IT WAS not long ago that getting older was thought of as a “retirement”, a time to slow down and withdraw, but times are changing and these days growing older need not mean “getting old”.
Boandik chief executive officer Gillian McGinty said making positive changes early is the key to living life with zest as you age.
“That’s why we’re out and about this month with our five minute zest stop, people can drop in and find out about the many services available to support a positive lifestyle,” she said.
“Some people put off accessing aged care services as they start to get older, because they don’t want to think about getting old, but with the right support in place early you can keep living the life you want to for longer.”
A retired nurse and midwife, 86-year-old Muriel Margetson is still living life to the full.
Making the move to Boandik a number of years ago with her late husband, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, she now lives independently in her own cottage, with help on hand from Boandik’s community living services.
“I have a cleaner once a fortnight and a decent amount of garden with 60 roses to care for, so it helps not to have to worry about the cleaning,” she said.
Ms Margetson credits a positive attitude, keeping active and connection with others as the key to living well.
“Being in touch with other people and with the outside world – that’s what keeps me young and it is why I go and visit people who can’t get out and about as easily as me,” she said.
“There are 250 volunteers here – people who care about people – and they do great work helping people to keep their lifestyle going with craft sessions, music and more.”
Ms Margetson said it was important to understand that older people are still people and many have lived great lives and often done some very important things.
“We still take in the whole world, we’re still interested in people and what they do and we hope people are iterested in us, what we have done and what we’re still doing,” she said.
Alongside volunteering and gardening, Ms Margetson also takes classes at the University of the 3rd Age, keeps in touch with friends at home and abroad, assisted by her iPad, and crochets blankets for her growing family of seven great grandchildren – with two more on the way.
And she still fits in a weekly game of badminton.
“I’m not as fast as I used to be, but I still get the shots in and I still enjoy it,” she said.
“My husband could still play up to the week before he went into full-time care, with a little help.
“Even with Alzheimer’s he could still play, it’s one of the things he could still do really well, what they call a splinter skill.
“A lot of the things recommended to prevent Alzheimer’s – a good diet, exercise, learning things – they are just part of living.
“Make the most of the lifestyle you have and enjoy every day.”
Now known as Zest Fest, Boandik will be out and about during Seniors Month with its five-minute zest stop, popping up between 10am and 2pm at Mount Gambier Marketplace tomorrow and 10am to 2pm at Mount Gambier Central next Thursday.
“It really only takes five minutes to start planning to keep your lifestyle vibrant and active as you get older,” Ms McGinty said.
“At our zest stop, everyone is welcome to stop for an energy boost with some fun exercises and learn about the lifestyle services on offer.
“There’s a huge range of services available to support positive ageing, including home services, social groups, independent living and residential care.”