WOW | WOW Inspire

THE ART OF AGEING WELL

By Priya Kabo

October 1 is celebrated worldwide as International Day of Older Persons. One of the great achievements of the twentieth century is a dramatic rise in life expectancy. Ageing is a fact of life, but often ignored or neglected.

Ageing discrimination shapes how older persons are treated and perceived by their societies, including in medical settings and workplaces, creating environments that limit older persons’ potential and impact their health and well-being. The failure to tackle ageism undermines older persons’ rights and hinders their contributions to social, economic, cultural and political life (UN).
Having lived full lives, engaging in multiple careers and still having a great zeal for life today, meet some of the members of Bihani Social Venture, a social enterprise focusing on individuals who want to re-engage, re-explore and re-live a new beginning or create a rewarding second half of their lives based on their past experiences.

Bihani Social ventures aim to provide a platform for elders/members where they can share their experiences as well as learning from each other which brings about a difference in their life as well as lives of their fellow peers. Activities include internet literacy classes, literature and art clubs, interactions and discussions, taichi, social get togethers as well as screenings of films.
Some of the major societal issues that the ageing population endures are loneliness from losing a spouse and friends, inability to independently manage regular activities of living, difficulty coping and accepting physical changes of aging, frustration with ongoing medical problems and increasing number of medications, social isolation as adult children are engaged in their own lives, feeling inadequate from inability to continue to work, boredom from retirement and lack of routine activities, financial stresses from the loss of regular income.

But ageing well is a possibility and being prepared leads to better outcomes as the years progress. Your quality of life need not suffer dramatically if you work on improving your odds early in life. Most importantly it’s all about attitude. Other challenges can be overcome if you have a strong, positive and independent mindset. You can remain engaged in meaningful activity and relationships, feel safe and secure, and the odd medical problem isn’t a deal breaker.

With meaningful support from organisations like Bihani and better intergenerational engagement, life can be just the same – happy and healthy even into your later years.
In this photo story, WOW looks into the lives of some active and happy Bihani members who prove that age is just a number and nothing comes in their way of living life to the fullest!