Gary Rycroft column

Gary Rycroft.
Gary Rycroft.

I recently spoke at a conference organised by the Centre for Ageing Research at Lancaster University about “living well beyond the age of 85”.

I was there as a trustee of The Dukes along with representatives from Age UK Lancashire to talk about the ground breaking work the two charities are doing with the local dementia community, centred on the arts and a film programme at The Dukes designed to allow those living with dementia have “a life more ordinary”, that is do normal things the rest of society takes for granted, like going to the pictures with a loved one.

It’s always nerve wracking before speaking at such events, but luckily that day the speaker before our slot was absolutely fascinating, so I forgot all about having to go on after her.

She was Professor Carol Jagger of Newcastle University, who spoke about a research project she had led about the lives of those who have lived to 85 and beyond.

The bad news is that by 85 almost everyone is likely to have some kind of ailment.

But the question seems to be how to cope with that and the good news is that in cohort who took part in the study, 80 per cent of those interviewed were satisfied with life.

Listening to this I wondered to myself if the same proportion of younger people would feel that way?

Anyway, attitude to life would seem to be important but so of course is keeping active physically.

I learnt that a good tip is to practice brushing your teeth whilst standing on one leg because that keeps all kinds of functions active.

This is important because once a particular motor function is lost, there is a steady and recognised trajectory downhill.

Apparently the first function to be lost is being able to cut your own toenails.

The last is being able to feed yourself.

You will note there’s not much law in this week’s column but if you want a legal update tune into the monthly Legal Hour on Gilly’s Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Lancashire next Wednesday, August 13 from 2pm.

This month I’m thinking about doing the show standing on one leg and I’m going to ask Gilly if he can still cut his own toenails.