By Leon A Smith
June 7, 2013
This week marks the 60th anniversary of the Coronation which took place on
2nd June 1953. You will have all seen in the newspapers beautiful photographs of the Coronation and of course as the Queen looks now. She does indeed by any standards look quite remarkable! Despite various bouts of ill health which the Duke of Edinburgh has experienced, he also is a picture of physical and intellectual fitness for a man of his age.
We also know what a great age the Queen Mother lived to. Is all of this coincidence? And/or is there any other reason why members of this family appear to be enjoying such long and healthy lives. Could it be because they have access to immediate and first class medical services; could it be something to do with their lifestyle; and/or could it be pure good luck? None of us knows but I would venture to suggest that it is the latter reason. Nor is it uncommon for people who have had parents who have lived to a great age to similarly live to a great age. And this is where the element of luck comes in as it is doubt less that genetics are at play when it comes to longevity. It is not a hard and fast rule and it is possible for somebody to die at a much younger age than a parent. But in very general terms, great age tends to run in families. Does this mean therefore that lifestyle is irrelevant and has no impact upon our life expectancy? I would like to think that, today, the answer to that question is “yes, it has no impact”. This would significantly reduce my guilt levels at taking minimal exercise and not being careful enough with diet. Again the truth of the matter is that nobody really knows!.
I am surrounded here at Nightingale House and at Hammerson House by people that are living well into their 90s and into their 100s. Apart from the many people aged 100 and over living at Nightingale House, there is one person living at Hammerson House at the grand age of 109. Why is that? What is her secret? To what does she owe this? Nobody really knows. Some of it is physiological, some of it isn’t. The average age of residents currently living at Nightingale House and Hammerson House is 90. We could of course claim that the reason that the age is so high is because of the wonderful way in which we look after our residents! The reality is however, as we all know, people are coming into homes at a much later stage in life and sadly staying with us for a much shorter period than was the case a generation ago.
Our role as providers of care is to do just that – to provide the best possible quality care and the best possible intellectual stimulation. We do this by ensuring that our staff are trained to the highest level and that every residents is treated as an individual. We provide a sophisticated programme of activities and entertainments and other forms of stimulation and we do everything we can to ensure that our residents are able to enjoy the highest possible quality of life, notwithstanding their own illnesses and/or disabilities. Many people come into our care home in crisis and out of need rather than as a positive lifestyle choice. Yet whatever the reason or circumstances in which people come to our homes, it is incumbent upon us to do everything which we can to make the experience, however long it may last, as positive as possible. This is not always easy. We are often dealing with severe levels of disability, dementia and/or depression Even if we can bring some richness to the daily lives of our residents each and every day, then we feel that our work is worthwhile. From the feedback which we receive from so many of our residents and relatives, we know that we are going some way to achieve that.