Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW 02)93190288

What It Means To Age Well

What is the secret to living well? 

People often ask, what is the secret to living a long and healthy life in Australia? Maybe a better way to ask the question would be “What types of things can help an older person live a good life?

For  older people living  a  good life can mean a  number of things.  Eating well, drinking enough water,  staying  active,  spending  time  with  family and friends and doing things that you like to do. Having a purpose. For some, that means fishing, gardening or spending time  meeting  new  people, or dancing. For others, it might be looking after the grandchildren, knitting them clothes and cooking in the kitchen.  It could  be  further education and starting that course you have always wanted to do.

Has ageing well changed over the years? 

Living  well  probably  hasn’t  changed  in  10,  20  or  50 years,  though  the  world  certainly  has.  Life  is  busier and faster than it used to be.                                     .
With so many fast food options, it’s hard to know what is is  good  for  you  and  what  is  not. Technology  has  also  made our lives easier, but it has made us a little lazier too.  We drive to the shops instead of walking, or use a TV remote instead of getting up to change the channel manually.  As  a  result,  we  are  moving  our  bodies  less and less.

Family life is different too. In many cultures and in many families, older people needing help in the home could  rely  on  their  sons  or  daughters  to help them. But now, the sons and daughters and their wives and husbands may work full-time or  may  have  more  than  one  job. They  may  have children of their own to care for and high mortgages or rent to pay. They may not live in the house next door, or down the street, or even in the same suburb or city and they may find it very hard to do all the things the older person asks them to do. So, it is important for older   people   to   stay   as  healthy  as   they   can,   and   do   as   much   for themselves as they can.  They need to  consider  a future where they feel  independent  and  safe and have options in order to live a “good life”, or  the life they want to live.

 

Can we spot the difference between those who are living well and those     who are not? 

An older person  who is living well usually  has a purpose in their lives. They look after themselves by eating well, drinking enough fluids, getting enough sleep, exercising their mind and bodies, doing what they  can  around  the  house,  spending  quality  time with  family  and  friends,  and  spending  time  doing things they enjoy. They are happier and healthier in their lives. They feel content.

A  person  who  is  not living  well  may  feel life  is not  quite  worth  living.  They give up  and give  in by letting other people  make decisions and do everything for them. They may often feel depressed and have no energy,  strength or desire to do things for themselves, as a result, they  feel,  isolated,  alone  and  without a  real sense of purpose or value.

Is it too late to make changes?

It is never too late to change. It may need some work, but it’s not impossible. Often in life we have to make changes, whether it is a new job, new house, new country. But we adjust. This is just one of those times.

If you use your body and mind regularly, you will get stronger and sharper in thinking. You might not get back to where you were when you were 20 or 30, but you will  regain  strength,  energy  and  the  feeling  of
being active. For many people, beyond age 50 is the best time to themselves happier, healthier and fitter after 50 than they were when they were in their 40’s.  The secret is to  be open to opportunities.

Having  the opportunity to live  and  age well,  is  a desire everyone has,  regardless  of  their language, age,   faith   or cultural background.   Living in a multicultural society has allowed us to shape services which   take into account   our   cultural choices and provide us with options to live a  good life, the life we want to live.

In  our  conversations on  radio with  the  Speak  My  Language program – we aim to ask people to define  what does a good life mean to me’. We will encourage them to be open minded  and  get  involved.  We  will  explore  choices and  options  that  are  presented  to  them  and  make them  aware  of  the  various  lifestyle  choices  and aged care services which are available to all people over  65  years  of  age  that  can  help  them  lead  that  ‘good life’, the life they may want to lead.

 

This article was provided by the Speak My Language Program “Conversations on ethnic radio about ageing well in Australia”, http://www.speakmylanguageradio.com