At Carefour we promote Successful and Productive Ageing wherever possible, with the implication that later life can be a time of relative health and vitality. Where older people should be encouraged to contribute to family and society, rather than it merely becoming a time of ill health and dependency. (Achenbaum, 2001; Butler & Gleason, 1985).

In order to understand the extent of the problem, it is worth noting that over four million (or 40 per cent) of people in the UK over the age of 65 have a limiting long-term health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, arthritis and dementia.

Although the challenges of old age may seem daunting, they are simply the normal challenges of human life, including the following: :

  • adapting to retirement and other role changes, including family roles;
  • learning to live with chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and/or coping with pain;
  • accepting diminished but not lost capabilities such as hearing or eyesight;
  • surviving and coping with the deaths of growing numbers of family and friends; and
  • coming to terms with your own mortality.

For the sake of balance, it is also crucial to concentrate on some of the more positive aspects of ageing such as a positive attitude, a sense of optimism, resilience and adaptability. Traits that are generally acquired and refined during life’s long maturity process.

Everyone should be encouraged to maintain active relationships with people they care about and who care about them and pursue activities that they find enjoyable, engaging, and meaningful. These activities, where practical, may include paid work or volunteer work. You can include new active roles within the family, such as becoming grandparents. Older people who are happy with their lives also derive great satisfaction from hobbies, creative activities, travel, education, and from involvement in areas such as spectator sports, reading or the arts and so on.

In addition, wellness has become an increasing focus for health care providers.

It is never too late to make a change to your lifestyle:

Our experiences throughout life can have a negative or positive influence on health, affecting the risk of chronic disease and other health outcomes in later life.

Timely interventions during midlife and beyond offer great potential to increase wellbeing, maintain health in both body and mind and reduce the risk of losing independence.

Research evidence sets out key actions for professionals to promote healthy lifestyles for people in midlife and beyond. These include:

  • Stopping smoking: it is never too late to stop smoking, and after the age of 35-40, a person loses three months of life expectancy for every year of continued smoking.
  • Being more active: research shows that physical activity in older age has multiple benefits, including reduced mortality, improvement of physical and mental capacities and enhanced social outcomes.
  • Reducing alcohol consumption: chronic conditions caused by alcohol misuse include liver cirrhosis, and evidence suggests that regular excessive drinking increases the risk of the most common forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.
  • Improving diet and maintaining a healthy weight: a healthy diet is a key to staying well as people age, and there are a number of causes of malnutrition in older people including socio-economic hardship, a lack of knowledge about nutrition, disease and the use of medications and social isolation.

For further information why not visit the Centre for Ageing Better website where you will be able to find the very latest articles and advice on ageing better.