How is it that there is anyone who is not bursting with health, goodwill and happiness in this ‘nanny state’ country – with all the advice we receive or, put another way, all the do’s and don’ts – it is a wonder that anyone becomes ill or dies.
What with – eat your five a day, eat fresh food not processed (more expensive) plenty of exercise including brisk walks around the streets where you live (now shown to lead to hip replacements for 40 year olds if too brisk), eat potatoes – don’t eat potatoes, eat eggs – don’t eat eggs, eat superfood – but what is superfood this month – it is constantly changing and tends to be expensive as it becomes fashionable, eat fish to fight dementia, two cups of coffee a day to fight cirrhosis of the liver, remember not to get overweight/better to be plump than thin, eat dark chocolate (one I approve of), drink wine – don’t drink wine – drink one small glass of red wine per day for your heart, do not sit in a comfy chair to read your book for more than two chapters before getting up and being active, do volunteering to avoid depression, isolation and loneliness, do constant switching of banks, energy suppliers and everything else you can think of, the way to communicate with family, friends and the world is through your computer, you all must go digital otherwise you can’t have services or they will be twice as expensive…
It never stops!
Each day we are given new must ‘do’s or don’t’s’ – it’s endless. The sad thing is that because we are constantly bombarded with this advice/orders – we don’t take any notice of what is being said or don’t take it seriously. We are not able to pick out what is important, media hype or just irrelevant. If we took notice and followed all this advice – would we be healthier? Would we enjoy life more? Would we live longer with good quality of life? Of course the next question would be, ‘could we afford to live longer?’ Does the government want us to live longer?
One of the latest pieces of advice is around dementia and, of course, isolation – learn foreign languages. Research has shown that regularly speaking/reading foreign languages means that more parts of the brain are active which helps delay the onset of dementia which does sort of sound sense. In Scotland there is a project providing tailored lessons and interactive workshops focussing on foreign languages – this of course not only provides a social outlet which, hopefully, is fun but also gives people new or renewed skills. So is it the new language or the social interaction that has produced these results?
Whatever research shows – can you honestly see the government providing language course for older people in adult education as they used to provide – now a distant memory – never mind including those with dementia? It could show value for money in that it kept people independent longer and so reduced/delayed the uptake of NHS/social care services. But government policy does not lean towards long term solutions which improves peoples well being.
For me – this sounds better than many of the therapies suggested for my old age and learning French would set me up in my plans for retirement – instead of going to India to try out the various ‘Marigold Hotels’ I will head for France to enjoy such things as good medical services, lovely food – all fresh – especially the bread, cheese and wine and the rather more relaxed way of life rather than uncertain medical services, boiled food, sweet sherry, bingo and music hall delights etc. which are perfect for many but not for me.
So what is your view? Do we receive too much ‘advice’? Do you want more? What is important to you? And most importantly – where are you going to retire to? Remember to let us know.