A shared problem… GP and mother of four Clare Bailey gives her indispensable advice: I’m dreading turning 60
- Anonymous woman, from UK, tells GP she is terrified at 60. to become
- Says her mother developed type 2 diabetes within a decade of her 60th
- Clare Bailey said she is also turning 60 and the big day is approaching with a ‘combination of contentment and a bit of denial’
Q I am terrified of turning 60. I feel so old and I am concerned because within ten years of her 60th birthday, my dear mother was already having complications from type 2 diabetes and spent her remaining years in appalling ill health.
Next year I’m retiring and I hope to have more than a decade or two of fun with my grandkids and a little travel. So how do I stay at my best to enjoy the next phase of my life?
Clare Bailey (pictured) said: ‘I’m turning 60 too and approaching the big day with a combination of contentment and a bit of denial’
A I am also turning 60 and approaching the big day with a combination of satisfaction and a bit of denial. On the plus side, we live longer and generally healthier than our mothers. The average life expectancy for a woman in the UK is now 83 – four years more than for men.
First, remember that just because your mother had diabetes and was in poor health doesn’t mean you will have it. Go for regular checkups such as mammograms, Pap smears and hearing tests to keep yourself in tip-top shape.
Why being outside is good for the eyes
Another reason to let kids play outside – it reduces their chances of being nearsighted.
After the lockdown in Hong Kong, researchers describe an increase in the number of children aged six to eight who were found to be nearsighted – from 16 to 27 percent.
Another reason to let kids play outside – it reduces their chances of being nearsighted (stock photo)
This coincided with a reduction in time away from home, from 75 to 24 minutes per day, and an increase in screen time from two and a half to seven hours.
People tend to gain weight as they age, leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes, but it’s not inevitable. Unlike our mothers’ generation, this can often be prevented and even reversed by avoiding sugary and ultra-processed foods and following a healthy Mediterranean diet, with intermittent fasting.
Your mental approach is also important. In 2010, my husband Michael and Professor Ellen Langer of Harvard University conducted an extraordinary TV experiment called The Young Ones, where they asked six elderly celebrities to live together in a house that had been converted to look and feel like it in the 70’s.
The idea was that if they went back in time psychologically, they would get younger. That’s exactly what happened. Studies show that people who are optimistic and rate themselves as younger have healthier brains.
They are also less likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and dementia. Try to build a close relationship with grandchildren or young people, for example through volunteering. Being in touch with the younger generation keeps us younger.
Don’t forget to keep a spark of curiosity and try new things. After being a primary care physician for over 30 years, I’ve written a series of Fast 800 recipe books and helped set up an online program for weight loss and diabetes prevention or reversal. I even became an Instagram ‘influencer’.
You could try an activity like ballroom dancing – great for keeping your mind sharp and improving your mental health too. Taking a brisk walk, growing vegetables or cycling to the shops can also keep you in good shape. I joined a weekly exercise group in our park.
Turning 60 isn’t all doom and gloom. For starters, there are the senior discounts, and with all the advancements in medicine, being a sixty-year-old is better now than ever before.
Have the sugar content lowered by manufacturers working with soft drinks. Now is the time to cut back on sugar in packaged foods.
Researchers in the US have found that cutting 20 percent of packaged foods and 40 percent of drinks can prevent 2.48 million cases of cardiovascular disease and 750,000 cases of diabetes. “It’s time to implement a program that can deliver major health improvements in less than a decade,” say academics at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
I couldn’t agree more. The government needs to take urgent action based on these findings to save lives.
You can write to Clare at email@example.com or Daily Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT