'It's up to us how well we can age': letter

A TIP for your Fraser Coast readers: there is no time like the present to think about tomorrow. And don't wait until you're 70 to age healthily because the process of ageing well, starts much earlier.

Ageing is a process that occurs throughout our lives, and healthy ageing refers to experiencing optimal health across the lifespan.

While there are some factors we can't change, like age, gender, race and sexuality, there are things we can do throughout our lives that can provide benefits now and well into the future.

The things we can change include the amount of physical activity we do, the food we eat, how much we socialise, whether we smoke cigarettes, or if we drink too much alcohol.

Healthy ageing is more than just being in good physical health.

It is about your overall well-being, including your mental health.

There are also external factors that affect our ageing journeys, such as the access we have to education and health services and other socio-economic and environmental conditions.

As a community we need to work together to promote healthy behaviours to those around us, and policymakers and practitioners need to play a key role with this.

The decisions we make about our lifestyle behaviours now will impact us in the future.

Physical activity plays an important part in ensuring our health as we age and is a cheap, achievable and accessible way to have a massive impact on both our mental and physical health.

To be in the best possible health, it is to exercise however and whenever you can. There is a large gap between indigenous and non-indigenous health in older people. Indigenous people experience dementia at three times the rate of non-indigenous and have a much shorter life expectancy. We need to work together to improve health outcomes across the lifespan with indigenous people.

CQUniversity has launched new postgraduate programs that are designed to upskill health professionals in the fields of ageing and dementia. Programs are offered as graduate certificates and graduate diplomas.

For more details visit www.cqu.edu.au/study2017.

SUSAN HUNT,

Healthy ageing researcher,

CQUniversity


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