Our view of aging

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Is it just me or is most advertising involving older people just awful?  In looking to set up my website and some marketing material I did a lot of research in the newspapers and other media and noticed that the photos that are used to advertise retirement and nursing homes are horrendous.

They are all people getting cup of tea and a pat on the shoulder from what I assume is meant to be a care-giver (or relative possibly?).  One advertisement for a nursing home had 18 or so octogenarians standing outside the front entrance to the place with their arms in the air – was it a hold up? Retirement community advertising is not a lot better – I found one photo of a couple in their gardening gear in the yard.  Ok – good start.  They were dancing.  What the?  I acknowledge it is hard to capture in a photo the excellent work that a lot of places are doing but why do all photos of older people have to be so vaguely pitying and naff?

I understand that people get old and may need care.  However, I do not subscribe to the ‘gods waiting room’ school of thought that nothing good happens after you turn 60, 70 etc so you may as well sit around and wait to die.  Science, in addition to my own observation, is against this theory.

Some people need care – absolutely.  My hat goes off to all those men and women who work in nursing homes and other aged care industries – you are angels and what you do makes a massive difference to a lot of people every day.  Thank you for your help, support, compassion and humour.

For a lot of people however the reality of retirement is very different.  I often go to visit my mum and she is doing headstands in the lounge room (yoga is the best – get into it…).  My uncle and father still ride their bike, run, play golf and lead a very active life.  A friend of my parents is going to do the Hawaii Iron Man in October (good luck Cliffy).  The event involves a 5 km swim, 140 km bike ride and 42 km run.  It will take him over 12 hours.  He is 71.

Once you finish work there is a lot of time and how you use it is up to you. A friend once told me you ‘get busy living or get busy dying’.  What you do with your retirement years is up to you.  Use the time to volunteer to help others, take on a new challenge, learn a new skill, take up a hobby.  There is only one rule – don’t sit still.

In a few weeks my Mum (71), Dad (73) and I are going indoor skydiving for my birthday and we all cannot wait – such fun!

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