Web_G133913By Gav Ross

“THE public message of ageing sucks!” This bold declaration, spoken by wellness coach Marcus Pearce, caused 50 heads to nod in agreement when a sizeable crowd of elderly residents and their carers packed out Bass Coast Shire Council chambers last week for a motivational seminar. Marcus, one of the youngest people in the room by several decades, said a “youth-obsessed mass media culture” causes much of the older population to question their role and importance in society.

If you listen to newspapers and current affairs program, Marcus explained, you’re being pushed to believe that every person a few years into retirement is at major risk of various health problems and suffering dementia. “Dementia isn’t a normal part of ageing,” Marcus told his audience. “Don’t buy into the stereotype.” A co-founder of 100 Not Out – a podcast giving tips on ‘mastering the art of ageing well’ – Marcus recommended pensioners in attendance to exercise because they enjoy it, not because they feel they have to, and to understand that some things in life, such as stress, are unavoidable, no matter how old you are. “Avoiding stress is like trying to avoid taxes,” he said. “It all comes down to how you manage that stress.”

A series of video clips played on a projector screen provided added inspiration, as Marcus used 104 year-old athlete Ruth Frith, footy legend Tom Hafey and holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer as examples of people who have remained young at heart. Marcus’s engaging and humorous presentation was followed up by an informative speech from YMCA Wonthaggi fitness instructor Jenny Merrick, who demonstrated a few easy exercise  moves that can even be done while sitting down. Sam Wightman, the council’s strategic and quality coordinator, said she was very pleased with the turnout to last Wednesday’s seminar, which was organised to encourage seniors to remain connected with their community. The 100 Not Out podcast can be found on iTunes or by visiting www.thewellnesscouch.com.