Monday, November 22, 2010


"If you could choose to live to a ripe old age, what age would that be?". When I put the question to my friends, the answer I almost always get is "80". I'm not sure if that's because 80 is an auspicious number and therefore a good age to say bye-bye, or is it because most people still equate any number beyond 80 with physical and mental deterioration.

It's time to blast that equation to dust. A change in mindset is long overdue. It is possible to live to 80, 90 and even 100 and still enjoy good health and quality of life, provided we make the right lifestyle choices.

My daughter Belle recently accompanied Teresa, a 112-year old supercentenarian, to London to attend the centennial celebrations of her alma mater. The trip was made possible by generous sponsors who wanted to make Teresa's wish come true. She had such a wonderful time and was feted everywhere she went. For Belle, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she commemorated in a photobook specially put together as a gift for Teresa. (Pic: Teresa enjoying kite-flying.)

As a blogger on seniors-related topics, I have had the honour of meeting so many amazing men and women in their 80s and 90s who are proud of their age. And why not? How many people of this age-group can truly say they are living life to the full?

Members of the Happy Senior Citizens Club who are in their 80s and 90s. The oldest is Mr Yong Tze Tai, 95, (extreme left) a retired court interpreter, and the youngest is Mdm Wong Yong Moi, 83, (in black) a line-dance instructor at her church.

On the other hand, I've also met retirees and pensioners who, at the relatively young age of 60+, are already withdrawing from life. They come up with 1001 excuses on why they can't do this or that. They prefer to remain at home and whine about the miseries of impending old age, loss of employment, income and self-esteem.

They are poor company with their constant complaints of aches and pains, whether real or imaginery. They lament the lack of attention from their adult children and grandchildren. They have a long list of what's gone wrong with their lives, but can't see the solution even when it's suggested or presented to them. They choose to focus on what they feel they are cursed with, rather than what they are blessed with.

We all know of friends and family members who are like that. No one can help them if they don't want to be helped. Sad, isn't it?