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Family member reflects on the importance of having ‘hard conversations’ early

It’s never too early for us to start having conversations with loved ones and medical professionals about our health and well-being in order to live better and help us prepare for the future, says Julia Gamble.

This is something Julia, whose father is a resident of Garden Terrace, says she has learned first-hand.

“If I could go back in time, I think I would (talk with my father) about the importance of eating well, being healthy and exercising,” Julia recently told The OMNIway.

“I think having the hard conversations before they are needed is important.”

Julia describes her father as a “strong, proud man” who was athletic and had played football in his younger years. He also had an illustrious career in public service.

However, by the time Julia’s dad reached middle age, a busy career, coupled with the other constraints in life most of us experience, left less time for physical activity and eating well, she says.

As years went by, this would have an impact on his health and would later lead to circumstances requiring Julia’s dad to move into long-term care.

Julia says what she has learned from her experience with her dad’s journey into long-term care is that what we do in our 40s, 50s and 60s – or even younger – has a large impact on how we age, and that the time to have discussions about our health is in our younger years.

With this in mind, Julia believes that being proactive today will help address tomorrow’s health-care challenges.

Julia notes that we have an aging population. According to the Government of Canada, in 2012 one in seven Canadians was a senior citizen. By 2030, that number is expected to jump to one in four.

Given the impact an aging population will have on the greater health-care sector, Julia says people who are middle-aged today need to start thinking about what they can do now to improve their health outcomes later on.

“(We need) to have the hard conversations about aging early and with our doctor,” Julia says. “Ask yourself how you want your final 10 to 25 years to be.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story

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PHOTO CAPTION: This photo, submitted by Julia Gamble, shows her father as a young football player.

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