Pope Benedict prepares for retirement as His Holiness

Pope Benedict prepares for retirement as His HolinessPope Benedict is set to begin his well-earned retirement this week, and the final preparations for him are currently being put in place. As well as ensuring that he has a suitable home with stairlifts, it has been announced that he will continue to be known as ‘His Holiness’ but will have to return the red leather shoes which are a recognisable papal symbol.

Pope Benedict shocked many across the world when he announced that he would be resigning from his role this week, becoming the first pope in 600 years to step down from his position. The decision to keep his title and continue to wear the white papal robes was made by Benedict after consulting with others in theVatican.

Retirement will allow Pope Benedict to spend his days away from the spotlight, instead meditating and praying within the walls of the Vatican. The decision of who the next pope will be has yet to be made, but 115 cardinals will soon be visiting Rometo hold a vote.


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Indian train stations to be more accessible thanks to stairlifts

Indian train stations to be more accessible thanks to stairliftsTrains stations in India are soon to be redeveloped to make it easier for older people to navigate around some of the busiest stations in the country. Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister for Railways, announced this week that a number of escalators and curved stairlifts will be installed at some of the busiest train stations in India.

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87-year-old DJ keeps on filling the dancefloors

Heading out to nightclubs may be thought of by many as a hobby that is only meant for the young, but one West Bromwich DJ is showing the world that it’s all about being young at heart that really counts.DJ record decks

Albert Taylor is now 87 years of age, but his advancing years have done nothing to suppress his appetite for great music and getting people dancing, as he continues to spin the discs at many venues around the West Midlands.

Thought to be the oldest DJ in the country, Albert provides the soundtrack for hundreds of similarly spritely revellers across the area, with his most regular gig being at the Goldfield Court housing complex, where he has also just hosted a Valentine’s Day disco.

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Pensioner and younger husband renew wedding vows

A couple who made national headlines when they married in 2005 have renewed their wedding vows seven years on in a bid to prove to critics that their love ‘has no barriers’.bride & groom wedding cake figurines

Simon and Edna Martin were aged 32 and 70 respectively when they tied the knot after first meeting at an organ concert in 2003, with some of their friends and family questioning whether the union would go the distance.

Now, however, the couple say that they love each other ‘more than ever’, and still both enjoy active and full lifestyles, which includes the regular holding of cinema and theatre events at their home in the town of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

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85-year-old to become professional filmmaker for first time

An 85-year-old man is looking to finally fulfil a career ambition that he has held for decades by starting his own film production company.tv camera in studio

Derek Mander, from the town of Chesham in Buckinghamshire, used to earn his living by commissioning and repairing commercial microwaves, but having to undergo triple heart bypass surgery after suffering from angina forced him to retire from the profession.

Now, the pensioner has pledged to put his newfound abundance of spare time to good use, enrolling on an educational course at the world famous Ealing Studios and setting up the Chiltern Documentary and Film Unit (CDFU).

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Britain’s oldest female surfer to have film based on her life

The story of Britain’s oldest female surfer is soon to be made into a surf documentary which charts her incredible achievements. At 68-years-old, Gwynedd Haslock from Cornwall is a very special woman who has achieved a great deal in her lifetime.fins on a surf board

Filmmaker Rodney Sumpter wanted to tell the story of Gwynedd, who has been an inspirational surfer since the 1950s. Since then, surfboards have developed just as much as stairlifts, and from her first attempts with a wooden belly board she is now surfing using the latest and greatest in polyurethane and fibreglass to tackle the great Cornish waves.

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Dinner lady breaks record after 48 years on the job

A 75-year-old woman has broken the record for being the longest ever serving dinner lady after spending 48 years doing her favourite job in the world. Julie Barrick has worked at the same school for almost 50 years and is not planning to retire any time soon.mixing bowl, whisk and eggs

Over her many years of dedicated service, Julie has become a much-loved figure at St Luke’s in Duston, Northampton, and during her time there she has served around 1.6 million lunches and met over 10,000 pupils who have spent their childhoods at the school. Julie loves her job at the school and, although she could easily retire and enjoy her home with the help of stair lifts, she says that she has “always liked working here”.

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Scientists discover drug that prevents aging muscles

The quest towards finding a drug that can help prevent some of the negative aspects of aging has got one step closer after scientists discovered that a chemical reversed muscle wastage in mice.

The very idea of this gives promise for us as we get older, with the potential for muscle weakening to be less of a problem for us, keeping our bodies strong and fit, with only the occasional use of stairlifts.

A team of researchers from Britain and the USA began by investigating how stem cells in muscle repair actually damage tissue, so that the fibres divide in order to develop more new muscle fibres. As we age our muscles find it less easy to regenerate themselves and so bulging muscles are exchanged for limbs that are not as strong.

The researchers studied old mice and found that the number of dormant stem cells lessens with age, and this was traced to growing levels of a protein that stimulates cell divide: FGF2. So, as a muscle ages, the FGF2 protein continually awakens dormant stem cells, meaning that they are not being awakened when they are needed and muscle regeneration is impaired.

From this conclusion, the scientists went on to find a drug that restricted FGF2 from awakening dormant stem cells, and then went on to test this on aging lab mice. By treating the mice with SU5402, the ability to repair muscle tissue in older muscles was improved dramatically. The drug is currently only licensed for laboratory use, but this research may go on to develop a drug that is licensed for therapeutic use.

Dr Albert Basson, one of the senior researchers from King’s College London, is incredibly excited about the findings of the study which have just been published in a scientific journal, and has said that the study has been the first to uncover a process that could be responsible for the decline of muscle repair that is related to aging. He went on to say that if treatments are developed from this research, it may mean that people can continue to live “more mobile, independent lives as [we] age”.

According to Dr Andrew Black, co-author of the research, it’s all about “recovery time”, and the problem is that aging stem cells spend less time resting and more time working. Although it will still be many years before a marketable drug is on the shelves, until then we can help out our bodies and use devices to support our muscles as we get older, such as walk in baths.

Image credit: Jjv14 (commons.wikimedia.org)

Bexhill-on-Sea is the UK centre for longevity

One of the first detailed analyses of the 2012 census has showed which counties in theUKhave the largest number of centenarians, and the town of Bexhill-on-Sea has been revealed in an article by The Telegraph to beBritain’s centenarian centre.

The county of Sussex is well known for having a large percentage of people past retirement age, particularly the towns of Bexhill, Worthing andEastbourne, which occupy the top 3 spots in the list. In Bexhill in particular, 66 people have lived for over 100 years, 1,722 people are in their 90s and nearly 7,000 are in their 80s out of a total population of 90,600.

Also occupying the list of centres of longevity are West Somerset, Torbay in Devon, West Dorset, East Devon, Bournemouth in Dorset, the Isles of Scilly and theMalvern Hills. When looking at these places on a map, it quickly becomes clear what kinds of areas have populations which have the incredible benefit of nurturing longevity.

The areas are plentiful with many things, such as beautiful scenery, a leisurely pace of life, stairlifts, and fresh sea air, so it is no wonder that people choose to spend the extended leisure time that comes with retirement in these places. A general overview of the map shows thatBritain’s coastal areas in particular are popular with centenarians.

A recent survey also revealed that Bexhill is the sunniest resort in theUK, so its place as the top spot to live for centenarians is certainly well-deserved. According to Julian Porter, curator of Bexhill Museum, there is a long-running local joke that “people retire to Bexhill and then forget to die”. As Bexhill is such a beautiful, interesting and sunny place to live, one can’t help but entertain the idea that there might be an element of truth in the joke.

The analysis of the census just goes to show what we begin to appreciate with life experience, and even if we begin to use walk in baths and other such mobility aids to help us around the home, outside the home is what really makes the difference. There are plenty of areas of the country that are desirable places to live, and the map shows that it is the more naturally attractive areas of the UK that have the biggest appeal to those who have the chance to take a step back and appreciate the things in life that all too often seem to pass us by.

Image credit: Claire (flickr.com)