Isle of Wedmore News – June 2022

Let’s celebrate longevity!

The Queen celebrated her 96th birthday on 21st April this year. This photo, released to mark the occasion, was of her with two of her fell ponies. Her love of horses is well known and she is obviously keen to show that she is maintaining this special interest in later life. Not many of us will have fell ponies or similar, but we know that keeping up our interests or finding new ones can help us achieve a quality of life. Our Isle of Wedmore Directory has a plethora of clubs and organisations to help with this. Perhaps in later life we could be a bit more bold, like Jenny Joseph, who wrote in her poem called ‘Warning’, that she will ‘wear purple’ when she is old and that she will ‘press alarm bells, and run my stick along the public railings, and make up for the sobriety of my youth’. Quite shocking!

So often we hear comments about older people ‘blocking beds in the NHS’ and other negative comments about aging, but there’s much to celebrate. Apart from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and two World Wars, according to the Kings Fund, life expectancy has increased steadily since it was recorded in 1841. For example, in the UK a person born in 1960 could expect to live on average to 71 and in 2019 this had risen to 81 years old. And of course many older people are able to continue to contribute to society by working, volunteering and often caring for grandchildren. We will be celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee, reigning for 70years in June 2022.  Much depends on how fit and healthy we are in old age as to what extent these ‘added years’ are a bonus. According to the office of National Statistics, advances in diagnosis and treatment for many diseases, for example infectious diseases and some cancers, has helped us increase our years. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/articles/leadingcausesofdeathuk/2001to2018

So the challenge for us all, whatever age we are, is to help each other achieve ‘life in our years’ as well as ‘years in our life’. Not many of us will have a personal physician on call like the Queen, but we can make the most of the services we do have available.

For example for younger adults, Axbridge & Wedmore Medical Practice is wanting to encourage all patients who are eligible for a cervical smear to book this free health test.   This is not a test for cancer, it is a test to help prevent cancer.    Patients who are eligible will receive a letter from Public Health England inviting them to book with the practice.  The practice will be following up this invitation with a text reminder and patients who have registered for online access can book through their website www.axbridgeandwedmoremedicalpractice.nhs.uk  Attendance for this crucial screening has dropped in recent years and 20-26th June is Cervical Screening  Awareness Week.  Axbridge & Wedmore Medical Practice are putting on extra clinics in June to support this. For more information on this vital health issue go to:-

Cervical Screening Awareness Week | Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (jostrust.org.uk)

But back to later life, perhaps like Jenny Joseph we should be a bit more adventurous as we age. She intends to ‘go out in my slippers in the rain, and pick flowers in other people’s gardens’. We must make the most of our added years and live life to the full, according to our own personal preferences!

For easy links to all the websites mentioned please go to our own Health & Wellbeing website www.whawb.co.uk and go to the Wedmore News item for June 2022.

Cathy Butterworth

Wedmore Health & Wellbeing Project