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  The English philosopher Francis Bacon once wrote “It is as natural to die as it is to be born” and yet, when the end of life draws near for us or for a loved one, the subject of death can feel incredibly difficult to broach. This reality is not our fault, as facing our mortality is a cultural taboo that we have carried for many generations, but breaking the silence that surrounds the end of life is hugely important. Communicating around this delicate topic is important for peace of mind as practical questions are resolved but it also offers the invaluable opportunity to create meaningful connection and a sense of togetherness in the face of grief. In bringing the value of our relationships to the…

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Any of us can have a clumsy moment and take a tumble, but as we age the health issues that we may face can make it much easier to fall, and the consequences can be much more serious. The NHS reported that around 1 in 3 adults over 65 are vulnerable to falls, and while there is a great amount that we can do to address the risks and causes of these incidents, sometimes we may find that our elderly loved one doesn’t tell us when something happens because they don’t want to be a burden, or are afraid that signs they are struggling may lead to a loss of their independence. For this reason, it is worth discussing falls with our loved one to put…

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The rise of yoga as an accessible health practice for people all over the world has been a dramatic ascension! With a ream of benefits both physical and psychological, people of all ages are realising the benefits of stepping onto the mat. For our readers experiencing the discomfort that comes with arthritis, yoga could offer a fantastic tool to calm your symptoms, increasing your quality of life and sense of well being.   What is Yoga? Yoga finds its origins in ancient India as a physical, mental and spiritual practice which has made a meandering evolution through time and cultures, to its position as the hugely popular activity that we see in almost every gym and wellness centre today. Modern yoga places greater emphasis on the…

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  The more mature amongst us might like to think that a lifetime of experience has left us judicial and wise, but depression can be a sneaky adversary as we age. Between the common misconception that depressive symptoms are a feature of ageing and the issue of how often these symptoms can be mistaken for other ailments, people suffering from depression in later life can often be overlooked or may fail to recognise the nature of the problem themselves.   In the UK, depression affects roughly a quarter of the elderly population, but shockingly only 15% of sufferers seek help from the NHS. Symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia and low mood can be missed, or connected only with physical ailments such as arthritis. In reality, depression…

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The BBC’s Panorama documentary series recently turned its focus to the plight of Social Care in the UK, with a two-part feature ‘Crisis In Care’, delivering a heartfelt expose on the combined impact of our ageing population and a decade of austerity-driven budget cuts. In such difficult times, finding real solutions for the families and individuals who need them requires great innovation and creativity, while recognising the phenomenal fortitude and wholehearted dedication of those who are providing care for a loved one, and striving to protect their well being. The creator of Crisis In Care, BBC’s Social Affairs Correspondent, Alison Holt’s decision to follow four families over the course of 10 months, served as a powerful vessel in offering a deeply personal human perspective on the…

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  You might be tempted to imagine that social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter are strictly the territory of the young, but you’d be well off the mark! More and more seniors are taking to social media and making the most out of the different benefits to be found, from keeping in touch with loved ones to exploring a whole host of interests and getting involved in communities that span the globe. An American survey from Pew in 2018 found that 37% of people aged 65 and above were active on Social Media, while a similar survey in the Netherlands the year before found that 34% engaging in the same age demographic, and these numbers are growing steadily! Let’s take a look at what Social…

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We all expect some physical and mental decline as we age, but of course, we hope to keep those challenges at bay for as long as possible! Fascinatingly, more and more studies seem to be pointing to dance as a fun and accessible activity, which seems to take on just about all aspects of age-related decline with impressive results. With a twirl and a heel kick, let’s investigate all the reasons why you or your senior loved one should consider signing up for a dance class today!   A Little Cha-Cha Is All It Takes For A Happy Hippocampus The Hippocampus is an important part of our brain that plays a key role in all sorts of things from short and long term memory, spatial awareness,…

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  When caring for a loved one with Dementia, the challenges of communication can be both frustrating and distressing. A person suffering from Dementia will display not only memory loss, but difficulty in forming and expressing their thoughts and feelings, and we, in turn, may struggle to understand what they are trying to share with us. While these challenges are not easy to navigate, we can take some steps to make communication a little easier and a little less stressful for everyone involved.   Create A Good Environment When you wish to initiate a conversation, try to minimise distractions by turning down the radio, muting the television or asking other family members to try to pause their conversations whenever you interact. Make sure you position yourself…

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Many of us worry about getting older; some of us more than others.  This fear could stem from worry about our health, anxiety over how we will manage physically or mentally as we age or the dread of losing those we love as the years go on. Put simply, many people suffer from stress, anxiety and even depression over the thought of getting old and how that process will impact their lives.  Whatever the root cause of this fear, it can have an extremely negative impact on our health. The bottom line is that we are all ageing whether we like it or not and rather than becoming preoccupied with such worries, there are a number of ways to bypass our negative feelings about getting older….

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It takes a hugely generous spirit to undertake caring for a loved one who is declining due to Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, or another cognitive condition. For those of us who step into the role of caregiver, a battle can begin within us as we try to navigate the often distressing challenges of the role and the emotions that come with them. If you or someone you know is providing care, please read on. It is so important to realise that any negative feelings we may be grappling with are absolutely normal and that we can cultivate some healthy practices to lighten this emotional load.   What You May Be Feeling Caregiving can be a thankless task that often leaves us feeling isolated and exhausted. When something…

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Isolation can be a real challenge for older people, who may live alone or have limited opportunities for social interaction. While we might feel a little awkward around elders within our community, we probably have more in common than we imagine. We all feel good when someone takes the time to see us in our day-to-day lives, and the older people around us are often a font of wisdom, experience, and humour. On the other hand, we all feel unhappy when we feel ignored, so don’t avoid your seniors. Take the time to share a friendly good morning and ask how they are. Whether we are interacting with older people within our community or navigating the challenges of later life with a family member or loved…

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There comes a moment for many of us, in which we begin to realise that it is time for us, or a loved one, to retire from driving. While the thought can be a little intimidating, safety on the road is an absolute priority and adapting to life without getting behind the wheel can be much easier than you might imagine.   Warning Signs Perhaps friends or family have expressed concern, or perhaps you yourself have the sense that your driving is changing. Consider if you are feeling more anxious behind the wheel than you used to, are losing focus or getting lost more easily. Have you had any near misses in the car? Your eyesight may not be what it was, or you may be…

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Have you ever picked up a book with the goal of self development? Perhaps it’s something you’ve never done or maybe it’s a resource you’ve used many times over the years. The autumn years of our lives are not always easy, but whilst we are certain to face our own personal physical or mental challenges at times; these needn’t define or dominate our lives. With a little inspiration we can opt to actively draw on our wealth of experiences, finding satisfaction in our ability to adapt and recognising the light and comedy in life’s evolution! There is great confidence to be found in the way we know ourselves in later life and this spark can be drawn upon to make every moment count. With this in…

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“A legacy project can be a meaningful tool to bolster your own strength following a frightening diagnosis. It can be a means to support someone you love who is ill, or a way to reclaim a feeling of control after bereavement by turning emotions outward in a positive way towards others we love.” For each of us the thought of losing a loved one, or of leaving loved ones behind, is a difficult thing to bear. When faced with a potentially terminal diagnosis we all want to save those we care about from grief, but in such times our normal vocabulary of support becomes redundant and we can find ourselves feeling powerless. In these moments the value of our connection to others can be a source…

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Culturally speaking, we are just terrible at dealing with death. In a society that celebrates youth, vivacity and accomplishment but quietly averts its eye from elderly decline, it can be incredibly isolating to go through the loss of a loved one. We lack the public vocabulary to discuss it and the rituals of grief to carry us through it. Just as the cycle of life dictates, everyday life will begin and end. Babies will be born, and people will die, but as human beings that feel and connect there is nothing that we fear more than the loss of our loved ones. Many experiencing bereavement may have cared for a spouse or parent for some time and their loss may bring such a tangle of difficult…

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As we get older there comes a point where retaining our independence becomes increasingly difficult. As we, or our loved ones, face these challenges it can be tricky to broach the subject with the important people in our lives, but needing to adapt to a change of circumstances needn’t be something to feel embarrassed about. In fact, taking a few practical steps as we age can make life much more enjoyable and allow us to maintain our autonomy for far longer. A huge aspect of self-determination can be the wish to stay in our own home. We feel comfortable in our own space, can maintain familiar routines and may have a beloved pet that we wish to stay with, or memories that we wish to stay…

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At this time of year, I often think of all the resources we burn through as we jet through our busy modern lives. Consumption of just about everything ramps up during the holiday season, and more so with each generation, but as we learn increasingly about our impact on the planet and how precious these resources truly are, perhaps it’s time to hark back to the era of our elders. Previous generations had a much more balanced and careful approach to what they had; they were green out of necessity! Evidence suggests that while they used far less they were actually happier than we are today within our have-it-now lifestyle bubbles. When did we lose the plot? Let’s look at some of the ways our senior…

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In the run-up to the holidays, I always seem to be inclined to have a good clear out and de-clutter. I suppose it’s mostly in anticipation of the visitors that come with the season and wanting to make the house presentable, but I think it’s also in part a gesture of preparation for the inevitable influx of stuff that comes at this time of year. The act of giving and receiving is always a heartwarming experience, but it comes with a certain level of anxiety at times, especially when buying for older relatives. Will we choose something to their tastes? The last thing anyone wants is to give a loved one a gift they won’t enjoy. My parents have always been tricky to buy for; they…

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We can all feel a bit listless as the winter draws in. Cold rainy weather and short days can leave us feeling a little glum, and when looking for sources of comfort it can be easy to overlook how incredibly rewarding the act of supporting older people around us can be. In fact, practising kindness, from small gestures within your community to giving in a big way by volunteering or sharing your space with those in need, can deliver huge benefits not only for those you help but for your own mental well-being too. The act of giving can be connected to reducing stress, boosting immunity, combating depression and increasing self esteem, not to mention that actively engaging with helping others can be fantastically stimulating –…

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Are you tired of colouring your hair to cover greys? The habit is an expensive one and, while I’m all for investing in our appearances in the name of self expression, I have a bone to pick with feeling under pressure to look like something that doesn’t express our true essence. We should feel free to be our beautiful selves, representing how we feel on the inside in whatever form that might take! A few years ago I began noticing a local woman with the most extraordinary silver hair. I would see her in the grocery store, queuing at the bank and in the park on Sunday. She was an older woman with extraordinary beauty and grace and it was impossible to guess her age. The…

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