HEALTHY LIVING FOR HEALTHY AGING
By Victoria Carter
Lead of Engagement and Integration, Aboriginal Health, Northern Health
JUDY GEROW IS A MEMBER OF THE KITSELAS FIRST NATION. WE ASKED HER ABOUT HEALTHY AGING. I’ve been in Band Council for over 20 years – two years as Chief and 18 as a councillor. I am a mother of six, a stepmother of an additional six, and I’m also raising my granddaughter. Even though I have always been thinking about my health, it was after I became a mother that I realized how important it was to take care of myself so that I was here for my children. Now that I am raising my granddaughter, I want to take care of myself to make sure I am here for her until she can be on her own. I try to watch what I eat and I don’t drink alcohol or smoke. I keep myself involved in various activities, many of which are physical such as my volunteer role in the fire department. I like to fish and hunt and through this, challenge my body to keep up with others and carry what I can. I garden, too. Family is also very important to me; we are a large and close family and look forward to getting together for family dinners. As I get older, I spend more time thinking about my life, what matters and how I can live this to the fullest.
30 Healthier You
My role model is my mother. She is 84 years old and she is still going strong. When she was in her 60’s, I had a hard time keeping up to her. She would get up at dawn and preserve fruits and vegetables until late at night. When I am out on the river or in the bush, I have time to reflect and focus on the land and the environment. I find that very spiritual and I get a sense of belonging when I’m out there. It’s like I can feel the presence of my ancestors who walked before me for thousands of years. A message I would like to share with others is that everyone needs to start taking care of themselves and be more conscious of what’s around them. Food, lifestyle, getting back to the land, going for walks, being at peace and enjoying what’s around you – these do matter.
More info: This is an excerpt from a longer interview with Judy about her health journey. Read the full interview on the Northern Health Matters blog at blog.northernhealth.ca/healthy-eating/judy.