One of the parts I really enjoy about our research is being able to share the wisdom and insight of our focus groups and particularly the octogenarian pathfinders. They are ‘showing the way’ for the generations that follow as more and more of us live to 80 and beyond.

Here are some of the recent insights they offered when discussing optimizing their health:

Raise your awareness

Pathfinders don’t wait for symptoms to show – they know their family’s medical history and started early – looking for the warning signs and symptoms.

One ‘blue light’ trip to hospital is enough – to avoid an extended visit to A&E keep near at hand a written note of medical history, known conditions, medications and treatments. Your stay will be shortened by giving the Emergency Doctors the information they needed.

Successful Pathfinders all know their vital signs and what is ‘normal for them’.

Better information

Thereare two approaches here. Gadget lovers invested in activity trackers, heart rate monitors, blood pressure monitors, thermometers and intelligent scales. As a result they are far better informed about themselves than ever before and alert to changes.

In practice however, most pathfinders didn’t bother, they used their belt to tell them when it was time to stop eating.

Preventative measures – lifestyle choices

Be they ‘better informed’ or ‘more aware’ successful pathfinders knew their bodies and acted.

Stiffness, aches and pains together with all that was measured and monitored told them when it was time to act – and that’s they did. By contrast their less successful colleagues ignores the signs and said that they had ‘suffered in silence’.

By the way, more often than not the solution was not medical intervention – daily walks, pilates, a game of tennis or a round of golf were all offered as potential solutions to a range of common ailments.

Key to optimising health was a willingness to read the signs and then do something….!