Old’ is always subjective – as an infant your slightly older sister seemed so adult, then as a teen those in their 20s seemed to be the peak of maturity. The meaning of the word evolves over time – 200 years ago someone reaching their 60s would’ve been considered a very old person, while this same person could arguably be described as middle-aged in 2017. Achievements of modern science and healthcare have meant the UK’s population is growing older than ever before, with over 800 million now reportedly over 60, and with life expectancies growing steadily above this age.
The ‘age of ageing’ means that more people can remain healthier and active in these years than in previous ones, with more opportunities to contribute to society. Yes, we’ve all heard ‘youth is wasted on the young’ and ‘school days are the best days of your life’, but evidence that older people are the happiest appears to be mounting up – and with some of the activities we have on offer it may just be the case!
Research for the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry recently revealed older people are more likely to class themselves as ‘very happy’, the highest among any age group in the survey – suggesting levels of satisfaction take on a U-shaped curve during life. But why is this? Why has it got so much easier and more pleasant to age?
A Healthier World
The world is a much healthier place than it was 30 or 40 years ago, for two main reasons. Firstly, healthcare itself has improved – the ability doctors have to medicate and monitor is constantly evolving as more and more vaccines and treatments are discovered. Smoking bans in the UK have meant that going out is cleaner and healthier, whilst legislations surrounding health and safety have made hygiene stricter in restaurants, hospitals and factories, meaning the general population feels cleaner and healthier until later in life.
Secondly, the general attitude towards health has shifted and people are much more aware of the damage being unhealthy does to their bodies.
The driving force behind improvements in health, is technology. Healthcare has certainly improved since our great- grandparents were young, but the importance of our general access to knowledge about health and vitality cannot be understated, with the onset of the internet making it easier to take proactive steps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle due to a dramatic increase in the dissemination of information. The importance of eating a well-balanced diet is widely known – particularly at Barchester, where we understands the type of nutrition older people need and have a varied menu that aligns perfectly with this.
The World is More Suited to an Ageing Population
We are more aware of the need to exercise and keep our brain agile than our ancestors were, meaning there are more opportunities for older people to get involved in activities. Whilst retirement has always been a time to be spent with friends and family, technology has made it easier to now stay connected to than it would have been ten or fifteen years ago – meaning the world is a less lonely place for an ageing population. There are also new treatments constantly being tested, such as that surrounding music therapy, a new method that has been proven to boost the quality of life of the elderly.
Mick Jagger, Michael Caine and even the Queen haven’t let old age slow them down, so why should anyone!? At Barchester, we know you may not still feel like you did when you were 20, but our people are here to continually improve the quality of your life and ensure you’re feeling as comfortable as possible. Contact us if that sounds right for your loved ones.