Positive ageing

Nicola - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The increasing number of older adults, desire for a ‘good-life’, and high rates of dementia have resulted in new research into active or positive ageing. These concepts are all related to quality of life and psychological wellbeing – part of my PhD.

So what is positive ageing? It refers to continuing good health, participation and engagement in social, cultural, economic, spiritual and civic affairs across the  life span. Active ageing enables older adults to achieve and maintain their optimal level function, and meaning and purpose. Contrary to how it sounds positive ageing really begins with positive living in early adulthood as our life style at any age impacts upon our health and wellbeing later on.  However, research indicates it is never too late to start- with improved physical, mental and brain health occurring in the very old.

Too often older age is associated with a constriction of activities, interests and social contacts. Research indicates that the reduction of stimulating pursuits – social, physical and mental- contributes to dementia risk and increased disability. Lack of exercise, sarcopenia (muscle wastage), diabetes, mental health issues, alcohol and other poor life style related issues are common in old age but they can be corrected.

Retiring from paid employment does not mean retiring from life. Get healthy to stay healthy and get out there- pursue hobbies, following curiosities, climb mountains and make time for friends.