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How To Live Life To The Full: Advice From The Older Generation

Kat Nicholls
By Kat Nicholls, updated on Dec 10, 2018

Residents from Anchor Hanover care homes aged 99 and over share their top tips to getting the most out of life

Living a long and happy life is something most of us aspire to. But what does it look like to reach the grand old age of 100 and how can we ensure we’re doing all we can to enjoy life? Joan Spiller (100), Dot Akerman (99) and Theresa Ryan (104) share their thoughts and tips.

Joan Spiller is 100 and lives at Anchor Hanover’s St. Anne’s care home in Saltash, Cornwall. Joan loves to spend time painting and doing arts and crafts in St. Anne’s summer house.

Joan---Now---1-1

Joan explains how focusing her time on her interests is important to her:

“I didn’t necessarily expect to live to 100, but I’m glad I did. It’s a great achievement and I’m still enjoying my life by being independent and focusing on the things that interest me.”

Dot Akerman is 99 and lives at Anchor Hanover’s Manor Court care home in Plymouth.
Dot spends her time reading her favourite books and enjoying arts and crafts.

Speaking about her family, Dot explains how raising her children has kept her young:

“My greatest achievement in life is my family; I feel so happy to be able to watch my children grow up and begin lives of their own. It’s kept me young, and I can’t wait for my 100th birthday next year!”

Finally, Theresa Ryan (who is an incredible 104!) lives at Anchor Hanover’s Manor Court care home in Plymouth and shares her life motto:

“I am happy to have lived, and still be living, such a good life and to still have loved ones around me. My motto in life is ‘always be kind to others, work hard and be happy’, and it’s helping me live a long and fulfilling life.”

Tips on living a long and happy life

Joan, Dot and Theresa kindly share their secrets to living life to the full.

Be ambitious: The more you put into life, the more you get out of it. If you work hard then that attitude will keep you motivated and help you achieve great things in your life, which you can look back on with pride.

Pursue your passions: Look after yourself and your own happiness by finding time for yourself, to do what you love. Whatever you enjoy, whether it’s art, music, getting out and about or going to the theatre, your hobbies help keep your mind and body full of life.

Always be kind: To yourself and others, and try to help out as best you can. Not only will this help other people but you’ll also feel good, and you'll find yourself enjoying life more.

Theresa---Now

Be content: Growing older and learning from life's experiences is a journey that has its ups and downs, but being at peace with yourself and celebrating all the positives in your life is the most important thing.

Eat well: Take the time for some old-fashioned cooking. Make sure you include veggies in your everyday meals, they’re key to a long and happy life!

Stay sociable: Try to keep in close touch with family and friends, and also build new friendships along the way. Having good people around you feels great at any age, so make sure you value the people you have in your life and the memories and adventures you share with them.

Spend time with younger generations: We can learn so much from our children’s and grandchildren’s generations. We’ve got so many differences we can all share with each other and learn from. Spending time with other generations has helped keep us active, aware and connected to the world.

Keep active: As much as you can, spend some time in the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite like having some fresh air and it also helps keep you fit and healthy, and helps you meet new people.

Sage advice for all of us. Which of these tips will you be working on in 2019?


For some older people, this time of year can lead to loneliness. If this is affecting you, or someone you know, you can find support on counselling-directory.org.uk.

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