Love Later Life

Love Later Life… a positive attitude to ageing appears to be the key to enjoying longevity.

It’s time for a reappraisal of ageing. Recently there has been a lot in the daily papers about research from AgeUK which found that more than ¾ of adults are looking forward to living longer. However, 9 out of 10 feel strongly that something needs to be done to ensure quality in later life plus a change in the negative view of getting older. It concluded that a positive attitude to ageing appears to be the key to enjoying longevity.

1 in 5 people in the UK will be aged 65 and over by the year 2020 and this should be a real cause for celebration. But research revealed that treating older people with dignity and respect in care homes and hospitals is one of the most important aspects of later life that needs to be addressed.

AgeUK is the national charity that supports people in later life and with this in mind recently launched its new vision of older age entitled “Love Later Life”. I am delighted to have been personally associated with AgeUK for the past 25 years, and as an Ambassador was asked to launch their project with a series of radio interviews around the UK. The charity hopes to challenge the negative perception of ageing and to inspire people of all ages to come together to change later life, for the better.

A more inspirational approach needs to be encouraged to show people, young and old alike that longevity can be fulfilling. We need to reassess ageing, the perceptions of later life, to think differently about growing older and to demonstrate that older people have a valued role in society. Everyone should have the opportunity to be happy in their older age and should be inspired to make changes for the better to insure they will enjoy the rest of their life, as far as is possible. Of course we must acknowledge the realities of getting older and facing new challenges, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting and preparing as best we can, for a fulfilling, independent later life.

Speaking personally I believe it is of the upmost importance to maintain good health throughout life. It’s a bit like an insurance policy; the more you put into it over the years the more there is to pull on in times of adversity. Wellbeing can prepare your body and mind for the many challenges, physical, mental and emotional, that most of us will experience with the passing years.

I also feel very strongly that interaction between my generation and young people is vital in order to create respect and admiration for all concerned. I’ll admit to being a bit “techy” myself, but would encourage everyone of my generation to be computer literate too. Today being conversant with technology is increasingly important because it helps bridge the generation gap by making communication easier, particularly with young people.

Speaking personally, and as a grandmother of four teenagers, I’m interested in, and like to get involved with whatever youth gets up to, albeit music, art, fashion, street language or dance. And fortunately for me it seems I’m appreciated by younger people for my experience of many years in the media, which appears to make me “cool” in their eyes and a more interesting person to know! Interaction between old and young needs to be encouraged, it’s special and can be very beneficial to all concerned.

Now in my mid 70’s I still work as a broadcaster and writer. Each week on the new DAB radio station “The Wireless” I have a regular one hour programme called “We’ve Got Mail” where with the help of experts we tackle older people’s problems and concerns. Broadcasting, plus my voluntary charity work keeps my very, very busy! But I’m lucky in that I do have a positive attitude to later life which helps me to keep physically and mentally active. I also watch what I eat, and when I do have time for myself I love to travel and pursue my hobbies – painting and sketching being my favourites. You see I really do Love Later Life!

Research http://www.ageuk.org.uk/lovelaterlife
Radio station http://www.thewireless/ageUK