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Living Longer, Living Better - September Newsletter

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Happy Spring friends!

Welcome back to the monthly Navigate newsletter - providing you with updates, tips and actionable advice that aims to help you and your loved ones on your aged care journey. Grab your cuppa tea and a snack. Let’s dive in…

September might just be my favourite month of the year. It marks the end of a cool and cosy winter and the start of warmer days with lunches outside in the sunshine. It’s the beginning of finals footy and the early days of a vibrant flower-filled garden. It’s far enough before Christmas that you’re not too busy, but has a subtle air of excitement to get outside and flourish again. It also happens to be my Grandma’s birthday, who has the wonderful privilege of turning 90 this year. For this reason, the theme I’ve chosen for September is ‘Living Longer, Living Better’.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a report in June 2023 that identified from 1967-2021, life expectancy increased by 13.7 years for males (to 81.3) and 11.2 years for females (to 85.4). During 2016-2018 Indigneous Australians life expectancy was 72 years for males and 77 years for females. What these statistics show us is that a) we have a long way to go in bridging the gap with First Nations healthcare and b) we are living increasingly longer. On the 26 August 2023, Catherina van der Linden turned 111 years old. She is believed to be the oldest living person in Australia today. Mrs van der Linden resides at Southern Cross Care’s West Beach Residential Care home in South Australia and shared three key messages for living a long and happy life…

  1. Be happy with yourself and be content with what life gives you”

  2. “You have to take the bad with the good as well and it’s possible to make living a joy”

  3. Keep moving, don’t sit still”

What I’m hearing from Mrs van der Linden that is echoed by many centenarians and backed by research, is that living longer is about much more than staying physically well, it’s equally about how we are mentally. ——————————————- Depression is increasingly prevalent in the elderly and is often difficult to recognise, as many symptoms can dismissed as regular ageing. The Black Dog Institute discuss that common depressive symptoms (such as a loss of interest in life, lack of enjoyment in normal activities, apprehension, poor sleep, persistent thoughts of death, chronic unexplained pain, poor concentration or impaired memory) are often incorrectly attributed to old age, dementia or poor health. The antidote to that… social connection. Longitudinal studies have found that being more socially connected reduces the risk of mortality, memory decline and depression. Professor Catherine Haslam from the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland argues that social ties ‘are vital to extending life, getting under our skin to buffer health and wellbeing, and build resilience in the face of the various challenges we encounter.’ You can read her full article here. So how can we apply this into our own lives and help our loved ones…? Small steps to increase connection can go a long way. A check in text each morning or a weekly chat with a neighbour can make a big difference to someones feeling of connection and value. Below are some simple ways to get more connected:

  • Social Groups - book club, gardening group, Seniors choir, U3A

  • Getting out in the community - shopping, appointments, exercise class

  • Family and Friends - regular contact and visits

  • Volunteering - local library, school groups, Meals on Wheels

  • Talking to a neighbour - small conversations can make big connections

I’ll be unpacking these themes in my September podcast episodes, which will be released on the 13th and 27th of September. The podcast is called ‘The Truth About Ageing’ and can be found in your favourite podcast app - Apple Podcasts, Spotify etc. In the meantime, if you want to listen to my ‘Healthy Habits’ series I’ve linked them below: Healthy Habits: Diet & Ageing - what we should be eating & drinking. Healthy Habits: Exercise & Ageing - how we should be moving our body. Healthy Habits: Sleep & Ageing - how to get the best rest. Healthy Habits: Mindfulness & Ageing - how we can boost wellbeing Thank you again for being part of the Navigate club. I hope you and your families are well and that you can soak up this beautiful sunshine. I hope you have a wonderful September and I’ll be in your inbox again on the 1st of October! Big love, Kate.

If you’d like to chat about your unique situation and gain a better understanding of options available to you, please book a free 15 minute consult via the ‘Book Now’ button below.

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