As part of my research into ageing I interviewed 7 of Australia’s older achievers in different fields (all household names). There was a huge amount of similarity between them. All have a very positive attitude towards life and even though they are all past the retirement age none
of them have any desire or plans to do so.

In the current economic climate this may be a good opportunity to rethink our attitude towards the way we spend the latter stage of our lives. Maybe spending our days just filling in time without a purpose is not such a good idea. More and more evidence is suggesting that we need to keep our bodies physically fit through exercise, but it is also important that we do the same with our minds. This doesn mean giving it the occasional stimulation- we lose too much in between. A friend of mine came across some research which suggested that if
we take a bit of leave from work, when we return it takes our intelligence time to get back to where it was. How much worse it must be if we retire for several years.

Part of my research also involved reading the research into the centenarians in The Blue Zones, four parts of the world with the highest number of centenarians. Even at 100 these people are still heavily involved in their communities, are physically and mentally healthy and have a purpose in life. This was also true of the achieving Australians I interviewed. I am becoming more and more convinced that for successful and healthy ageing we need such a purpose, either work or volunteer work of some type which takes up a good part of our week. It becomes something to get out of bed for, and if we are looking forward to doing an interesting project or activity we tend to
overlook our physical aches and pains.

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