As the years pass, we all face changes in our bodies, minds, and lifestyles. But ageing doesn’t have to be a daunting or negative experience.
As you age, your focus may shift from work and raising a family to planning for retirement and long-term financial security.
But it is just as important to plan for your health, aged care, and connection to community. This is known as positive ageing, which can help you stay healthy and independent for longer.
Positive ageing is a concept that encourages us to embrace a natural process with enthusiasm and optimism. It’s about nurturing our physical and mental well-being, pursuing our passions, and finding fulfillment.
Here are some steps you can take towards a more fulfilling and satisfying journey through your senior years.
Maintain physical health
One of the fundamental aspects of positive ageing is taking care of your physical health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper medical care can help you stay active and alert. Physical activity not only keeps your body in shape but also releases endorphins, which can improve your mood and reduce the risk of various health issues. It's never too late to start a fitness routine or adopt a healthier diet.
Cultivate mental well-being
Mental health is just as important as physical health when it comes to positive ageing. Staying mentally active through activities such as reading, puzzles, or learning new skills can help maintain cognitive function. Practicing mindfulness, meditation, or other relaxation techniques can reduce stress and enhance mental well-being.
Maintaining a strong social network is crucial for positive ageing. Loneliness and isolation can lead to depression and other health issues. Engage with friends and family, join clubs or groups that share your interests, and embrace the opportunity to meet new people. (Click here for information about joining your local National Seniors branch.)
Pursue passions and hobbies
Retirement doesn’t mean you stop doing the things you love. In fact, it’s an opportunity to pursue your passions and hobbies more vigorously. Whether it’s painting, playing a musical instrument, gardening, or traveling, investing time in the things that bring you joy can enhance your overall life satisfaction.
Embrace lifelong learning
The desire for knowledge and personal growth doesn’t diminish with age. Enrolling in classes, attending workshops, or seeking out educational opportunities can be an exciting and enriching part of positive ageing.
Engaging in volunteer work or community service is a fulfilling way to contribute to society and maintain a sense of purpose. Helping others can be immensely rewarding.
Positive ageing involves accepting and embracing the changes that come with growing older. Acceptance does not mean resignation but rather an opportunity to redefine your goals, values, and priorities. Focus on your strengths and the wisdom you’ve gained over the years.
Take time to reflect on your life’s accomplishments and celebrate them. Positive ageing is about acknowledging your journey and the wisdom you’ve gained along the way.
The Federal Government’s Department of Health and Aged Care says it is taking steps to ensure every Australian can live well, stay healthy, and maintain their health and independence.
This can be achieved by:
Improving the overall health and wellbeing of people 65 and over with initiatives to help them make better health choices, improve mental health services, and promote physical activity.
Supporting older people to view ageing positively, proactively plan for their older years, stay healthy for longer, and maintain their independence.
Providing resources for older people to understand and explore how ageing needs change over time and what ageing services and supports are available to them.
Improving the aged care system to ensure older people can access aged care that meets their specific needs, where and when they need it.
Sponsoring the Senior Australian of the Year category of the Australian of the Year Awards and shining a light on the many older people who are achieving incredible things as they age.
Funding LiveUp, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping people stay independent through healthy ageing.
You can learn more about positive ageing and view inspiring stories about senior Australians who are achieving incredible things as they age by visiting the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website.