Age is mind over matter... and if you don't mind it doesn't matter! I enjoy being in my mid seventies, but like many of my age I realise the time has come for a reappraisal of ageing. For me the key to enjoying longevity is to have a positive attitude, an open mind and sense of humour. Recent research found that more than ¾ of adults are looking forward to living longer and they too want to dispel the negative view of getting older. However nine out of 10 older people also feel very strongly that something needs to be done to ensure quality in later life.
This is important because one in five people in the UK will be 65 and over by the year 2020 and longevity should be celebrated. Growing older isn't a disease, it happens to us all! Treating older people with dignity and respect in care homes and hospitals is one of the most urgent aspects of later life that needs to be addressed. This was highlighted in the recent BBC Panorama programme which showed shocking neglect and abuse in some care homes. Recently AgeUK launched its new vision of older age entitled "Love Later Life" and they too are challenging the negative perception of ageing and trying to inspire people of all ages to come together to change later life, for the better.
As an older woman I like to demonstrate to people, young and old alike that longevity can be a fulfilling and happy time of life. I wish young people would reassess their perceptions of later life, and could think differently about growing older themselves. We should all be entitled to a happy older age and if needs be, encouraged to make changes for ourselves to insure that as far as is possible we do enjoy later life. People in their 60s, 70s and upwards do still have a part to play, and deserve to have a valued role in society. Of course I acknowledge the realities of getting older and the problems and challenges many of us will face. But that doesn't stop me from wanting and preparing (as best I can), for a fulfilling and independent later life.
With my 'Green Goddess' fitness guru hat on I believe it's of paramount importance to maintain good health throughout life. I think of it like an insurance policy; the more I've put into it over the years the more there is for me to pull on in times of adversity. Being fit will hopefully prepare my body and mind for the many challenges, physical, mental and emotional, that I may well experience with the passing years.
I feel 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, and I try to encourage my generation to be computer literate too. Today being conversant with technology is increasingly important; it helps to bridge the generation gap and makes communication fast and easy.
As a proud grandmother to four teenagers, I'm interested in, and like to get involved with whatever youth gets up to, albeit music, art, fashion, street language and dance. And fortunately for me it seems I'm appreciated by the young people I'm in contact with, possibly because of my 50 or so years experience in the media. It appears to make me 'cool' in their eyes and quite an interesting and amusing old 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 70s I still work as a broadcaster and writer. Each week on the new DAB radio station The Wireless/AgeUK I have a regular weekly 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 mind very, very busy! I suppose I'm lucky to have this positive attitude to later life plus a keen sense of humour! I'm still physically and mentally active, I watch what I eat, and when I do have time for myself I love to travel and pursue my hobbies. Painting and sketching are my favourite pastimes. You see I really do - Love Later Life!