Have you heard about this day?  What a great opportunity to celebrate all things good about getting older; wisdom, experience, more free time to explore and do the things you enjoy and spend time with people and family hopefully without quite the same level of responsibility or pressure. 

The good news too is that with a greater awareness of healthy eating and the need for exercise together with the advancement in healthcare those older years can be really enjoyed without falling apart.

So what else can we do to help ourselves and those we know and love avoid problems in later years?

With 60/65 no longer being the ages for retirement we need to make sure we are fit for work and if not work then for helping with grandchildren, managing our home, doing all that we want and need to do.

Somewhere in the media every day we are told what we need to do to keep healthy and I think you’ll probably agree that the two most documented things are: 

20-30 minutes of exercises at least 5 times a week, and

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet

These two factors help ensure our bodies keep going but what about our brains and our emotional well-being?

I read recently that learning a new skill regularly is a great way of keeping our brains alive and active.  I don’t know about you but I was brought up with the notion that doing the crossword daily would keep my brain going, however a recent study has suggested that doing something like taking up an art class is better than the crossword as it not only challenges our brains to think but also has a practical/coordination challenge too.   

Last but by no means least, the emotional aspect, crucial for our wellbeing as it not only impacts our social interactions but our eating habits, our energy for life…… 

Stress is also a well recognised problem for us in the western world, too much to do not enough time, the pressures of money or no money, of expectations both we ourselves and others have of us can all take their toll on our health. 

However stress is not just the burden of the younger person.  In later life it might be worrying about our children and their children, it might be loneliness or frustration at not being as mobile and independent as one once was.   Having someone along side us to share the ups and downs can make a big difference which is where family and friends come in.  However if they’re not around getting involved in a club or helping out with a charity, meeting people and getting involves is a great way to know how much you’re valued.

So what are you thinking?  No need to worry about this, older years are a long way off for me?  That’s certainly what I used to think but now with a mother going through all the older people problems I can see more clearly (albeit through specs :-)) that it’s vital that we are there for the older generation as they share their wisdom with us we can offer practical and emotional support for them.  We also need to take action now for ourselves to keep us functioning as well as possible for as long as possible. 

By 2035 nearly 23% of the population will be 65 or over (olderpeoplesday.co.uk). We’re all living longer, NHS resources are not getting any larger and now more than ever we need to take action. 

There’s a great booklet I have just read ‘Get Up and Go –  a guide to staying steady’ produced by Saga.  This booklet is an easy read, full of useful information about how to avoid falling.  It gives a tick box check list to help assess the risk of falling, gives advice about how to reduce the risk at home and out and about, how to get up from a fall/help someone else get up as well as suggestions on exercises for strength and balance.  Brilliant and well worth getting a copy saga.co.uk/health call 0800 056 1057 quoting FG015.

If you are or know someone who is older it’s worth getting a copy of this booklet.  If you’re not quite there yet it’s worth keeping all these aspects in check, diet, exercise, good work/life balance and time management.   You’re more likely to remember the days spent with friends and family doing something you enjoy or the sporting challenge you undertook than the amount of hours you spent at your desk working away.