How to live and thrive over 65
IT IS a sobering fact that slightly more than one in five Queenslanders (17.8%) over 65 have a mental health or behavioural problem.
And the statistic, provided to Seniors by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, comes as no surprise to Professor John Lowe, head of school and sports sciences at Sunshine Coast University.
"We have to look at what's happening as we age, how previously healthy life styles have changed and how social, working and living environments have also changed," he told Seniors.
"The three main components of mental wellbeing and healthy living are physical activity, cognitive ability, nutrition and they are all related.
"When someone says to me, 'What's the one thing I can do to maintain my cognitive and physical functions?' I say get out and walk with somebody. Walk and talk, it's really that simple go for a walk and talk about whatever you want.
"You don't have to jog or go to the gym to get fit."
Professor Lowe said a diet to include fruit and vegetables made a lot of sense.
"When you are young and your metabolism is high, you can get away with not eating the perfect diet because you are more physically active.
"Unfortunately, as our taste begins to change and our desire for comfort food increases there is a spiral down to less activity, more energy dense food and less socialisation.
"Nowadays it's being made easier for individuals who don't have a spouse, or a spouse that doesn't want to cook, to go to Coles or Woollies, get a steam pack of vegies and throw it in the microwave.
"It's maybe not as good as a fresh lot but it's better than saying 'I'm just going to have a snag night'."
Professor Lowe also believes in older people sharing skills and expertise, like helping a neighbour, volunteering with community groups or mentoring a younger person.
"That's why grandparents are great with grandkids, helping them with school work."