Sunday, 5 January 2014

Lunch with Age UK in Corbridge

Just before Christmas I met with Age UK, and attended a lunch organised by them in Corbridge for local residents. This year, I have also spent time with NHS consultants, university experts in Ageing Well from Newcastle University, and various locals who are pretty robust in their views. The 5 basic rules for combatting old age are very clear:

- Don’t smoke
- Keep your weight down
- Exercise
- Eat healthily
- Don’t drink too much

Millions of pounds of government money is spent trying to persuade people to adopt these basic tenets of life – but the message does not seem to be getting through.

But almost as important is the need to keep your brain active. This was a message received loud and clear from the Dominos session I had before Age UK’s lunch. I got soundly thrashed at Dominos by all 3 of my teammates [particularly the wonderful Sybille in the picture to my right], who outwitted me with great smiles and a winning way with Dominos. All of those present were active, living healthily, eating well at an Age UK hot lunch; indeed, many had walked to the Village Hall. They were doing all they could to lead a healthy lifestyle, keeping the brain active and fighting old age. Full credit and thanks to Age UK for inviting me, organising a delicious lunch and being such a great presence in our community.

One final point: the harsh fact is that two-thirds of people with dementia live in the community but studies show that sometimes less than half say that they feel part of their community. People with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives and feel included in their local community. Alzheimer’s Society wants one million people in England to have become a Dementia Friend by 2015. Dementia Friends gives people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do that can make a difference to people living with dementia - from helping someone find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia.

So for 2014 make one of your resolutions this: make sure you reach out to those who are on their own or of advanced years and be a friend to them.