The coalition urges individuals to keep fit, eat healthy, plan ahead and listen to a little One Direction.
The Ready for Ageing Alliance has set out an eleven point prescription to help individuals prepare for ageing. The Alliance, a coalition of 8 organisations, came together in 2013 to make the case for action to ensure that our society is ready for ageing.
The Ready for Ageing Alliance is publishing the prescription ahead of the launch of its Manifesto on 8th September 2014. The Manifesto will set out ideas for how policymakers can better respond to the challenges of ageing.
The Ready for Ageing Alliance points out that our responsibility to age well needs to be supported by a series of rights. Policymakers must ensure that we are all well equipped to ensure we are ready for ageing. It argues that individuals need access to advice, services and opportunities for learning.
The Ready for Ageing Alliance calls 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.
Ensuring you are ready for ageing? Eleven point prescription
Get fit: Keeping physically active is one of the most important things we can do to ensure a healthy old age. Learn to ride a bike or get out to the park. Not everyone can do a marathon, but most of us should keep fitter than we do.
Save for your old age: Yes, you will get a state pension. But for most people, it is unlikely to provide the sort of income you are used to. Saving is important at any age. But the younger we start, the greater we benefit from investment returns and compound interest.
Pay off your debts: Having debt can be a major barrier to preparing for ageing. Get advice from a charity such as Age UK or Stepchange and start planning for the future.
If you smoke, stop or cut down: Smoking reduces our life expectancy and can make it more likely that we suffer poor health or need care in old age. You are never too young or old to stop.
Be healthy: Eat a healthy balanced diet, drink enough water, and not too much alcohol. Be mentally active. Keep yourself informed about how you can prevent ill health and ask your GP if you need any adult vaccinations.
Plan ahead: Too few of us plan for the future. And planning for old age is difficult as few of us expect to suffer ill health, bereavement or a job loss. But a little thinking about how we respond to these challenges can make for a better old age. If we are to have longer working lives, it is unlikely that many of us will stay in the same job for a long time. We need to accept our careers may change and invest in careers advice and retraining. In addition, don’t be afraid of thinking about your own death, however far off it may be. Ensure you have taken out a Will and consider a Power of Attorney.
Keep your friends and make new ones: Isolation and loneliness in old age hits far too many people. Maintain friendships and build new networks and relationships across the life-course and into older age. And build relationships in your home community, not just where you work.
Adapt your home: As we age, we want and need different things from our housing. Our homes may have become too big or may no longer suit our needs. If this is how it is for you, think about moving home. Everyone should take opportunities to upgrade home energy efficiency.
Keep up to date with the kids: The world is changing around us. Keep your mind active and engaged, from new digital technology through to new attitudes. Make sure you aren’t missing out and take every opportunity to talk to younger people. Try to get yourself online. Listen to One Direction (at least once).
Talk about ageing: Ageing should be seen as a positive experience. Too few of us talk about ageing as anything but a passing joke. Talk to friends and family about this list.
See retirement positively: A time of change. A time perhaps of getting out more, taking more exercise, eating better, giving up smoking and making new friends. A time to have fun.
David Sinclair, Spokesperson for the Ready for Ageing Alliance 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 at 50, signposting them to information and advice on preparing for ageing.”