Does this content look wrong? Click here to report any errors.

Silver Threads: New Year’s resolutions for seniors

After arduous research (boot up the computer, go on the Internet, type in “New Year’s resolutions”), I’ve found that these annual promises to improve oneself or one’s situation have been made since about 153 B.C.

Back then, they were sworn to in March, since Julius Caesar hadn’t yet straightened out the calendar, doing so in 46 B.C. and declaring January — named for the Roman god Janus — as the first month of a new 12. One can only guess at what some of his resolutions might have been: “I will stop corresponding with that conniving little Cleopatra”; “I will cross the Rubicon this year for sure“; “I will pay off my debts after the Ides of March.”

(A digression: The Babylonians celebrated the new year’s beginning some 4,000 years ago — in March — with 11 days of festivities. And you think you’re wasted on Jan. 1.)

More research landed me on, a website whose managers are presumably financed by us taxpayers and where I found a list of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, to which I would add this one: We, the members of Congress, resolve to trim this kind of silly service from the budget.

Anyhow — here with the resolutions and my commentary as to how they apply to us older folks:

  • Drink less alcohol. You could fall down and not be able to get up. Drink only in company.
  • Eat healthy food. At 11 p.m. on Christmas night while reading a mystery novel on my e-reader, I developed a craving for some of the turtles and Oreo balls still on our dining room table. Not long afterward I had to chew up one of those pink tablets. This is a good resolution.
  • Get a better education and a better job are pretty much non-applicable.
  • Get fit. Always a good idea. Walk around the block. Circle the mall twice. Take your dog on an outing.
  • Lose weight. Who ever notices how a 76-year-old woman’s waistline looks? If the pounds aren’t life threatening, don’t bother.
  • Manage debt. Folks in their 70s and 80s and 90s don’t have debt, having been raised by Depression-era parents to whom it was a four-letter word and who never had credit cards.
  • Manage stress. Ah, here’s a good one: Breathe deeply, meditate, call on that higher power inside you for help in coping with whatever comes, and take a pill if it’s necessary — sometimes only an aspirin.
  • Quit smoking. I’ve trained my doctors to leave me alone about this. I am a polite person who never invades another’s air space while lit up and has never even smoked inside my own house.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle. Good advice for everybody.
  • Save money. For what? Your old age?
  • Take a trip. I do, every chance I get and every time I can afford the airfare, which is frequently, because I was raised by Depression-era parents (see above).
  • Volunteer to help others. I deliver meals weekly, and I write this column, which is no doubt invaluable to you.

Here I’ll add a couple of resolutions I made years ago and hope you will, too: Never throw anything out of your car; think how neat New Orleans could look. And whenever you go to the grocery store, buy one of those five- or 10-dollar bags of canned goods to put into the Food Bank bins.

Happy New Year!

Bettye Anding is a former editor of The Times Picayune Living section, for which she wrote Silver Threads until her retirement. She now writes it for NolaVie. Email her at