- Tuesday 29 November 2022
The secrets to help maximise quality of life and wellbeing and maintaining independence have been revealed.
More than 200 people attended the Healthy Ageing Forum 2022 held at the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) at the weekend (26 November) and learnt that healthy ageing is about maintaining physical and mental wellbeing, a good quality of life, and a positive attitude towards ageing.
UniSC clinical neuropsychologist and Thompson Institute Healthy Brain Ageing Clinic lead Dr Sophie Andrews delivered the keynote address, and said that as people expanded their lifespans, it was important they also improved their health to ensure they could enjoy their additional years.
“Dementia is very challenging for both the person living with impairment, as well as their family members,” Dr Andrews said.
“It’s a concern for people of all ages and some of the key ways to reduce the risk of dementia is through physical activity, good diet, sleep, social connection and mindfulness.
“We are now discovering that maintaining good mental health is as important as physical health for reducing dementia risk.”
Staying healthy and active into later life also helps to maintain independence and mobility, prevent disease and slow or reverse chronic illness. This empowers people to remain active participants in all aspects of community life.
UniSC Associate Professor Chris Askew, who helped organise the event, said the forum covered topics spanning mental health, cognitive function, nutrition, physical activity and creative pursuits – all topics that make up the bigger picture of healthy ageing.
“Education and the sharing of information, like we are doing at the forum, helps people understand why lifestyle changes are often an important way to improve our health as we get older,” Dr Askew said.
“There are small incremental changes you can make to improve your health, and there are professionals around, like exercise physiologists, dietitians and psychologists, who are able to help you put a plan together to make positive lifestyle changes.
“It’s better to make healthy changes early, but it’s never too late.”
Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said it was great to see so many Sunshine Coast residents passionate about their health and wellbeing attend.
“A key focus of the Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019 – 2041 is to empower our community to live healthy and active lifestyles, and the Healthy Ageing Forum provided our community with a vast array of information,” Cr Law said.
“The day was full of learning with experts from UniSC, Sunshine Coast University Hospital and other health practitioners sharing their knowledge on the latest research on healthy ageing.
“Attendees were given lots of tips to take home to maximise their quality of life. It was a wonderful day and I hope participants learnt as much as I did.”
This event was presented in partnership by Sunshine Coast Council and UniSC, and supported with funding from Wellways Carer Gateway, and the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN through the Australian Government’s PHN Program.