The best parts of growing older

2024 State and Territory Senior Australian of the Year recipients, a group of nine older people standing together and smiling, dressed in formal and semi-formal attire. Sourced from National Australia Day Council

What comes to mind when you think about the benefits of getting older?

For the 2024 Senior Australian of the Year recipients, ageing means having established relationships, acquired wisdom and doing what brings them joy.

2024 NSW Senior Australian of the Year John Ward enjoys living life to the fullest and doesn’t see age as a barrier to doing what he loves.

‘It's a time when you know what you like and you tend to be less distracted by things that you know are not going to give you long-standing pleasure,’ John said.

‘You know what sort of activities are enjoyable and beneficial, you’ve established habits that are productive and healthy, and hopefully have relationships that are enduring,’ he added.

The gift of age provides a wealth of knowledge, skills and life experience that can benefit oneself and others.

This is well known by Yalmay Yunupinu, 2024 National Senior Australian of the Year, who enjoys passing her knowledge onto others.

‘I want to use my expertise with other people and try and make them who they want to be in the future,’ said Yalmay.

2024 WA Senior Australian of the Year Charlie Bass and 2024 VIC Senior Australian of the Year Glenys Oogjes also appreciate being able to share their wisdom.

‘My favourite part [of ageing] is that you just get more knowledge – hopefully more wisdom – that you can pass on to others,’ Charlie explained.

‘I feel that I've gained wisdom through doing things… I can mentor others and I love to be able to give people sound advice and see that it helps them along,’ Glenys said.

John, Charlie and Glenys shared the advice they would give their younger selves if they had the chance.

‘What we mainly need is someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to,’ John explained.

‘No matter how old you get, just keep on learning something every day,’ said Charlie.

‘The advice I’d give my younger self about ageing well is to be patient,’ Glenys added. ‘Change takes a while, and you need to bring people along with you and inspire them to change.’

An important part of ageing well is looking after your body and mind. This may include physical activity, exercise, nutrition and managing stress.

2024 ACT Senior Australian of the Year Ebenezer Banful OAM and 2024 QLD Senior Australian of the Year Reverend Dr Lindsay Burch shared their advice about looking after your health, and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you age.

‘My younger self will be told to exercise, eat healthy, take life easy and enjoy life,’ said Ebenezer.

‘Try and enjoy good health and work your way through every situation you're confronted with,’ added Lindsay.

To learn more, go to the 2024 Senior Australian of the Year recipients – Positive ageing (3 minute video) or visit Positive ageing to find out what support is available to help people in Australia age well.

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The Department of Health and Aged Care acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.