Should people over 65 start ironing for their health?

Aggie MacKenzie (pictured) says ironing can be soothing while smoothing out the rough spots of her day


By Aggie MacKenzie

You may be shocked to learn that despite my TV career cleaning other people’s homes, when my boys were teenagers and I was working full time, I had a weekly cleaning lady.

After my divorce and the kids left home, I kept her every two weeks. I was happy to pay her not to come during the pandemic, but soon realized I’d rather do the cleaning myself, so once the lockdown was lifted, I said goodbye to her.

I also prefer to enjoy ironing – I find it soothing. As I run the hot steam over each duvet cover, pillowcase, or tea towel, it’s like smoothing out the rough spots of my day.

Now, it appears that cleaning and ironing may have health benefits, especially for those of us over the age of 65. The authors of this study believe that the household-active elderly they interviewed—surprise, surprise, they’re mostly women—were fitter , had better cognitive function and were less likely to end up in the hospital.

I recently spoke with a doctor friend in his 70s who used to have a cleaner but now already does his (yes, his) own housework.

He enjoys the feeling of organizing his house, tidying up while he is at it, and he thinks he is much fitter and better organized for it.

Hot steam helps smooth out the rough spots of the day

I’m sure he’s right. Let’s face it: cleaning is an evil necessity and we all deal with it in one way or another.

There is something tremendously energizing about being in charge of your own environment instead of paying someone else to be.

Household work is a goal-oriented activity with visible results, which I believe benefits everyone, young or old. Obviously, if your house is untidy and dirty, you’re probably going to feel a little chaotic and possibly depressed.

Keeping your home clean and tidy will help you feel clear-headed. And after the pandemic, most of us are now realizing that good mental health is just as important as good physical health.

As a 66 year old yoga teacher, I have a few words of valuable advice to other old people. While you’re at the sink doing the dishes or standing in front of the stove making dinner, it’s a good thing to stand on one leg — even for a few seconds.

You don’t need to lift the other foot particularly high — a few inches is a good start. Try it on both sides and repeat as many times as you can. It will strengthen your abs and improve your balance, making you much less likely to fall.

And keep cleaning, it’s now proven to do us good!


Jane Gordon (pictured) says we should try to get out of the house, not clean

Jane Gordon (pictured) says we should try to get out of the house, not clean

By Jane Gordon

The last suggestion that one of the most effective ways to “age healthy” (oh, how that phrase melts my heart) might be to be “down and dirty” doing housework for at least 15 hours a week has me. absolutely furious.

According to an absurd study of 500 adults in Singapore – half aged 21 to 54 and half aged 65 to 90 – an intensive session combining ‘heavy’ and ‘light’ cleanings had a positive effect on cognitive and physical function. of the older adults.

Apparently a few extra hours of mopping, dusting and scrubbing in my Marigolds ‘around the bend’ (that’s the old Harpic TV advertising slogan, for you young people) can improve my memory, sharpen my mind and reduce the chances of my suffering falling, become immobile and die!

Now, while I accept that there are a few household chores that are really challenging for the mind and body — for example, struggling to change a king-size duvet you ironed for an hour — I’m definitely not going to embrace this patronizing new guideline for us. ‘oldies’.

And while I can see that window cleaning (a “heavy” task) could improve my concentration and balance (if I were on a ladder), it’s not something I plan on taking on.

In fact, I’m getting more and more annoyed with the endless advice aimed at my age group in a way that suggests we’re all feeble-minded, probably fat and a general burden. Hardly a day goes by without being approached by companies marketing terrifying ‘retirement villages’, incontinence aids and (yes!) exhortations to ‘plan your own funeral’.

We should try to get out of the house, not clean

No, no and no! I’ve always been a little disdainful (not to say judgmental) of women for whom purity comes next to godliness.

My idea of ​​TV hell was How clean is your house? (sorry, Aggie) and I never got past page one of Anthea Turner’s book How To Be The Perfect Housewife or the first sentence of Lynsey Crombie’s Queen of Clean blog. And as for Marie Kondo, just don’t ask!

I’m not even convinced by the bubbly Mrs. Hinch (aka Sophie Hinchliffe), even though she’s amassed a fortune and 4.2 million followers on Instagram.

Of course, the best way to grow old healthy is to have fun and keep learning.

Dance, learn a language, learn to fly, make new friends and for goodness sake ignore this new nonsense – get out of the house instead of wasting precious time cleaning it up!


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