The power of positivity and a socially engaged life is proving to be the key to keeping downsizers healthy and active as they enter retirement – and well beyond.
With Australia’s life expectancy now at an average of 82 years old and likely to increase in years to come, maintaining healthy aging attitudes and behaviours will become increasingly important.
At 90 years of age, Ingenia Lifestyle Bethania resident Fay O’Toole’s positive attitude towards aging has kept her wits sharp and allowed her to maintain her independence throughout retirement.
“It’s very hard to make the move to downsize – it’s really about the right timing − but I think it’s wonderful and I’m still very independent and active,” Fay said.
“After my husband retired, we joined the BMW Motorcycle club and spent the next 20 years doing many trips. We moved to Ingenia in 2010 and even now I still drive myself around.
“I spend a lot of my time doing welfare volunteering at St Vincent De Paul at least three days a week. I love the work, I love the people, and I love having something to get up for each day.
“I’m very lucky that I’ve stayed independent at my age and Ingenia has a wonderful way of life that I enjoy while also providing me with a feeling of security which is very comforting for me, especially now that I am on my own.
“There’s the opportunity for myself and my neighbours to participate in activities like the exercise programs and to use the lovely bowling green and pool if we want to – the facilities really are very good.”
Faye said she has had to adapt and learn along the way, including becoming computer literate through her interactions with younger family members and through her work at St Vincent De Paul.
Ingenia Lifestyle Bethania Community Manager Linda Thompson said although the land lease community had residents from the age of 50 and older, some of the community’s oldest residents like Fay were the most active.
“It’s incredible to see that some of the older residents in their 80s and 90s are just as active and young as those in their early 50s,” Ms Thompson said.
“It’s not easy to change a mindset and negative societal attitudes about what getting older means, but at Ingenia we really focus on creating a community that supports positive aging and healthy living.
“The facilities that we offer in our Ingenia communities and the regular social and community engagement opportunities we host go a long way towards encouraging this.
“It’s up to our residents how actively engaged they want to be, but what we can do is ensure we offer every opportunity and support them to live a life they’ll enjoy in their retirement years.”