How to keep your memory fit as you get older


How to keep your memory fit as you get older

Without taking appropriate action the avoidable debilitating effects of getting older may catch-up with the inevitable passage of time.We are often preoccupied with the physical decline in our bodies but what is possibly worse is when our mind begins to show signs of failing.Forgetfulness and becoming slower in our thinking can give rise to great upset and a feeling of isolation, even if the cause is not the result of any specific condition such as dementia. There is good news. According to The Harvard Medical School decades of research conclude that certain strategies will help protect and sharpen our brains.With some time and effort put in the brain can be strengthened by certain training just like a muscle, preventing some of age-related cognitive decline so as to keep your brain sharper.


What is not often appreciated is that exercise can help strengthen your brain as well as keep your body strong and healthy.Short-term memory improvement is one of the main benefits noticeable in older people who have started an exercise regime and particularly one involving lots of cardiovascular work.

brain training


Regular use of your brain in creative ways can avoid it deteriorating.The saying ‘use it or lose it’ applies here.

Experts at Harvard think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. They say that challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. Many people have jobs that keep them mentally active, but pursuing a hobby or learning a new skill can function the same way. Read; join a book group; play chess or bridge; write your life story; do crossword or jigsaw puzzles; take a class; pursue music or art; design a new garden layout.That said though, anything will help – even just reading occasionally.


Although healthy eating lowers your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, it’s not yet clear if that’s true for Alzheimer’s disease as well. It’s not a lost cause though. Here are 9 foods that researchers think will keep your whole body, including your brain, healthy.

The right diet can do wonders for looking after your brain and helping to prevent the onset of various neurological diseases or general deterioration. Particularly useful are fatty acids such as omega 3 which you can get from fish and supplements, vitamins such as B9 (also known as folic acid) which can be found in fruits and veg and amino acids (proteins) which you can get from meat or from supplementation – from ‘Age Slower’ by David Jones


Your lifestyle can also impact on your mental health. Your sleep regime and fresh air can affect your brain, and alcohol consumption can also have a big impact.

Some easy steps to a better quality of sleep

Staying Active

In Japan, particularly in Okinawa, always keeping busy is seen as giving a sense of purpose in life and supports a concept known as Ikigai. Having something to get up in the morning to do is central to their way of life and is credited with giving the Okinawans a long life expectancy such that they tend to live much longer than those in the rest of the world’s population.What is more they enjoy enviable levels of vitality and health unthinkable for people of advanced age almost any where else in the world.

“One surprising thing you notice,living in Japan, is how active people remain after they retire .In fact, many Japanese people never really retire – they keep doing what they love for as long as their health allows”

– Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles



The short guide to dealing with stress in later life

Boredom in retirement -that'll be the day!
Boredom in retirement -that’ll be the day!

Of course stress has no respect for age.We know it’s part of life.Its destructive nature can affect anyone at any time, and the long term effects can creep up like a shadows in the night inflicting their damage to our health, catching us unawares.The natural ability to withstand the persistent onslaught of stress is much degraded,as we grow older, but succumbing to ravages to health is not inevitable. Continue reading “The short guide to dealing with stress in later life”

5 mythbusting articles you may have missed at the60life blog about your health in later life/feed//feed//feed//feed/


There are many misconceptions about getting older.One of these is that older people inevitably will suffer from significant age-related decline in health.This is what many parents and grandparents of those now in their 60s and 70s were led to believe.With a lower life expectation they also seemed to be condemned to a short retirement in ill-health before death. Society and culture did not expect any more from older people. The stereotypes were out there with ‘pipe and slippers’ often the onlyreward at the end of a working life. Nowadays so much has changed and with good reason.Apart from people wanting more out of life the realisation has surfaced that in reality something can be done to prolong an active life.

Myth 1: Trying to improve fitness in older age is pointless Continue reading “5 mythbusting articles you may have missed at the60life blog about your health in later life/feed//feed//feed//feed/”

The really simple way to walk for health in later life

Happy senior couple hiking in the park (dollarphotoclub)
Happy senior couple hiking in the park (dollarphotoclub)



The problem for many of us today is that we just do not exercise enough. This can have dire consequences as we age.

According to the Lancet medical journal,about two thirds of the adult population in the UK does not take sufficient exercise and are endangering their health.The British Heart Foundation 2015 physical activity survey revealed that only 30% of over 75s meet a reasonable physical level of activity. These are astonishing statistics,and if we don’t use our physical ability to take reasonable levels of exercise we will eventually lose it.

In the UK and the US health authorities  tend to agree that we should strive to achieve 10,000 steps each day equivalent to about 5 miles.The average person in the UK reaches around 3000-4000 steps daily according to the NHS( in the US this figure is said to be around 5,200 -5,900)

There is a simple way we can individually deal with this problem of low activity, and that is by walking for health in later life. Continue reading “The really simple way to walk for health in later life”

5 Tips to Give You Time to Enjoy Your Healing garden/feed/

Over many centuries monasteries and hospitals have valued the restorative benefits of having a garden in close proximity to people who are suffering sickness. A garden setting provides calmness, a path to creativity and a new appreciation for everything that surrounds us. It transports us from the stress of the world to a place of peace and tranquility and restores our minds and bodies like nothing else can do.You can benefit from the healing properties of nature by planning your own healing garden. Continue reading “5 Tips to Give You Time to Enjoy Your Healing garden/feed/”

If you must spend time on the sofa do this for your health and wellbeing


sofa so good -  @ dollarphotoclub
sofa so good – @ dollarphotoclub

This piece is about spending less of our waking day sitting down and using more time throughout the day improving your wellbeing and fitness. The importance of exercise at whatever age for longer life has been bandied about a lot in the media recently.It seems we are not listening.But scientists confirm exercise is the answer to keeping fit and well.
Continue reading “If you must spend time on the sofa do this for your health and wellbeing”

Why leaving your chair could add five years to your life


It perhaps should no longer be necessary to remind people that physical activity is essential for health and longevity.Medical research into reducing the risk of heart disease,diabetes and cancer in older people continues to support this truth.The results of recent large studies by the Oslo University Hospital, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, confirm a strong association between physical activity and Continue reading “Why leaving your chair could add five years to your life”

Why this is no age to retire



Today, one in six of the UK population is aged 65 or over.

Until quite recently people of a certain age felt defined by what passed as appropriate for their parents, and their forebears. This earlier attitude, bringing with it all things ageism, was reinforced by a lower life expectancy, and by the many legal and social rules in our society which dictated what should or should not be done at certain times in life, particularly in later life. This was no less apparent than Continue reading “Why this is no age to retire”

Ease into the Mediterranean diet today

cestino di pane con verdure - dollarphotoclub
cestino di pane con verdure – dollarphotoclub


Media headlines often tell it all:

Sensible diet cuts heart attack risk within weeks (The Times)

Obesity threatens chronic ill health in older age

Dire warning of [adult] obesity as [youngsters] pile on the pounds(The Daily Mail)

but many of us still don’t respond to the headlines, or even read the rest of the article,news item,or report we maybe reading.

Despite the sheer volume of scientific evidence written today about the likely consequences of poor diet Continue reading “Ease into the Mediterranean diet today”

Focus on the public face of dementia

iQoncept @dollar photo club
iQoncept @dollar photo club


Much has been said lately about the scourge of dementia in all its forms.And now,just a few days ago,Sir Terry Pratchett,author of the fantasy book series Discworld, and recently often considered a public face of dementia, passed away. He had been diagnosed in 2007 with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, an estimated 850,000 people currently suffer from dementia in the UK.The government is promising a new,long term strategy focused on boosting research,improving care and raising awareness of dementia. Not before time a deep searching light is to be shone on this growing mental disease which threatens to grow into a worldwide epidemic. Continue reading “Focus on the public face of dementia”

Keeping purpose in your laterlife

Vector silhouettes of man.

A recent management magazine article inspired this post. The word purpose sprang out. So without entering into a sermon, what does it really mean – purpose? It could be said young people have by dint of youth purpose in their lives: to grow-up,expand their horizons,achieve ambitions, have families, help others, and so on. But what about older people in later life? Continue reading “Keeping purpose in your laterlife”

Great Life Expectancies


Born 1902 in Russia, Max Lerner, American journalist,writer and educator contributed as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times over period of 20 years.

He is quoted as saying:  “I want to die young at an advanced age.”

I can relate to that.

He was known as a ‘possibilist’ , one who was considered neither an optimist nor a pessimist.

Max died in 1992 aged 89.

Standing-up for your health really works

dollar photo club
dollar photo club

Scary headlines jostle daily in the media to attract our attention.Many do not deliver on the message and become just so much unnecessary distraction in our everyday lives.Now, where our health maybe concerned most of us will always prick-up our ears and take notice for fear of missing something of importance. Standing-up for your health is a theme that has gained traction in the last few years, but does it work? Sitting is killing us? Continue reading “Standing-up for your health really works”

How to live comfortably and with independence in later life

sweet home

There has been much in the recent news about the growing belief that older people though finding themselves in inappropriate homes as some of their powers decline would far prefer to stay independent of a care home environment.

Perhaps not surprisingly a high number, 9 in 10 over 50s, according to the recent Daily Telegraph report of people surveyed about where they would prefer to live and be cared for, opted for staying put in their own homes. It seems though that most of us leave it far too late even to start any sort of conversation with anyone, including close family. We will discuss finance for older age, even funeral arrangements but not the long term living space we need or desire to maximise enjoyment of later life.

In the case of staying home and independent,planning for our living space in older age is of course not a new concept although there can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach to deal with the many requirements of individuals with different levels of health and abilities, as well as preferences for a particular lifestyle. There is a range of ‘fixes’ that can be considered to help maintain good quality of life, from small to medium ‘tweaks’ like adjusting the height of work surfaces ,installing better handle design for easier opening of doors and windows; also making more open living spaces for wheelchair access, for instance.At the other end of the range, there is the complete design-build always ‘fit for purpose’ living space. This looks to provide a living place in which to age, with practical comfort and aesthetics in mind.

Such a space should be able to function so as to enable both the able in mind and body and the disabled to co-habit in comfort and style.This latter of course is the holy grail,as it were, of planning for later life, and is often referred to as Universal (accessible )design which produces a broad range of practical ideas to incorporate in buildings and environments making them inherently accessible to people regardless of age. This helps at a social level so that the more elderly do not find themselves marginalised in their own homes and they can continue to enjoy the society of younger people.

Universal design was the brainchild of an architect who was himself confined to a wheelchair.His idea is a place to start a conversation about future living.It is a wide subject. You can start your own conversation with a quick start guide to learning how to live comfortably and with independence. Startling statistics from AgeUK tell us that the number of people over 65 in community-based care and support at home is falling rapidly in the UK. This is seen to be a trend working entirely against our wishes.It is time we all prepared better for our care in old age if we wish to  be where we want to be and not allow ourselves to end up in places not of our choosing. Aging in a Palace is a slim volume but a good read. It may be laced with many questions and few specific and detailed solutions, but it is thought provoking.

Could downsizing your property give you a new lease of life?

Chastleton House

At a time when much debate in the UK centres on insufficient housing to cater for the needs of a burgeoning population,encouraging downsizing by older people to make way for buyers of a younger generation is again being put forward as part of a solution.

Apparently,according to the Prudential, more than 2m homeowners over the age of 55 and over plan to downsize in the next few years.Another report suggests that downsizing could release upto £100,000 cash from the average property sale in the UK (in London this figure could be as much as £275,000).

So why and why now?

Homeowners have for many years felt trapped in the economic recession but they are now becoming more confident about the future and making a major lifestyle move. For many, the sale of a current property means:

-more appropriate living space as needs change in older age
-having more disposable cash perhaps to distribute to family
-help to ‘make ends meet’ in retirement,
-being able to spend on holidays and travel
-funds to secure long term care.

Most of those in the Prudential survey said that cash released by selling the equity in their property would be used to fund their later life.

Restricted physical mobility, high property maintenance and refurbishment costs,the ever increasing utility prices for gas,water and electricity are just some of the drivers for downsizing according to the website downsizingdirect .com

This trend to downsizing is is seen by many commentators as good for the general property market, freeing-up housing for those finding it difficult to step onto the property ownership ladder.Some feel it may also lead to the building of new developments to suit an ageing population where services and the benefits of community will provide greater fulfilment and quality of life.

The strong message seems to be for those looking to downsize is to seek appropriate professional financial advice. It is important to have a realistic expectation of what a sale will yield, and what will be left after all the costs of selling,buying a another home, and moving have been factored into the mix.

Have you had recent experience in this?Do let me know.




When are you too old to have ambition?


Tercera edad

Dame Joan Bakewell,the cultural broadcaster and writer once dubbed ‘the thinking man’s crumpet’ by the late Frank Muir, has suggested that elderly people would be far happier if they eschewed ambition,giving-up on ‘winning’, and lived more content with their lot. At a recent gathering at the Hay-on-Wye Festival, she also added, on the other hand, that a person in old age needed a sense of purpose when pursuing careers, caring for young family, and keeping one’s remaining friends, cease to play a crucial part in life.Old age she felt was like a ‘country’, where its inhabitants were generally excluded,depressed, and lonely.

The ‘country’ of old age

This for me this raises the age-old question : when does one reach the frontier of this awful country thus described? It is rather like measuring the proverbial piece of string.One arbitrary line, like the current official retirement age in the UK, for instance is not appropriate for the well being of all people reaching it, if strictly applied. Dame Joan believes that at the age of 81 she is reaching that frontier. For others of differing states of health, level of skills, including social, and lifestyle needs, the step into old age may be much nearer, or perhaps further away. I do like the idea, though, of conducting a later life that minimises anxiety so often the result of living with rivalry.

Where I have difficulty is defining ambition. One person’s ambition maybe to do more for others; another to write poetry or a novel, or perhaps simply just to do do something different, and have different interests from an earlier life.This kind of ambition is to be encouraged in my book.

Look for a sense of purpose

Whilst, the country of old age for many may seem a very bleak place, unless you can rest content on your laurels in the comfort of a life well lived, Dame Joan does see how this can change. Life can still be wonderful and fulfilling. With some adjustment of their goals, the elderly can still have a sense of purpose for the rest of their lives.

Old age is no longer a place of willing submissiveness

To help people with the necessary life changes, she advocates official help with the appointment of a ‘commissioner’ for the old, charged with looking after their special interests.The old now have significant political power, she says,’old age is no longer a place of willing submissiveness.’  People in later life now expect more from their later life.

What do you think?Your comments would be most welcome.


Have you voted for government to keep its hands-off your pensioner benefits?

Senior Couple Watching TV At Home

The Conservative party has pledged to consign the possible granting of state pension increases so small as to be meaningless ,to the political dustbin by confirming the retention of the ‘triple lock’ guarantee for state pension increases post-2015 ,if re-elected. No sooner had this political football been punctured than murmurings were to be heard from other political quarters threatening to remove the following pensioners’ non-means tested benefits :

– free tv licence fee for the over-75s

-winter fuel allowances

-bus passes

-free prescriptions and eye tests

It is true that there are some wealthy pensioners in the UK who could well fund these benefits for themselves. According to the Hands Off ! campaign, however,the high figures for usage point to a clear need for these benefits to be retained.It also says that the high level of unclaimed means tested benefits, for over 65s, clearly shows that means testing does not work.

“We have,for the first time,placed a value on the economic and social contribution that older people make to our society. In 2010,over 65s made an astonishing net contribution of £40 billion to the UK economy through,amongst other contributions,taxes, spending power,…” Lynne Berry, WRVS

Hands Off! also says,the recent period of austerity is seen as having hit hard the older as well as the younger generations in the nation.The risk of poverty in older people is said to be higher than for most other EU countries.

There have been a number of recent changes affecting pensioner benefits:

-the date for women’s pension retirement age brought forward

-state pensions linked to the lower measure of inflation (CPI)

-raised qualifying age for Winter fuel payments

-the freezing of personal allowances for over 4 million pensioners, expected to save the government £1bn by 2015.

“There are over 10 million people aged 65+ living in the UK. Two out of three believe that politicians see older people as a low priority. The ‘Hands Off’ campaign plans to change that.” Hands Off!”

An e-petition entitled ‘Hands off universal pensioner benefits’ has been created in order to influence government and parliament in the UK.

Sign-up today! The opportunity  to do so ends 10th May 2014

Budget 2014 gives pension savers from age 55 greater financial freedom.


Until now, successive governments had refused to deal with the unfairness of a regime of pension regulation which had resulted in many people having to settle for significantly reduced returns on their savings at retirement. The Budget of 2014 seeks to change all that.
Greater access to pension investment
Before the Budget changes, it was calculated that more than 100,000 pension savers retiring this year could lose out on £210 million from uncompetitive rates offered to holders of small retirement pots.Now,effective 27th March this year, small pots can now be cashed-in up to a value of £10,000,also the number of such pots held has been raised from two to three.
There are changes to the provisions relating to drawdown of your pension, both capped and flexible,increasing the amount of you can take out of these arrangements.
You can read here more about how this and other pension changes in the Budget may affect you.
400,000 people will have greater flexibility over their savings.From next year, 320,000 retirees with defined contribution pensions will benefit from greater choice over these plans.
Obtain good professional financial advice
In making the right decisions for you- an annuity may still be the best option for many – obtaining good financial advice is essential. The government has promised to help you obtain the guidance you need.

Have you planned your New Year Resolutions?


The old year has nearly gone

and many of us will go through that timeless ritual of seeing the New Year in with one or several resolutions. We will be in earnest.But how many of us will manage to keep any of those promises to ourselves or others?According to some estimate as few as 1 in 10 of us will manage to achieve this self inflicted goal.
So why do we fail? It seems straight forward enough when the idea of self improvement,or perhaps a worthy cause, is born on the wave of a rush of blood when the sentimentality of the waning year is upon us. Why don’t our resolutions work out?
These key questions, and others, are answered in an excellent book which also provides an easy to follow blueprint based on 12 good habit types…to read more

UK helpline for lonesome older people launched


Believing that there is a serious need in the UK for a new service to help pensioners who suffer from loneliness, Esther Ranzten of  That’s Life! fame has recently launched Silver Line. In these days of potential information overload, help in making the right links to appropriate resources for a disadvantaged section of our society would seem to be great idea.
Silver Line with some founder sponsors and ongoing public donations has set itself-up to act as a ‘befriending’ organisation which those in need of its services can access by telephone 24/7. Trained advisors will be on hand to provide free and confidential advice, and of course a comforting word.
0800 4 70 80 90
Of course, many older people of pension age are not lonely, in the sense that living alone they are unhappy with that condition. But for others, there will be that constant debilitating feeling of being left adrift from mainstream society.This feeling of no longer having purpose in life with no tangible contact with other people may arise from from many causes. Perhaps the sudden lack of camaraderie provided by an active and busy workplace, little social interaction from enforced immobility from accident or illness, the lost contacts as family members move or pass away.
0800 4 70 80 90
The helpline advisers will help to point callers in the right direction for resources specific to a caller’s needs. That might be locating services in a local area provided by say, ageUK or the Royal Voluntary Service which can give further advice and offer companionship.
0800 4 70 80 90 
Many elderly people are not be prepared to admit they are lonely.They maybe too proud,or they may fear the prospect of inviting someone to ‘befriend’ them. Trained advisers will attempt to break down these issues,with security of the individual very much in mind.
The service of course requires public financial support, and there are opportunities to become a volunteer and an adviser to the cause. This may be just for you, if you now find  you have more time to spare and would like to help people in need.
0800 4 70 80 90
It these times, it seems to me that another such help link is to be welcomed. Some may feel they are being patronised. But from the TV and press coverage, and public reaction, to the announcement of the new service, it has been generally well received.
The founder,Esther Rantzen, was successful with the child line she set-up 27 years ago which now forms part of the NSPCC.
If you can bear the jingle when you go to the Silver Line website you will find the contact telephone details if you haven’t spotted them already in this post! Do let me have your views.