‘Start preparing at 50 for old age’

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MIDDLE-AGED people should be given detailed guidance when they reach 50 to help them face up to dealing with ageing, a coalition of campaign groups has claimed today.

The Ready for Ageing Alliance sets out a 11-point prescription to help people prepare for later life including keeping fit, eating healthy foods and planning ahead.

It argues individuals need access to advice, services and opportunities for learning, as well as a series of rights.

The group is calling for the creation of a Ready for Later Life pack, which would signpost people at the age of 50 to additional information and advice on preparing for ageing.

Alliance spokesman David Sinclair said: “We should all take responsibility for ageing well.

“But if we are to keep active, it is important to ensure there are services available to help us do so.

“If we want people to continue to be engaged as older workers or volunteers, we must end ageism.

“At the age of 50, everyone should be sent a sent a Ready for Later Life pack, signposting them to information and advice on preparing for ageing.”

The eight-strong group, which includes representatives from Age UK, the Alzheimer’s Society, Carers UK, Independent Age and the York-based Joseph Rowntree Foundation, makes a number of recommendations.

These include keeping fit, which it says most people could do better.

It urges people to start saving for their old age as young as possible and pay off their debts.

The alliance goes on to call on people to stop or cut down on smoking and to eat a healthy balanced diet, keep hydrated and avoid drinking too much alcohol.

It warns too many people fail to plan for the future although it admits planning for old age is difficult as “few of us expected to suffer ill health, bereavement or a job loss”.

It adds: “A little thinking about how we respond to these challenges can make for a better old age.”

The group said isolation and loneliness in old age hit “far too many people” but maintaining or creating friendships was vital as people aged.

It also said many people needed to adapt their homes, with many becoming too big or no longer suited to older people’s needs.

The alliance said older people also needed to keep their minds active and to use new technology if they could.

People should also talk about ageing, which “should be seen as a positive experience”, with retirement a time of “getting out more, taking more exercise, eating better, giving up smoking and making new friends”.