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Holistic view - The age of wellbeing
01 Jan 2016

The age of wellbeing, by The Selwyn Foundation

It’s important to look after yourself – body, mind and soul.

Throughout this series of articles, we have explored the topic of “Ageing Well”. We’ve looked at academic studies and shared the experts’ recommendations based on their findings. We’ve learned that ageing well encompasses mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. These factors contribute to people’s health at any age, but they become even more important as we get older.

The first thing to remember is to stay active. A US study found that 75 minutes of brisk walking per week equates to an extra 1.8 years of life expectancy, as opposed to staying sedentary. Whatever your starting point, and however much exercise you do, it seems the more you do it, the longer you live.

Mental exercise is just as important – and again, the more complex and challenging, the better. Learning a language or musical instrument, model-making, crochet, painting or drawing can all significantly help to maintain mental agility. Don’t neglect your soul, either. Spirituality (whether expressed through religion or other activities) has been shown to lower stress and anxiety levels, and improve mental health.

Where you live is also important, and understanding what works for you will help determine what care path you take as you age. For some people, remaining independent at home for as long as possible is critical to their wellbeing. This can work well for those who maintain a strong social network of their own. Others find the social environment within a retirement village suits them better (either in independent living or residential care), and here they also have the advantage of continuum of care as and when required.

Everyone has different needs, and at The Selwyn Foundation, we don’t try to create a one size fits all solution. As a charitable organisation dedicated to serving older people and their families, we provide support to older people in the community through Selwyn Centres (local drop-in centres for over 65s) and dementia day centres for those who need them. We continually pioneer age-related research and technology to contribute to the care of New Zealand’s ageing population. We also develop and manage retirement villages offering both independent living and residential care.

The Selwyn Foundation believes in showing warmth and kindness to all, irrespective of background, ethnicity or faith. It’s all the result of caring about older people, not just for them.

 “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing,” George Bernard Shaw.

© The Selwyn Foundation 2016.