Positive Ageing – How to Age Well

Life’s Third Act

Ageing has a really bad press, portrayed as being ‘downhill all the way’. A decline into decrepitude and death. Ageism is rife in society but even more toxic to our mental health is the internalised ageism, when we swallow and believe all the negative stories about getting older. So is it really as bad as is suggested in the media? And is there anything we can do to make our later years healthier and happier?  Research shows that how we feel about our ageing process can have a significant influence on how we experience later life. If we approach it negatively – we are likely to have some pretty poor outcomes. If we develop a more positive mindset, however, the evidence is clear that we are much more likely to be satisfied with our later life.

And there are some definite advantages to getting older. Once we are past the midlife crisis, we get happier.  Studies show the speed of information processing peaks early – age 18 or 19 but the ability to evaluate complex patterns, including other people’s emotional states, peaks much later, when people are in their 40s or 50s. We become better at synthesising ideas and are better at managing our emotions. We’re older and wiser.

We offer Positive Ageing workshops and coaching, which seek to bust the myths about ageing and equip you to navigate this stage in life in the most constructive way. It’s not about pension planning or how to occupy your leisure time. Instead it helps people explore the emotional and psychological aspects of ageing and make the best of life’s third act. Watch Jane Fonda’s TED talk for inspiration or check out Guy Robertson, author of  The Ten Steps to Ageing Positively. 

In a typical one-day course you can expect to :-

  • Explore the question of ageing – what it is, how it happens and how people tend to think about it. We delve into what the research says about ‘successful ageing’ and how to improve health and wellbeing in later life.
  • Look at where you are now and what your expectations and ideas are for the future.
  • Learn techniques to strengthen your resilience to the challenges that old age can throw up. These strategies include developing an optimistic mindset, increasing our sense of purpose in life and savouring the good things that happen.
  • Develop a plan for this next phase of life. At the point of retirement people typically have another 20-30 years left, most of which is likely to be lived in good health. It makes sense to spend a little time to work out how best to live this ‘third act’, maybe even consider an ‘encore career.’

“I feel like I’ve learnt some helpful hints to take forward.  It’s been very affirming.”

On completion of a workshop you will have:-

  • A better understanding of ageing – the myths and the realities
  • Explored your deeper thoughts and feelings about later life
  • Learned a range of practical and well-evidenced techniques to improve your choices and wellbeing in later life

“I am very glad I came – wasn’t at all sure I was wanting to think about ageing at all.”

As well as training we offer coaching support to help plan for a positive future and realise the potential of our later years.

The Positive Ageing courses have been developed by Miriam Akhtar and Guy Robertson in partnership with the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Centre for Ageing Better. Miriam is a campaigner on Positive Ageing and has consulted on Ageing Well initiatives with the Daily Telegraph, Ryvita and Dove. Some articles on the subject.

Guy Robertson was Editor of Working with Older People and undertook much of the thinking on older people services for national and local government. His handbook – The Ten Steps of Positive Ageing is an excellent manual on how to age well drawing on the latest science.

What we cover                                 

  • Personal discovery – exploring your attitude to ageing
  • The science of ageing well, busting the myths about later life
  • Building resilience to overcome the disadvantages of old age
  • Optimism practices to challenge the pessimism about later life
  • Emotional wellbeing – how to feel positive as we age
  • Exploring the encore – future planning to realise the potential of our later years

“I thought the exercises were really useful and well structured.”

“I liked the balance between input and experiential work.”

“Really useful to look at what was for me a daunting subject in a stimulating and exciting way.  Lots of food for further thought, which is also great.”

“Thanks for the opportunity to raise the issues and start the journey of delving into common areas.”

We partnered with the Gulbenkian Foundation on their Transitions in Later Life initiative to help people  develop their resilience for the transitions that happen as we get older, such as from working to retirement. The Positive Ageing & Resilience Training course was developed specifically for this project. Read the evaluation.