The ‘Healthy Ageing’ afternoon , on the first day of Spring, held at the very congenial Newington Community Centre, saw an audience of over 100 enthusiastic people well rewarded for their attendance. Quite a few of them were not in the ‘Senior’ category, and they would not have gone home disappointed either.

There were highly experienced experts, most being specialists in their field, speaking on a range of most useful topics, spread over four hours, with a well catered-for break. The event was held in two separate, well-filled rooms, with each lecturer presenting their message twice. Questions followed, of which there were plenty.

A recurring theme more or less throughout, was the importance of a good diet. Avoiding ‘discretionary’ food, which is a polite word substitute for ‘junk food’, was key to health in so many ways. We learned for example, one reason as to why it is hard to break long-held bad food habits, such as too much salt. That is, it takes our taste buds 3 months to be replaced; whereafter, reprogramming has a greater chance of being accomplished. Patience and persistence are therefore required!

From the importance of teeth, particularly the gums as one gets older, and the controversies of amalgam fillings and fluoride, to maintaining bone health, and bodily fitness, so that we are less prone to osteoarthritis and fractures from falls, there was a wealth of information for everybody. Anyone hoping for a favourable word on behalf of smoking or obesity, certainly didn’t receive any encouragement!

Also, health of eyes, hearing, and lung function received excellent coverage. A geriatrician (consultant for the elderly) mapped out gender differences in disease prevalence etc., plus the need for appropriate exercise, for a number of reasons; not the least of which is assisting in Dementia prevention. Diabetes avoidance was stressed by several of the doctors. The tough topic of cancer was nicely addressed by an oncologist, along with a suggested attitude to its diagnosis, in handling that condition.

Finally, Meditation was given centre stage, where modern brain and neurological research was clearly explained, and Swami’s stressing its necessity was beautifully matched by a statement of the Dalai Lama. He said: “If every child was taught and practised meditation, the world’s problems would be solved in a generation”.

So ended a half-day, that was splendidly organised. Swami made sure the weather was kind, and I feel sure one and all went on their way, better and very usefully informed with lots of take-away ideas for beneficial action.