Tuesday 25 June 2019

The secrets to ageing well

GAA seminar looks at ways to add quality to later years

Simon Bourke

Irish people are living longer than ever before, but for those at a seminar in the Ferrycarrig Hotel the focus was on the quality rather than the quantity of those additional years.

The 'How to Age Well' seminar was delivered by Professor Rose Anne Kenny of Trinity College, Dublin, and was based on a decade's worth of research on how the quality of one's life can get better as you get older. Coordinated by Wexford GAA's Health & Wellbeing committee the presentation cited the importance of social engagement, keeping active and volunteering as one gets older. And Professor Kenny used some novel techniques to maintain her audience's attention.

'She was brilliant in her delivery, sometimes research projects can be a little boring but she really brought it to life,' said Mary Doyle Chairperson of Wexford GAA's Health and Wellbeing Committee. 'She used the example of Wexford's 1910 All-Ireland winners and looked at their life expectancy and then compared it to that of the 1955 team.'

One of the primary aims of the seminar was to encourage people to undergo tests which they might, for one reason or another, have been avoiding.

'There's people going around with Type 2 diabetes at the moment and they might not even know it,' said Mary. 'Screening is available, and when you have it, take it up, don't ignore it.'

With approximately 150 interested parties present on the night Mary is hopeful that, come the summer, those cheering on in the stands will be as healthy as those on the pitch. But this seminar was just one of a number of initiatives she and her team are running throughout the county in the coming months.

'Our role is to look after the whole GAA family, because it is like a family, we're in every community. Every club is encouraged to have a Healthy Club Officer (HCO) and 31 out of 42 club in the county have them so far. Also, St John's Volunteers was the first club in the country to go smoke-free,' Mary said.

But it's not just the physical wellbeing of those in its communities which Wexford GAA is concerned with. 'We're also running an anti-gambling initiative,' Mary said. 'We had Oisin McOnville down to present a talk in the schools. Young lads can identify with that rather than being preached to.'

Gorey Guardian