Don’t stop at 65 - keeping active can keep us on top of our game

“KEEP learning and stay mentally active” - and prevent or delay mental decline and even dementia.

That was the message given to a large audience from Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, and the surrounding area last Thursday when Dr Alex McMinn, expert in ageing and adviser to the Government and the UN, spoke to members of Todmorden University of the Third Age (U3A), writes David Gray.

Dr McMinn said that there are huge changes taking place as we live longer - people over 100 are the fastest growing sector of the population - and we can expect, or hope for, anyway, a much longer, and more fulfilling, period of retirement than our ancestors enjoyed. Many of us will have more years of retirement than we had at work.

It’s important, said Dr McMinn, not to get trapped into expecting physical and mental decline after retirement - think that way and it‘s likely to come true. By keeping physically active, and by keeping the brain working - by continuing to learn new things - we can actually continue to make our brains grow and work better, science shows.

Combine that with an active social life, meeting new people and staying in touch with old friends, and, very importantly, having a laugh. Dr McMinn’s funny talk had his audience rolling in the aisles.

U3A, with it’s regular monthly meetings and talks and wide range of interest groups and activities, is a splendid help in staying mentally and physically active, especially as it gives lots of opportunities to meet new and old friends, said Dr McMinn.

You can contact U3A on 01706 839176, or find them on the web by searching for u3atod. All meetings are accessible to people with disabilities - and your first visit is free.