were presented to area school students as well as increasing awareness about false advertising and the cost involved in supporting a tobacco habit. Stephanie comments, “Kids are smart; they realize they won’t get rich or beautiful by smoking. When considering the cost, they would rather have an Xbox.” A different incentive is necessary for adults, especially the older generation. Regardless of age, however; making the decision to quit smoking and accomplishing this goal is admirable and life saving.
The individuals highlighted at the beginning of this article are known for achieving some outstanding feat, earning them praise and recognition. What greater accomplishment in life is there than to be an inspiration to our family and friends. And if in so doing, improving one’s health and extending one’s life should be considered an added bonus. Remember, in the words of George Eliot and Mary Jo Frame, “It is never too late….”