#ageingfabulously with Peter Hitchener - Annecto

#ageingfabulously with Peter Hitchener

Peter Hitchener is a strong advocate for #ageingfabulously. The Channel Nine News reader and Victorian Seniors Week ambassador also supports annecto, presenting our annual Story Showcase.

Peter believes the secret to ageing well is to stay active and is a strong believer in being involved and supporting the community.

“There are so many community groups, great causes and activities that need good people to be involved. I believe it is really important to participate where you can as you get back much more than you can ever give,” said Peter.

With the largest growing age group of people in Australia being those who are 65-years and over, the pressure is on to improve our health and the way we live.

The number of people aged 65-years and over increased from 2.1 million in 1993 to 3.3 million in 2013. We can expect this group of people to increase to 6.2 million people in 2042.

For those of us over the age of 85, the growth is even more pronounced. From around 300,000 in 2002 to 1.2 million in 2042.

We’re living longer, which is positive, but despite our longevity, increased ill health plagues us. Things like arthritis, dementia and hearing loss will continue to be more prevalent. Two in every five people who went to hospital in 2013 -2014 were over 65-years-of-age.

The best thing we can do to improve our own health outcomes as we age, is to make some small changes, now.

Here are ten tips to ensure a healthy life at any age

1. Keep moving every day. Use as much of your body as you can, start slow and gradually build your strength. Make sure you check with your doctor before you start any new exercise class or activity.
2. Eat small amounts of high-quality food, often. You don’t need to make structured main meals. A plate with some cheese, grilled chicken or beef, carrot, avocado, a handful of nuts and some sliced apple is easy, tasty, healthy and gives you a variety of vitamins.
3. Do something that engages you every week. Hobbies that connect you with other people, and engages your brain will make you happy and keep you mentally fit.
4. Challenge yourself. If you love to cook, try a different cuisine, if you love crosswords, take the step to cryptic crossroads or other word puzzles.
5. Learn a new skill. Learn a new language so you can talk to your neighbour in their native tongue, or learn to use an iPad.
6. Make an effort to make new friends. Our social circle gets smaller as we get older. It’s important to get out there and make new friends.
7. Get outside and observe nature every day. Whether you live in the city or on the coast or in the country, it’s very important to leave the confines of your home, and walk amongst nature. Connection to plants, animals, sunshine and sky is essential to good mental health.
8. Have a positive outlook. Those who approach things in a more positive way have increased health benefits such as lower rates of depression and distress, high resistance to common ailments such as the common cold and are better able to handle what life throws us.
9. Have a laugh every day. Share a funny story or joke with someone, poke a bit of fun at yourself, or read something funny every day. Laughter has fantastic healing qualities.
10. Ask for help. There will be a time that you will need some help around your home. Don’t be afraid to outsource some of the chores that are becoming a little difficult.

The most important thing is to get out and enjoy yourself as you get older. Ageing doesn’t mean you have to withdraw, shut the curtains and isolate yourself from the rest of the world. The opposite has proven to ensure happiness and health, and it can be a great time of life.

Join a social or exercise group, volunteer for a worthy cause, invite your family or neighbours over for dinner, spend your nest egg and see some of the world, have a laugh with your grand-children and stay active, every day.

Read more health and wellbeing articles here.

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