Quality of life rises with age, Dún Laoghaire retirement group hears

Research shows people finding Ireland more age-friendly as they get older

Anne Hughes, Phyl McDonald and Gabrielle Lowe. Phyl (94) is the oldest member of the Dún Laoghaire Active Retirement Association. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Anne Hughes, Phyl McDonald and Gabrielle Lowe. Phyl (94) is the oldest member of the Dún Laoghaire Active Retirement Association. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Ageing is the new cool as people’s quality of life increases as they grow older, a researcher told the Dún Laoghaire Active Retirement Association on Friday.

Dr Cathal McCrory, who is involved in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (Tilda) at Trinity College Dublin, said quality of life hit a low at about 50 years of age and then increased for years before dipping when the end was near.

He described the graph illustrating this, a sharp rising curve upwards from 50 which then gradually tapers slowly down during end-of-life years, as a “smirk”.

Studies had found that older Irish people had “a very healthy social life”, he added.

Dr McCrory said the number of older Irish people was increasing dramatically with the number of over 64s projected to increase by 100 per cent between 2005 and 2030. The number of people over 85 would increase by 150 per cent, and those aged over 100 would rise by 400 per cent.

Dr McCrory was speaking at an event to mark Dún Laoghaire Active Retirement Association’s ruby anniversary. The Dún Laoghaire group was founded in 1978 and is the oldest active retirement association in Ireland.

There was a special presentation to its oldest member, Phyllis McDonald (94), who joined the group 40 years ago.

Active Retirement Ireland has 20,000 members across the State, all of them over 50, said Kay Murphy, its national president.

‘Hurt by comments’

A survey carried out for Active Retirement Ireland, the findings of which were announced on Friday, found that Ireland was becoming more age-friendly, with 19 per cent of respondents saying they had “felt humiliated or hurt by comments about their age”, down from 36 per cent in 2008.

Dún Laoghaire Active Retirement Association members marking its ruby anniversary. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Dún Laoghaire Active Retirement Association members marking its ruby anniversary. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Tony McCarthy, who organised the event, also launched Forty Years A-Growing, a collection of short stories and poems to mark the anniversary.

Funds raised would go to a “Bikes for Africa” scheme, he said. Last Wednesday, 100 bicycles, which had been at Shankill Garda station in Dublin were sent to Africa having been repaired by inmates at Loughan House open prison in Co Cavan.

The youngest speaker at the event was Dubliner Tommy Browne (27). He and three team-mates came fifth in the 5,500km Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge last January.

Beginning on December 14th, they rowed between the Canary Islands and Antigua for 32 days, 22 hours and four minutes, becoming the fastest Republic of Ireland crew to row across the Atlantic.

Asked what he had learned from the experience, Browne said “live in the moment, declutter, make life simpler” and that he found out that “happiness is relative”.

As an example, he recalled the sheer joy of drinking a can of Coke in the mid-Atlantic, but added that he now passes by such cans in shops without a thought.