Aggie Mackenzie (pictured) says ironing can be soothing, while smoothing out the rough spots of her day.
By Aggie Mackenzie
You might be shocked to hear that despite my TV career cleaning other people’s homes, when my kids were in their teens and I worked full time, I had a weekly cleaner.
After my divorce and the kids leaving home, I kept it every two weeks. I happily paid her not to come during the pandemic, but soon realized I’d actually rather do the cleaning myself, so as soon as the lockdown was lifted I said goodbye to her.
I also enjoy ironing – I find it soothing. When I take the hot steam over every duvet cover, pillowcase or tea towel, it’s as if I’m lightening the tough spots in my day.
It now appears that there may be health benefits to cleaning and ironing, especially for those over the age of 65. The authors of this study believe that the locally active older adults interviewed—surprise, surprise, mostly women—were fitter, better cognitive function and were less likely to be hospitalized.
I was talking to a doctor friend in his 70s the day before who had a cleaner, but now does all his housework (yes, his).
He enjoys the feeling of organizing his house, cleaning up as he goes, and thinks he’s fitter and better organized for that.
Hot steam helps smooth out the day’s rough patches
I’m sure he’s right. Let’s face it: cleaning is a sinister necessity and we all have to involve ourselves with it one way or another.
There is something that greatly empowers you to be in charge of your surroundings rather than pushing someone else to be.
Housework is a purposeful activity with remarkable results, and I believe it helps everyone, young and old. Obviously, if your house is untidy and dirty, you will likely feel a little cluttered and possibly depressed.
Keeping your home clean and tidy helps you feel a clear head. And in the post-pandemic era, most of us now realize 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 for other seniors. While you’re washing in the sink or doing it in front of the stove to prepare dinner, it’s a good idea 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 great start. Try it on both sides and repeat as often as possible. It will strengthen your abdominal muscles and improve your balance, thus, you will be less likely to fall.
And keep cleaning, it has now been proven to give us a world of good!
Jane Gordon (pictured) says we should try to get out of the house, not clean it
Written by Jane Gordon
The latest suggestion that one of the most effective ways to “healthy aging” (oh, how that expression makes my heart sink) could be spending at least 15 hours a week doing “dirty and dirty” chores has made me so angry.
According to a ridiculous study of 500 adults in Singapore – half of them aged 21-54 and half 65-90 years old – a vigorous session combining “heavy” and “light” brushing had a positive effect on the cognitive and physical functions of older adults.
Apparently, a few extra hours in my flock of wiping, dusting, and scrubbing “around the turns” (that’s the catchphrase of my old Harpic TV ad, for you guys) could improve my memory, sharpen my mind and reduce the chances of my suffering, stagnant and dying!
Now, while I accept that there are quite a few chores that are truly challenging to the body and brain—struggling to change a king-size quilt I spent an hour ironing for example—I would never adopt this new directive our “older” shepherd.
And while I can see that cleaning windows (a “heavy” task) can improve my focus and balance (if I’m on a ladder), it’s not something I intend to do.
In fact, I have become increasingly enraged by the endless advice directed at my age group in a way that suggests we are all weak-minded, perhaps fat and a general burden. Hardly a day goes by without me addressing companies that market dreaded “retirement villages,” incontinence aids and tips (yes!) for “planning your funeral.”
We should try to get out of the house and not clean it
No, no and no! I have always been somewhat despised (not to say judgment) of women who consider cleanliness next to piety.
My idea of the TV hell was how clean is your house? (Sorry, Agee) And I haven’t made it past the first page of Anthea Turner’s book How to Be a Perfect Housewife or the first sentence of Lynsey Crombie’s blog The Cleanliness Queen. And for Marie Kondo, just don’t ask!
I’m not even convinced of the glamorous Mrs. Hinchliffe (aka Sophie Hinchliffe) even though she has amassed a fortune and 4.2 million followers on Instagram.
Certainly, the best way to age in good health is to have fun and keep learning.
Dance, learn a language, learn to fly, make new friends, and for goodness sake shrug off that new bullshit – get out of the house instead of wasting precious time cleaning it up!