Staying Young at Heart – Lessons from Momma

You can learn lots from your momma. Just ask my gerontologist friend, Karen.

Karen's momma in her garden.
Karen's momma in her garden.

My longtime friend, gerontologist Karen Everett Watson knows lots about mothers. And from Karen, I learn a lot about MY mom and all my senior relatives. 


Karen says, “My mother is a living example of how to live and stay young at heart. At 77 years old, she can still work circles around me and what's better, she enjoys life to the fullest. She does have some aches and pains, and complains a little that she just isn't what she used to be. Her solution is to rest a while and then start in on a project that she enjoys.” 

Karen’s mom exercises her MIND as well as her body and that makes Karen so happy, cause an active mind can help stave off Alzheimer’s and other mental maladies. Karen says, “My mother is self-educated. She reads daily – her Bible, the Wall Street Journal, and any biography she can get her hands on. She always has something thoughtful to say and keeps up on politics and new health findings. 

“My mother indulges herself on things she loves. She loves my daddy, and is always there to feed him and talk about things they're concerned about. She loves animals. She's had goats, cows, chickens, geese, ducks and dogs. She also takes in stray cats and nurses them back to health. Right now, she has a huge German Sheppard named "Parker." She talks baby talk to him and feeds him sandwiches for breakfast. Sometimes, just to make it more of a challenge, she'll put a morsel inside an old box so he can work at getting his little snack. 

“Another way my mother stays young at heart is fooling with the great-grandkids. All nine love to go to great-gran's house. She has an "open-pantry police" and they take full advantage of it. Playing with the ‘greats’ is a passion for her. She loves to see them laugh and have a good time, while carrying around crackers or chips from out of the pantry. She and daddy have a well-equipped garage full of motorized toy cars and an assortment of other things to ride. They fill the cul-de-sac with trikes, bikes and laughter. It's music to the heart and a balm for the soul. Knowing another generation is happy makes everyone happy.

“Momma loves to feed people, especially her family. But no one walks through her doors without the offer of something to eat. She loves to laugh. She loves to sing. She listens to music while she works on her jigsaw puzzles in the warmth of her big bedroom window. She is the epitome of a "well-rounded" person. Nature is her constant companion – the birds, the sky, and all living things. 

“Momma stays young by also remembering the past. She will often talk about one of her 11 siblings, or her momma whose seen them all through tough times. She likes to remember when my own kids were young – the funny things they did and the wonderful trips we took together as a family. She cherishes the days when we all went to church together and how we sang hymns all the way to church. Momma loves to sit and ‘visit’ or take me on a walk through her gardens. She's still so full of life. I hope to someday be a lot more like she is. 

“Her yard and garden are beautiful to see. She works constantly to keep up with all the watering, weeding and pruning. Daddy helps with mowing and gives her a hand trimming hedges. He knows it's good for him, but for momma, it's a passion. Plants flourish with her care. And if one seems not so good, she moves it, no matter how big it is!

 “The most important thing to my mother is her Creator. She rarely misses services and loves to "talk Bible." She prays for everyone – the family, the kids, the president and rulers. She lives her faith, which inspires me to always try harder. 

“To me, my momma is remarkable (I know you couldn't tell). I just wonder what the world would be like if there weren't women like her who sacrifice for those they love – all their lives. When I was younger, I didn't tell her enough how much she meant to me. Now I never finish a visit or phone call without an "I love you, Momma." How blessed she has made my life.” 


See above why I think that I have one of the most wonderful friends that you could ask for? Karen teaches me to better understand my own senior relatives and to better appreciate and love the many over-65 seniors we have here at San Clemente Villas by the Sea. 

Drop by soon and have a free lunch with me and then let me take you on a guided tour of the many amenities here. If you are very lucky, Karen might even be here when you stop by. 


San Clemente Villas by the Sea is an Orange County senior living and housing community that delivers care, camaraderie, resort-style amenities, and diverse programming for all stages of retirement. The Villas offers independent living, assisted living, as well as memory care services for seniors over the age of 65. An exceptional, highly trained staff, including a medical doctor, and Ph.D. gerontologist fosters an exciting and fun environment with a focus on safe resident care for retirees. 

Located next door to the San Clemente Saddleback Memorial Hospital and across the street from scores of doctors, San Clemente Villas is ideally located for seniors. 

San Clemente Villas by the Sea, 660 Camino De Los Mares, San Clemente, CA. 92672. Phone: (949) 489-3400 | Fax: (949) 234-0081 | For more info e-mail: info@sanclementevillas.com or Aileen Brazeau (949) 289-1534. 


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