I would like to end the year reflecting on the recent Panorama Special about life at 100.
The centenarians in this charming film are far from selfish. They are brave, determined to stay independent and not become a burden to their families.
Their ranks are growing and the latest statistics showed there were 14,910 centenarians in 2016. One in every three babies born today will live to see their 100th birthday; an incredible statistic which can largely be put down to huge advances in medicine.
Facing up to the challenge!
This increasingly ageing population present enormous challenges for future generations as the State will not be able to provide nearly enough support for all the centenarians and we must face up to the challenge.
In particular, dementia, the illness we all most dread as we grow older, is becoming more and more common, and brings with it such serious disability that it takes professional care to look after those affected. But as the demand for residential homes increases, more and more are closing. There are 92,000 carers in this country who are themselves over 85.
Joan Bakewell, the presenter of the programme, talked to Margaret, who, at 102, was caring for her terminally ill son who sadly died this year aged 75. She said her one fear was that she would go first, leaving Richard vulnerable and alone. ‘I have my good days and my bad days now, and I do miss him.’
So do we all want to live to be 100?
Most would say, only if you can hang onto your mental and physical health. So we must be prepared to put in some effort to eat properly, exercise enough and keep on learning new things to keep our minds active. It’s amazing how many centenarians look after themselves and continue to enjoy their long lives. It was particularly moving seeing a lady who was celebrating her 105th birthday, who said ‘You have one life, live it’, and told her guests to come again next year. Their families and friends rightly treasure her.
If you would like to discuss the many home care options available please call us on 01829 260280.
We wish you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.