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”, www.speakmylanguageradio.com