The three ingredients for healthy and happy ageing


Physical and mental activity and staying connected are the three key factors of ageing gracefully. Dr Penny Flett, AO (Order of Australia), CEO of Brightwater Care Group believes this strongly and does her utmost to find ways to provide all three for residents of Brightwater facilities.

We can divide our lives into seven areas; Spiritual, Mental, Vocational, Financial, Physical, Social and Family. Being empowered in all 7 areas is important and during different phases of our lives the balance may change. When we are at school and developing our skills,  the mental aspect is most important. When we are starting our families, the financial and family aspects become dominant. Classically, the mental, vocational and financial areas have been seen as masculine energy while family, social and physical are more feminine. Spirituality transcends both.

In retirement, we have, often reluctantly, let go of the vocational aspect. Our financial growth phase has usually finished, but we certainly need to continue learning about finances and to safely find the best cash flow for this time of our lives. Family often becomes a major source of involvement and can become a vocation in itself! During our work life, the work place has often been a major source of social connection and when we retire, many are left disconnected, lonely and bored. Physical activity is frequently forgotten with the consequence of increased weight, heart disease, diabetes and joint problems.

I have observed many avenues for seniors to find mental stimulation and connection with organisations such as Probus and other  Community groups. Unfortunately, exercise and activity get forgotten. Perhaps it is because we have slowed down or we don’t look as good in a pair of shorts or in swimsuits. Although we may not look like Elle McPherson or Arnold Schwarzenegger, we all need to stay active. Exercise helps our muscle tone, balance and mental sharpness, and improves our mood.

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As the documentary, “Age of Champions” shows we can still play tennis, swim, cycle run and jump no matter what age we are. It is our self talk which limits us.

Each of us in our own corner of the world can find our unique way to be physically active, mentally stimulated and to belong. All three areas also express our spirituality and love of being a part of this world.

How do you maintain the three aspects of healthy ageing? How are you physically active? How are you mentally stimulated? How do you feel you belong? Tell us in the comments below…