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Thursday, 26 February  2009  Healthy Ageing

According to government figures, one in four Australians will be over the age of 65 in around 10 years time.

ALLAN DOBBIN, HEALTHY AGER: This is our sports area out here.

KATHY McLEISH: Allan Dobbin is a walking advertisement for healthy ageing.

ALLAN DOBBIN: You might think you're 80 but when you come out to Charleville you're only 50. That's how good it is out here. When you go out there and see all these people with their happy smiling faces you'll know I'm pretty right.

KATHY McLEISH: And 80 year old Bob Sommerfield says he is right. He joined healthy ageing after he retired from the land.

BOB SOMMERFIELD, HEALTHY AGER: I thought once I come to town I'd be bored and down to the pub and into trouble all the time, but now that I've come to the Healthy Ageing, that's been a lifesaver.

KATHY McLEISH: And one of the drawcards at the centre is Annie Liston.

BOB SOMMERFIELD: She was only here a week and everyone opened up their hearts to her. She is magnificent. She's my Annie.

KATHY McLEISH: Annie Liston lives on the land too.

Trained as a nurse, she's been co-ordinator of the Healthy Ageing program in Queensland's South West region since it kicked off in 2001. She says up to 1,300 people a month take part in Healthy Ageing across the six groups in her district that's almost as big as Victoria. The program is embraced at all levels. Annie Liston is with Queensland Health, managing the federally funded program on behalf of the rural division of general practitioners. But she says nobody embraces it quite like the healthy agers.

ANNIE LISTON, CO-ORDINATOR: They just love it. We actually tried to shut the office for three weeks over Christmas and I'd shut it three days, when I got a phone call at home to say can we go back in and play some games.

BOB SOMMERFIELD: Some people come in and I show them around the golf course and all what we do and they go away amazed. They say, even people from Toowoomba, we've got nothing like this, Bob.

ALLAN DOBBIN: They play pool here twice a week and we've got a competition. They age from about 87 to about 40. So that gets them all out.

KATHY McLEISH: Are they playing for sheep stations?

ALLAN DOBBIN: No, a sheep station's not worth much now.

KATHY McLEISH: The program's aimed at improving the quality and quantity of healthy living from the age of 40 by giving support and advice on general health and well being.

But Annie Liston says the biggest spin off is the happy and healthy community group that's developed.

ANNIE LISTON: I think the benefits of the job are just to see so many people you know taking control now of their health and well being and probably the decrease in depression has been great over the last three years that I have noticed.

BOB SOMMERFIELD: It's everything. It means everything to us out here. And a happy mind is a healthy mind in my opinion.

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English Bites - Healthy Ageing
story notes

walking advertisement
Someone who is a walking advertisement for something demonstates that it works.

Example: He's a walking advertisement for the benefits of regular exercise.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

This word (ageing) is an exception to the rule that when you add 'ing' to a word ending in 'e', you drop the 'e'.
more information: spelling ing

Charleville is a small town in south western Queensland, in the outback.

They just love it
She says they just love it. Here just means really. They really love it.

Here shut is the past participle of the irregular verb shut. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: shut

A pool usually means a place where people swim.

But here, he means they play pool - a game played on a pool table. Itís also called eight ball.

Quality is a measure of how good or bad something is.

Quantity is a measure of the amount of something.

spin off
A spin off is an added benefit, often an unexpected one.

community group
Here, a community group is a group of people who have something in common. This community group is the group of all the people who are in the Healthy Ageing program.

happy mind is a healthy mind
He says a happy mind is a healthy mind - if youíre feeling very happy, youíll probably be healthy too. And live a longer, happier life.

What's a 'walking advertisement'?

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