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u3a members on what positive ageing means to them

20 October 2023

We recently hosted conversations about positive ageing with u3a Trustees Sandi Rickerby and Liz Ervine alongside academics Dr Alan Gow, Shelagh Young, Melanie Lovatt, Dr Dwight Tse and Suan Murray. The film started a discussion with u3a members about what positive ageing means to them: here are some of the responses we received.

Two women laughing as they walk down the street

Jean, Dorridge u3a

I started textile art activities about 14 years ago at 59 & have never looked back. It seems that I need to create, there's even a workroom now in the garden with my name on it & in there I am blissfully happy. It doesn't matter what I'm doing: painting, printing, stitching, drawing; something is produced that's mine, which is wonderful.

I like to show others what I'm doing & sometimes attend courses & classes, but I'm equally happy on my own. I would call this positive ageing & hope it will continue for many years yet.

Helen, Holme Valley u3a

Positive ageing? An opportunity to do all the things you never had time to do.

Retirement often means that money comes in without the need to go to work. At least there is a choice – many people continue to work in a job they enjoy, or even start a new career.

Retirement means having time. Time to relax about housework, enjoy gardening, meet old friends, make new friends. Time to support someone who may need it. Time to learn new skills and exercise old ones.

And flexibility. To take holidays where and when one wants. To engage with family. Even to move house to be nearer to family.

Better still there is the opportunity to do voluntary ‘work’ – to give back to society. I get far more out of volunteering than the effort I put in because it’s worthwhile.

Ageing well means less stress and more opportunity to look after that body!

The people who look younger than their years are often the busy people who engage regularly with others, meet new people, make new friends, try new things, do things for other people.

I think the skills of older people are sometimes overlooked. We have so much to offer. But it’s up to us not to be ‘written off’ or marginalised. Too many of my acquaintance are busy caring for their grandchildren – kept too busy to lead their own lives. They are active , involved and busy but not, I think, ageing well. 

I’m loving the freedom that the ‘third age’ gives me.

And – I hope – I ‘m ageing well!

Beryl, u3a Interest Groups Online

Positive ageing to me means not letting other people decide that you are too old to do any job for which you are well qualified.

Patricia, Crouch End & District

Positive ageing means to me, not denying the ageing process. Accepting the limitations which at 77 inevitably come along. And certainly not comparing myself with other people of a similar age who may have very different genes to me.

I don’t go in for bucket lists, or pushing myself hard to prove I still can.
I face up to the fact that I’m no longer a spring chicken! There are things I can’t do anymore. There are things I do less of, less often. So I concentrate on what I can do and thoroughly enjoy them. Most of all I don’t feel any shame or embarrassment about being less active than I once was.
I’m still young in outlook. I’m still intensely inpoterested in people and life and the world around me.
Physically I’m not quite the person I once was. In every other respect I’d much rather be the person I am now.

Marjory, Berwick u3a

“Positive Ageing” - to me – means having the time, the patience, the cash and the incentive to do things, meet people – that I couldn’t do whilst working.... Bliss!

David, Edinburgh u3a

Our Jogging Group meets weekly. Our motto?

“The Couch Shall Not Have Me”

Claire, Belper u3a

What positive ageing means to me?

Being open to new ideas and new cultural influences.

Accepting that a lot of things are actually better than they used to be!

Not always bemoaning 'things used to be better'.

Learning from the wisdom of young people.

Always looking to learn new skills, for instance digital, and getting younger people to teach us.

Thinking about ways we can help others and also combat climate change, thinking of what we are bequeathing to next generations.

Staying physically mobile, walking, cycling and getting public transport whenever possible. Avoiding driving whenever possible.

Being friendly and sociable! 

Watch our Conversations about Positive Ageing on our YouTube channel.

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