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Instagran!

The sight of a woman over forty, sashaying down a catwalk, is something that I thought I would never see, but savvy clothing companies, are now realising the potency of older women and how they often outspend their younger counterparts.

With our life expectancy increasing and the grey pound soaring each year, the clothes and travel industry are at last being a little more inclusive of the older consumer and what they have to offer. However, it is not enough.

Fashion

I have always been a jeans and t.shirt kind of gal, but having dipped my toe into Instagram, I have been persuaded to hit the sales and purchase a few dresses and the odd pair of summer sandals.

I have never considered myself frumpy and have always tried to embrace my age, but never succumbed to the stereotypical blue rinse brigade, which is often wrongly associated with women over fifty.

In the 70’s I helped to set almost every fashion fad and remember my poor mother, scurrying out of our local Co-op, when she saw me adorned in my braces and Dr. Martin boots. She breathed a sigh of relief when I graduated to a more sedate Crombie and white lacey tights, but recoiled when hearing ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’, belt out from my Ghetto Blaster for the tenth time!

Travel

Forget the caravan, the must-have vehicle for seniors these days are motorbikes and Saga has seen an upturn in their insurance policies for silver bikers, who are taking to the road in their hoards.

Where I live in Dorset, the coast roads are often clogged with plump older men, whose ponytails flap in the breeze, like a Sainsbury bag caught in a car door! Strange really, since it was once the Mercedes and BMW who seemed to attract the older gentleman. I often wonder if it is because when we reach a level of financial security, we chose to buy goods to reflect the kind of person we want to be, keeping a tight grip on the dreams we never managed to achieve when we were young!

Fitness

There are numerous studies, which prove the important health benefits of exercise, especially as we venture into our latter years. Regular physical activity helps to improve both our physical and mental well-being, which undoubtedly helps us to maintain our independence as we age.

Because of my busy work schedule, I tend to visit my gym during the week, between the hours of 10 and 11 am, where the majority of users are over fifty and rising. Indeed, you do not need to be a follower of ‘Love Island’, to wear stretched lycra, as increasing numbers of silver surfers are discovering the benefits of exercising in later years.

Women of today

In modern society, we have more role models for over 50 women than ever before. Women are taking control, even though we are still marginalised. We are reinventing ourselves and creating a new concept of what it means to be a senior in the modern age.

As for that image of two elderly people bent over with a walking stick, I know what I would like to do with that!

National Mental Health Week

Mental health problems can literally affect anyone, meaning that you are unable to function in your everyday life.

Signs and Symptoms

I suffered a breakdown shortly after losing my dad and I will never forget waking one morning. into a world of sheer panic and it is not an experience that I like to relive!

My body had ceased to function properly. My heart raced uncontrollably, I lost my sense of balance, my face felt numb, I could not eat, sleep and felt totally disconnected from the world I knew.

These symptoms persisted for almost a year, with little or no respite and yes, there were days when I considered a way out, not because I wanted to die, but I could see no future living in this nightmare.

My Father

I was in my late twenties when I lost my father. We worked together, we laughed together and most of all he was the rock that anchored my very existence.

My dad was hardly ever ill. He never smoked or drank and hated fatty foods, in fact he was an extremely healthy 72 year old man, with a huge heart, so it was rather ironic that it was to be the cause of his death.

I did not attend my Dad’s funeral. I was angry that he passed and left us all behind. Left me behind and I would never really recover.

Medication

I remember vividly, how my doctor advised that by referring me to a counsellor would be a stain on my medical records, so a short course of diazepam was prescribed, along with beta-blockers in an attempt to regulate my racing heart. The diazepam did offer a brief spell of normality, which soon abated as the tablets wore off. The beta blockers, however, caused me to faint on the bus home and I vowed never to use them again.

It was some weeks later when my symptoms continued to worsen that I was sent for counselling. The doctor I was to see, was actually based in a mental institution called Hill End and on my arrival, I had to fend off a woman, who desperate that I should save her from the demons, that chased her night and day and I will never forget her wailing.

It was an experience I refused to endure again, hence when someone suggested hypnotherapy, it seemed my only way forward and so my recovery began.

Getting Help

It was the love and devotion of my German Shepherd Dog Ben, who gradually walked me through the rain and into the sunlight and a short course of hypnotherapy that targeted my panic and helped me back to normality.

I must stress that hypnotherapy was not a quick fix. I felt like it helped to reprogram my mind and I would not hesitate to use it again, if ever the panic returns, which please God, it will not!