Essential life advice from our best and wisest

Essential life advice from our best and wisest

Albert Einstein

Ever wondered what the recipe is to a long, healthy and happy life? Well, as it turns out, there isn’t a one size, fits all approach. In fact, the varying degrees of life advice from old people all around the world is a shining example of just how many options there are to live your best and most satisfying life.

Of course, some may be a little more unorthodox than others. From the late supercentenarian, Susannah Mushatt Jones – who attributed her 116 years of age down to a daily serving of bacon to Ephraim Engleman, the doctor who worked right up until 100 years of age, discounting the need for exercise, vitamins or “going to a lot of doctors, either.” There are all sorts of pearls of wisdom out there.

If you’re looking for life advice from those who’ve been there and done that? Keep reading…

Never give up on your dreams

Starting off with a proverbial bang – and it may sound incredibly cheesy – this is a classic piece of life advice. You may even be reading this with a resounding nod. Because, let’s face it, we’ve all pondered at some point what could have been if we had the confidence to really go for our dreams.

But the great news? It is never too late. Take 70-year-old Diana Nyad – the inspirational woman who overcame much adversity and – who, at the age of 64 years old became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage for protection. A key piece of life advice from Diana? “We should never ever give up; you’re never too old to chase your dreams.”

Need further proof? Great-grandmother, Georgina Harwood, decided to up the ante once becoming a certified centenarian. How so? By celebrating such an occasion with a skydive, shark dive and hike up Cape Town’s Table Mountain.

While we’re not suggesting that every dream needs to be of such a high calibre, it does shine a light on how at any age if you put your mind to it, you can achieve something you’ve always wanted to. As 75-year-old Motivational Speaker, Les Brown simply put, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

Try to keep active

One of the most sage pieces of life advice from those who’ve lived it and learned it is to keep moving. Whether it’s a walk, run or hike up a mountain, it can be crucial to living a longer life.

Studies show that exercise can boost life expectancy. It can also help you to age at a slower pace and live a healthier, more vigorous life. Further research also highlights that a lifetime of exercise can help to defy the ageing process. From an increased immunity and muscle mass to possessing cholesterol levels of a young person.

But it’s never too late to increase your steps and get moving.

An inspiring example of this is 99-year-old war veteran, Captain Sir Thomas Moore, who raised a staggering £15m for NHS staff after reaching his goal of walking 100 laps of his garden during the pandemic. Showing just how much our bodies are capable of when we put our minds to it, it highlights that even in the most unprecedented and challenging of times, it’s important to keep going.

As the late Susan O’Malley – author of the 2016 book Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self – found when compiling an abundance of essential life advice from older people, it’s important to “appreciate your body, especially when it’s working.

Think positive thoughts

Studies show that those who employ a greater sense of optimism are more likely to live longer and achieve something called “exceptional longevity” What does that mean exactly? Living to age 85 or older. Interested? The study also highlighted that people who had the highest optimism scores had a lifespan of roughly 9% longer than people with lower scores.

With an exceptional amount of negativity seemingly suffocating us at times, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of optimism or a general expectation that good things will happen, but the benefits speak for themselves.

From the ability “to regulate emotions and behaviour and bounce back from stress and difficulties more easily,” the research also showed that optimistic people tended to have healthier habits which could extend their lifespan.

One way to try and inject some instant positivity? Take a leaf out of Dr Manfred Diehl’s book. As a professor of human development and family studies at Colorado State University, his focus lies on successful and healthy ageing. Try these positive emotion exercises to kick things into optimistic gear

Make the best use of your time

This can be tricky because if you’ve reached a certain time in your life, you may not be sure of the best way to utilise your time. Old habits and lifelong commitments can pose a problem. If that’s the case, how do you go about changing this? Confused? Great. That’s an excellent place to start.

The first step in assessing how to make the best use of your time is to see what else you’re dealing with, right? So, pick up an organiser, jot down all the activities, events and commitments you’ve signed up to and see what you’re left with. The rest is down to you.

That’s not to say it will be an easy task. With so many distractions around us, life can be, well truly and utterly exhausting. But the good thing is that you get to decide which path you want to go down. Whatever it may be, from picking up a new hobby, meeting new people or making adjustments to your home life, it’s important to set goals and work in ways in which you can achieve these.

85-year-old, world-class record-breaker athlete, Flo Meiler is a great example of this. Deciding to take up track and field at the age of 60, after watching the pole vaulting competition at the Senior Olympics, she had a thought, “They weren’t pole vaulting very high. And I said to myself, you know, I think that I could do better than that.”

Not into Pole Vaulting? No problem. Find out what you want to do with your time and take the necessary steps to make it happen. Channel Flow when you channel life advice. Why not you? Why not anyone? Life is what you make it, after all.

Take time for yourself, every day

From social commitments to home life and everything else that sits in between, the day can come and go without you even taking a moment’s thought for yourself. But it’s important to slow it down and schedule in some “you time” every day. Why? The benefits speak for themselves.

Not only can it refresh and re-energize your mind and body, but it can also improve your self-esteem and give you a more improved sense of purpose over time. And don’t ever let age put you off indulging in “you time”, as well as remembering that self-care can come in many forms – even in the way you get dressed every day.

As Albert Einstein once famously said, “I have reached an age where if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.”

It’s important to remember that taking time for yourself isn’t a competition and doesn’t always have to be a huge new venture. Sometimes it’s a moment to put your feet up, pop on your favourite guilty pleasure, whether it’s a TV show, song or opening up a chapter in a book. You may even decide to sink into a luxurious bubble bath. That may very well be the best use of your “you time” at that moment.

Embrace your individuality

Hands up. How many of us have spent time questioning our identity? Our quirks, our habits, our emotions, behaviours and thoughts? We thought so.

Embracing your individuality and owning yourself is largely about acceptance. And it can often be a struggle to get there. But it’s important to know that it’s not just about accepting and loving the parts you like and admire about yourself. It’s also to do with the parts you may not be so keen on. The parts that you worry might hold you back or stop you from achieving what you think it is you might want.

It can be a long road but a crucial piece of life advice is that once you stop focusing on your perceived weaknesses and instead realise that these are the exact things that make you the complex, unique and wonderful individual you are, the more fulfilled and rich your life will be.

Take it from 77-year old food writer and broadcaster turned artist and curator, Sue Kreitzman.

“The things that make you unique, the things your mother wants to change about you, the things that make you so different from those you go to school with, are the very things that will bring you success, happiness and a modicum of real fame. The things that will make a difference to the world. The things that will give you a richly textured and deeply happy life.

You are not weird, you are actually quite special. Keep it up, do not swerve from your ideals, and…do not despair!”

Stay connected: help your parents be more tech-savvy

Stay connected: help your parents be more tech-savvy

iWatch

Caring for an older parent or relative can be an incredibly rewarding experience that brings you closer together. It can also be a very challenging experience in today’s busy, non-stop world.

Most carers are juggling family life, work and other commitments. This means they don’t always have time to fully be there for their older parents. In the UK, there are roughly 4.27 million carers who are also of working age. 1 in 5 carers has had to give up their job in order to care for a loved one. One thing that can really help both the old and young in this situation is technology.

How can technology help?
Voice recognition assistants and software, wearables, virtual services and even robots are all making things easier for the older population, helping them to live longer, more independent lives. This not only improves life for older people but can also make your responsibilities as a carer more manageable.

By staying more digitally connected to friends and family, older parents are also less likely to be affected by the growing loneliness problem faced by their demographic. In the UK alone, over 1.2 million older people are chronically lonely. This is as a result of living on their own and not being in contact with family and friends on a regular basis. Over 17% of older people are in touch with family and friends less than once a week while 11% are in contact less than monthly.

While grasping new technology may seem challenging for more senior members of society, teaching your parents how to use it could provide tremendous benefits. Just as there are a lot of things older parents can do for you, there’s a lot you can teach them, and that includes new technology.

Here are some new pieces of tech that could improve living for your older parent(s).

Online services
If mobility is an issue for your parent, then signing them up to an online platform that provides virtual checkups and appointments could be life-changing. These days, everything from doctor’s appointments to ordering transport and arranging deliveries can be done online, from the comfort of one’s home. Services like GP at hand and  Push Doctor  make doctors’ appointments accessible to those with limited mobility. Similarly, Simple Online Pharmacy can deliver prescriptions directly to their doorstep, eliminating the need for frequent trips to the local pharmacy.

Voice-activated software
Voice-activated software is a huge boon for older adults who no longer want to be fussing about with complicated remotes and confusing interfaces. A simple voice command can turn on the telly, even turn on the TV, lights even the coffee maker. Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo Plus with Alexa built-in and the Google Home and assistant are leading the pack but many other solutions are coming on the market. The Wink Hub 2 is another great option if you want to integrate everything from your light switches to your kitchen appliances.

Robot companions
While the term ‘robot’ might read a little uncomfortable to some, there are many companies looking to harness the more positive aspects of AI and smart systems to help more vulnerable people. Some have even created smart companions that don’t look anything like ‘robots’ and have a more lifelike feel. The therapeutic Paro, an adorable fluffy seal helps those with dementia and even Hasbro has created artificially live cats and dogs that will keep you company. EllieQ is one of the latest to be developed that helps dispel feelings of loneliness.

Wearable tech
As we get older, keeping track of our health, especially (on a daily basis) becomes so much more important. Smart devices such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit can help an older parent keep tabs on their general health in a way that’s quantifiable and real. These devices make it easy to set goals like amounts of steps taken every day or number of glasses of water. Even quality of sleep can be tracked.

Personal alarms
If there’s one technology you should definitely look at investing in if you’re concerned about an older parent being on their own at home, it’s a personal alarm. With just a click of a button, your parent could get in touch with emergency services if they were ever in a critical situation. Companies like SureSafe and LifeLine24 offer these kinds of alarms and services. Most systems can be installed hassle-free and be integrated with their smartphone.

Further to this, here are some tips and tricks for helping older parents get used to new technologies.

Have patience
While this may go without saying, it can be easy to get impatient when teaching our older parents how to use technology. Tap here, swipe up, press this button – it’s not always as obvious to get on the first try as we think! Being patient will keep them coming back to you for more help and advice (instead of going to someone else).

Take it one step at a time
You may be tempted when teaching your parents about tech to load them up with tons of apps, features or to get them using shortcuts straight away. But doing too much all at once could be overwhelming. By focusing on one small thing at a time, they’ll gradually become more confident and adept with using new technology.

Consider what’s best for them (not you)
Remember, you and your parent(s) are likely very different. What works for you won’t always work for them. Instead of forcing them to use tech that you prefer, try seeing it from their point of view. Ask yourself what’s going to work for them rather than just for you. Also, ask yourself what they may be happier with.

Make instructions accessible
One of the easiest ways to teach your parents about new tech is to create a tutorial for them. This could be a video you upload to a private YouTube channel (you could even do a screencast for them) or something a little more familiar to them, like written instructions. 

With these tips and tricks, your older parent should be off to a flying start when using their new tech. It might also open up a whole new world of things they could do while enjoying the peace of retirement.

5 Trendy Accessible Bathroom Ideas for 2019

5 Trendy Accessible Bathroom Ideas for 2019

The term ‘accessible bathroom’ may conjure up a dull and off-putting image of clunky bathroom aids and a clinical appeal but luckily, that is no longer the case. Thanks to modern design, accessible bathrooms can have can be just as trendy as any other bathroom and be perfectly safe and easy for everyone to use.

At Mobility Plus, we don’t believe you need to sacrifice style in order to achieve a bathroom that is practical and suits your mobility needs. That’s why we’ve put together 5 ideas to help you make your bathroom an attractive haven while making it fit for purpose.

Minimalistic tiles

A key bathroom design trend in 2019 is minimalism: clean and uncluttered spaces with flourishes of character that create a calm oasis to help you to unwind. You can achieve this look easily by selecting some chic minimalistic tiles that will instantly update your bathroom’s look and feel. There are plenty of options to explore, from classic monochrome to vintage-inspired patterns. Have a look at our selection of minimalistic tiling trends for some ideas. Meanwhile, by choosing non-slip floor tiles, you’ll be adding an essential safety feature to prevent bathroom falls.

Stylish walk-in bath

Everyone likes a good soak in the tub to unwind and relax, and walk-in baths enable everyone to enjoy this simple pleasure without having to worry about mobility restrictions. Our range of walk-in baths come in different sizes and styles so that you can pick one that suits your space and your eye for design. Match your chosen walk-in bath with a modern, neutral palette, or make a statement with striking design features like art deco mirrors and bold wall tiles.

Modern wet room

Gone are the days of having to awkwardly step into a bathtub to have a shower. Wet rooms – bathrooms with showers on the same level as the floor – are the ultimate way to bring your bathroom space up to date while making it accessible. Not only are they perfect for all ages, but they also help to maximise limited space while giving your bathroom a contemporary minimalistic vibe. Our walk-in showers and wet rooms also offer foldaway seats and discreet handrails for the ultimate feeling of comfort and safety.

Wall-hung sink

Bathroom sinks mounted to the wall without cupboards underneath are perfect for everybody to use, including those who need wheelchair access. It can also be fixed at a height that suits your particular needs. Go for a classic marble design that will stand the test of time or a contemporary white sink with a rustic wood counter. Installing a single tap will make it easier to control the water temperature, and you can add a stylish feel by going for a chrome, nickel, or brass finishing. Complete the look by adding a stunning mirror that opens up the space and gives the whole bathroom a sleek and modern vibe.

Space efficient and accessible storage

If you are limited on space in your bathroom, there are plenty of smart storage options to optimise the room you do have, while incorporating style. Wall mounted cupboards or shelves fixed to your desired height are practical, accessible, and space-efficient. Adding a floating vanity that is easy to access and fits all your essentials also perfectly marries form with function. Select a style that you like: go modern and minimalist with classic white or add a touch of warmth with rustic wood or hues of your favourite colour. These storage options will help you keep your bathroom tidy and organised, while the floating options will make it easier to clean.

With so many different interior design options available for your bathroom, there are plenty of opportunities to inject your personal style and contemporary design into your new bathroom, while making it accessible and safe for everyone.

How to Make the Most of Your Garden in Older Age

How to Make the Most of Your Garden in Older Age

In the UK, there are around 27 million people who partake in gardening. It’s never too late to take up this wonderful hobby. It’s something you can continue to enjoy as you get older and even when you begin to experience a few lifestyle changes. Regardless of any restrictions, you may have, you can modify your garden to suit your needs while still being able to express yourself.

Gardening as you get older
One of the great things about gardening is it is a hobby that can be easily adapted as you get older. From the type of plants you grow to the tools you use; you can change the way you do things to make garden maintenance easier. Here are a few useful tips to consider:

Opt for lighter tools
Expert Alexandra Campbell recommends ‘Using the new generation of lighter tools. New technology means that tools can be light, but still strong.’ You can also buy tools specially made for those with mobility issues.

Table top planting and raised beds
Another option is to consider table top planting and growing plants that can be cared for at a higher level, which means less bending over. One of the most common ways older people modify their garden to suit their requirements is to have raised beds. These can obviate the need to bend, crouch and, more importantly for some, get up from a kneeling position.

Listen to your body
The key here is not to do too much. Know your limits and enjoy your hobby as and when you can manage it.

Gardening keeps you active
There is no doubt that continuing to exercise regularly as you get older offers some great benefits. It decreases the likelihood of deterioration of mind and body. It has been shown to delay the onset of many conditions, including arthritis. Some minor modifications might be required, but these need not impinge on your ability to enjoy your pastime while still being creative.

It’s no surprise that communities who are famed for living longer have gardening in common, with some individuals gardening well into their 80’s and 90’s.

What effect does gardening have on your wellbeing?
Remaining active is not the only advantage of gardening as you get older. It nourishes the mind as well as the body and has been proven to reduce stress. A Harvard study found that people surrounded by lush greenery lived longer. Did you know that simply gazing at green plants can lift your mood?

Studies have also found that those who do gardening regularly have a 36% lower risk of dementia than those who don’t. Pottering about with a trowel is wonderful for the person holding it, as well as the plants.

The feeling of connecting with nature is one that increases as the year progresses. The bulbs you plant late one year are there the following spring. You feed the plants and they feed your mind and body and, perhaps, even your soul.

It’s why many people get into gardening when they retire because it offers a new and rewarding focus. There’s something very therapeutic about growing and nurturing living things, and the creativity that goes with maintaining a beautiful backyard.

How gardening can help you meet new people
There is a community spirit between gardeners, both online and in clubs and meetings. If you prefer meeting like-minded people face to face, then most garden centres will have advice and help for those needing to either change their methods of gardening or take up the hobby in later life. Many provide classes where you can bounce ideas off people just like you, as well as provide mutual help.

Despite the image given on television of a person dallying about in a potting shed, gardening can be very social, but only if you want it to be. If you want to explore the social side of gardening, have a look to see if there are any local groups you can join.

You can also meet up with friends who share your passion and discuss gardening tactics, perhaps over coffee or whilst shopping for new plants and tools. If it’s online advice and support you’re after, Age UK has some handy resources including tips from TV experts and fellow enthusiasts.

The benefits of creating your own fresh produce
A packet of seeds is very cheap. Tend to their needs and your reward will be a blaze of colour in the spring. Or, if your enthusiasm moves you more towards vegetables, you will have the added bonus of being able to eat your own produce straight from the plants. It doesn’t get tastier than that.

Furthermore, you can enjoy the fruits of your labour knowing they’ve been grown fresh, in your garden, with no nasties or chemicals used. One of the main health benefits is the food retains more nutrients and vitamins, as it’s not been transported and stored. Plus, spending some time outdoors will ensure you get a healthy dose of vitamin D (just make sure you wear sun cream to protect your skin).

The Importance of Being a Grandparent

The Importance of Being a Grandparent

grandparents

Grandparents often possess a great deal of knowledge and wisdom and are often considered the “wise owls” of the family. Whether they are sharing long lost stories from the past or giving advice you just cannot get anywhere else – the lessons from grandparents can be priceless.

A child-grandparent relationship can be fundamental in youth development and family life, we must do all that we can to improve healthy longevity for older generations. We’ve compiled just some of the ways that grandparents can offer so much, and what can be done to appreciate their presence long into the future.

1. Models for healthy relationships

Not only do grandparents bring purpose, optimism, and laughter into the family, but they also provide unconditional love and provide a role model figure for grandchildren – an unbreakable bond that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

From a grandchild’s perspective, a healthy relationship with a grandparent that offers intimacy and emotional support helps them to experience what a positive relationship should look like. In order to reap the benefits of having grandparents close for as long as possible, there are ways to take care of your health and well-being to ensure you live long into old age and make the most of time with your loved ones.

Encouraging a healthy relationship with a grandparent makes it easier to help each other out, particularly considering all that they’ve done for others. When we feel close, we feel comfortable asking one another for some assistance.

Asking a younger member of the family to help around the house, complete daily tasks and run errands is a great way of maintaining a lifelong relationship that gives both us and them an enormous sense of self-worth.

2. Advice-givers for new parents

Grandparents have years of life experience behind them – from being teenagers themselves to experiencing the joys and challenges of parenthood, relationships and so on. Asking older members for advice can give a new perspective, whilst also making them feel valued and appreciated.

Particularly during tough moments, grandparents can offer an extra ear or provide security for grandchildren and parents. They are vital in raising the youth of today, particularly those that are close enough to their children and grandchildren to act as an occasional carer or babysitter. This can be a great comfort for many parents as they know that they are leaving their children in capable hands and offers a trustworthy source of counsel.

3. Narrators of family history

Grandparents can be better seen as our very own personal historians. Their years of wisdom means that they are instrumental in teaching values to younger generations, instilling the heritage of different cultures and passing on the age-old tradition of storytelling.

It is important to reap the benefit of grandparents while we still can – asking them as many questions as possible, sitting, listening and reminiscing their tales of a time gone by. Children get a better understanding of who they are and where they come from, thanks to valuable connections with their grandparents.

With the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s affecting more than half a million people in the UK, spending time and inquiring about their lives works wonders for improving brain function among older members of the family.

4. Intergenerational teachers

Keeping grandparents in the loop of family affairs gives them a sense of purpose and well-being that cannot be underestimated. For grandchildren, they can be seen as a means of intergenerational learning, as they are often removed from the strain of discipline and parenting. In other words, they are fantastic stress relievers.

Having fun with grandparents can work wonders in improving a grandchild’s healthy development far into their lives. They are some of the best partners for fostering imagination and creativity – and in turn, love the role they have.

As grandparents grow older and less mobile, encouraging them to stay active does them the world of good. Whether that’s going for a morning at the local swimming pool followed by some coffee and a cake with a member of the family, or treating them to their very own walk-in bath installation at home – there are so many ways to make things easier so that we can enjoy our time together for as long as possible.

Why is connecting with your neighbours important?

Why is connecting with your neighbours important?

With the risk to your heart similar to years of smoking, isn’t it time we took more action to combat loneliness? We uncover how feeling alone can impact your health and why turning to your neighbours can help you to feel more connected.

loneliness

Loneliness is an increasing problem with society today. And, it unfortunately, doesn’t get easier with age. Roughly one in five people in the UK feel lonely each day. With around one in ten adults having no close friends to talk to, it’s easy to feel isolated.

Whether you’ve moved to a new area, live alone, or your friends have passed away, feeling alone isn’t uncommon. As we get older, making new friends can seem like an impossible task. Yet, it isn’t as difficult as it may appear.

One way to make new friends and immerse yourself in your local community is to reach out to your neighbours. You’ll appreciate the opportunity to talk about your day, discover any updates in your local area, and create a comfortable safety net when you need it most. A small step outside of your comfort zone could have huge benefits for your health.

What causes loneliness?

Loneliness is a complex emotion that is unique to each individual as a direct response to feeling isolated.  There isn’t one singular cause to loneliness, yet there are common factors that can trigger this unpleasantness.

How old you are, whether you live in a city or village and your overall health are contributing aspects that can influence loneliness.

As this low state of mind takes over, it can actually cause your health to get worse. Studies have shown that health problems such as heart disease and strokes can occur as a result of loneliness. With the feeling of isolation having a similar risk as smoking for heart disease, it’s time to act now.

Why can connecting with your neighbour’s help?

Moving home to a new area where you don’t know a lot of people or living alone makes it harder to connect with others during your day. Making new friends can feel next to impossible. It can be a daunting experience to join a new club or to spark a conversation with a stranger at the supermarket. Yet, the opportunity to make new friends could be easier and closer to home than you think.

Reaching out to your neighbours is just what you need. It’s a great chance to make new friends, whether it be speaking about your day or learning about the updates in your local community. And your mind will be grateful you did.

If you’re unsure on how to start the connection, why not take over a baked cake (or bought) or invite them around for a cup of tea one afternoon. They’ll appreciate you making the effort and your kind gesture will be rewarded in no time.

Your neighbours are in walking distance and are probably having the same feelings as you are. And you never know, it could spur a fluttering friendship.

What are the benefits of reaching out to your neighbours?

Connecting with your neighbours is a great first step towards building a happier and healthier life. With blossoming new friendships, you’ll have a great outlet of communication for everything that’s on your mind. And a connected society means you’ll grow a close-knit community and each help to combat loneliness.

How else can you meet new people?

Reaching out to your neighbours isn’t the only way to meet new people in your local area. You can join a sports club, start a new hobby or even sign up to an online project like the Campaign to End Loneliness.

Taking the first step is always the hardest part, but once you do, you’ll love the rewards. So, why not take a leap of faith today? Spark a conversation with your neighbours about their holiday plans, local delicacies or your hobbies. For more ways to connect with new people and give your life a renewed sense of purpose, you can read our article on tips to making your life easier here.

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