Pearl Dykes and Margaret Smith lead active lives in retirement, but they say growing older is a learning experience which may i
Pearl Dykes and Margaret Smith lead active lives in retirement, but they say growing older is a learning experience which may i

Life in the second half



MARGARET Smith says she would be quite happy to take part in the statewide 45 and Up Study which was launched last week.

Her friend Pearl Dykes is not so sure.

"It all depends on what they want you to tell them," Mrs Dykes said.

"Where does this information all go to?"

The 45 and Up Study aims to produce detailed profiles of the health status and lifestyles of NSW residents as they move through the second half of their lives.

It is hoped one in 10 North Coast residents aged more than 45 will take part in what is the largest long-term health study ever to be undertaken in Australia.

The results will be used in health planning.

Mrs Smith and Mrs Dykes are both active 74year-old widows who dance, walk and do water aerobics every week.

They call themselves 'quite average' but they have both faced one of the problems that bedevil older women and can affect their health ? the need to create a totally new life after losing a partner and finding themselves shut out from the group activities they en- joyed as couples.

Mrs Dykes has faced and survived breast cancer, but says she 'doesn't want to live to 90, especially not if I get to the dribbling stage ? I don't want to be dependent'.

Mrs Smith says one of the most important health measures for older people is educating them to look after themselves and helping them to stay in their own homes.

"A lot of people in our age group 'think old'," Mrs Smith said.

"They get very self-indulgent and that leads to intolerance and self-centredness. Health in aged people starts with your attitude.

"You almost have to go back to school and learn to be retired."

Mrs Dykes said being able to drive was also important.

Coffs Coast residents interested in volunteering for the 45 and Up Study can do so through a link on the website on www.45andup.org.au or by calling 1300 451145.



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