Professor Browning has a PhD from La Trobe University and is recognised as a national and international leader in psychology and health with a special focus on healthy ageing. She is also an Honorary Professor at Australian National University.
Nowadays, we are living longer than any previous generation and, for many people, old age is a positive period in their lives. In Australia, older people have benefited from a good quality health system and many are entering old age healthier than their parents did. However, many of us will age with chronic illnesses such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, sensory loss, mental health issues or cognitive impairment.
The majority of the health problems we experience as we get older are affected by our lifestyle. Living well in old age means we need to understand how our lifestyle affects our health and wellbeing as we age.
Remaining physically active, eating and sleeping well, having satisfying social relationships, and managing stress are all areas that we can tackle with the support of our family, friends, and health and aged care professionals.
It is important that we continue to find meaning in life as we age.
- What makes us get up in the morning?
- Are there hobbies that we would like to pursue?
- Is volunteering something that would give us pleasure?
Activities help keep our minds working well, and it’s never too late to learn something new.
Talk it out
Don’t be afraid to talk to your family about your concerns and plan how to address these worries. There is a range of community services that can help you improve your health and wellbeing. Community care professionals can help you to choose the right mix of services for you.
See the signs
Despite our best efforts to age well, age can creep up on us. Ask yourself these questions and see if they ring true to you.
- Am I finding it harder to do everyday tasks such as preparing meals or going shopping?
- Is it taking longer to recover from a cold or infection?
- Do I have fewer social engagements to go to? Or, is a difficulty in moving around stopping me from attending social activities?
- Do I feel unmotivated to eat well or take care of my appearance?
If you’re answering ‘yes’ to these questions, or you think a loved one would answer ‘yes’, it might be time to seek help. With action from you and the support of your family, friends and health and community services, you can manage these changes and improve your quality of life.
"Growing old doesn’t mean an inevitable decline in health and wellbeing. Working with your health and community care providers can assist you to age well.” – Professor Browning"