As an occupational therapist with over 40 years of expertise in helping people age
well, Hilary O’Connell, is passionate about empowering people to take control of their ageing journey.
A lot of people think you can’t control how you age, but it’s proven that when it comes to ageing – it’s in your hands, says Hilary, who is also LiveUp’s Principal Advisor for Healthy Ageing.
“There are many myths and stereotypes when it comes to getting older, but the truth is up to 25% of how we age is due to our genetics, which means around 75% can be down to our lifestyle choices,” she says.
LiveUp is a healthy ageing initiative funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care that has been designed to help you take control of the way you age through healthy ageing approaches, enabling you to keep doing the things you love.
What is healthy ageing?
Healthy ageing is a term coined by the World Health Organisation and is an concept aimed at helping people maintain their independence and social connection as they age.
It encompasses several health and lifestyle factors that are within our control such as physical exercise, social connection, learning new things, and using assistive products.
“It’s common knowledge that exercise is good for you, but even modest amounts of low intensity exercise, like walking, yoga, and gardening activate your brain, build bone mass, maintain muscle, and boost your mood,” says Hilary.
“Studies of people over the age of 100, show that social and mental activity is also crucial for health and longevity. Engaging in intellectual stimulation, like learning new things, having healthy relationships, and participating in a supportive community, are all just as important as diet and exercise.”
On LiveUp older Australians can find free impartial information and resources focused on these three areas of healthy ageing.
LiveUp features regularly updated healthy ageing article written by allied health professionals, designed to provide information and downloadable resources for various age-related topics such as preventing falls, and getting a better night’s sleep.
“People can also complete a free confidential quiz which will provide impartial suggestions for low-cost assistive products from well-known retailers and reliable online stores such as Kmart and Bunnings to keep you doing the things you already love,” Hilary said.
“Once people enter their postcode on LiveUp, they will find locally relevant activities and networks based on their Local Government Area, focused on keeping them physically active and socially connected.
“If you’re ready to throw out tired stereotypes and take control of your healthy ageing journey, visit liveup.org.au.”
If you’d prefer to speak to someone over the phone, LiveUp’s friendly Navigation
team can help you to discover your healthy ageing options for free on 1800 951 971.