I can’t help but think if I were to ask any of my readers “Do you put your loved ones first?” they would all say slightly offended “Of course!!”

But before I make you think here’s what the Blue Zones website defines as this Power 9.

Loved Ones First

Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).

Have you ever taken care of an elderly parent or loved one?

I have not but I know it’s incredibly hard; especially if there’s a chronic disease or dementia involved. How do I know? For 10+ years I was a nursing home dietitian. Many times I felt like the surrogate granddaughter to over hundreds of grandmas and grandpas that I would forever be encouraging to eat. And that was the easy part. I worked alongside a slew of other healthcare professionals that got deep down and personal in the crooks of taking care of someone that could no longer adequately take care of themselves. But even they got to take turns and go home. And although the care seemed reminiscent of taking care of a baby or toddler, that child graduates into another phase typically requiring less hands on care and supervision. In most cases than not, that does not happen in a nursing home.

Would I have the strength if something happened to my parent or in-law right now to be able to take care of them in my home? My heart would love to sing YES! But my body and brain would weep. I already have too much on my plate, could I really live up to the expectations of this Power 9?

My sister and I for years have joked with each other “you get them, no you get them” often in front of my parents to their dismay and eye rolls. But guess what? I got them!

Luckily for me I got them with hopefully a lot of life left in them.

THEY decided to put Loved Ones First!

THEY decided to downsize immensely (by more than half!), throw caution to the wind, leave their Florida warm in the winter life and move north to be ½ mile from me. To be exact, ½ mile from their 3 grandchildren.

It’s only been a month since their move, but I can’t tell you how overwhelmingly blessed I feel. To go from years of having no close family by to knowing that my children’s first solo bike ride will be to Grammy G’s & Grampy Bob’s house hits me in the core of my heart.

This unconsciously was probably the reason behind these Blue Zone Challenge weeks. I have to figure out how to keep my family around me, healthy and active for years and years and years to come!

From July 31 to August 6, it’s all about family!! Make sure and join me on my Facebook page where we can share how we’re prioritizing and making Loved Ones First. It’ll be a big Family Love Fest!