Live Longer Better in Cumbria Christmas List

December 9, 2022

Dear Children and Grandchildren

We don’t want to appear ungrateful for your generosity in the past or too pushy about Christmas, and birthday presents to come, but we thought you might welcome some ideas to make choosing easier, and less time consuming

Firstly we think that you have always spent too much on us in times past and in present times you need to think of your own needs first – inflation and heating costs are terrifying and our preference would be for you to dig us out at least once a week for a good brisk walk, but your time is another scarce resource we know

But we are now getting ready for the new year and our Resolutions and we have read a lot about the benefits of activity, physical and mental and how we can even reduce the risk of dementia. So we are planning a New Year’s Revolution, never mind a New Year’s Resolution, and there are gifts that could help us reduce the risk of dementia, and other nasties, and  live independently for longer and be less of a bloomin nuisance to you in the years to come 

Love from Mum and Dad

Words by Sir Muir Gray.   


For 12 days starting Monday 12 December  we will be sharing gift ideas that will increase physical, cognitive and emotional activity for the older members of your family and friendship groups, to help them to recondition, rejuvenate and reduce their risk of dementia too.  Why not make 2022 the year you give gifts that enable the older adults in your life to live longer better in 2023.

Day 1

Alternative gift idea number 1 – swap a pair of slippers for a pair of trainers. Older adults should be aiming to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day for optimal health – this could be tracked through the NHS Active 10 app. Regular physical exercise may be a beneficial strategy to lower the risk of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. Exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain. Equip the older adults in your life with comfortable shoes that are fit for purpose and get them striding out with confidence in 2023.

Day 2

Alternative gift idea number 2 – a book of cryptic crosswords. Challenging your brain and mind can help to reduce your risk of developing dementia. Help to improve the cognitive ability of the older adults in your life with a challenging puzzle or two rather than a pair of socks.

Day 3

Alternative gift idea number 3 – a set of resistance bands. All adults and older adults should aim to do activities that aim to build strength on at least 2 days a week – a set of resistance bands is a cost and space effective way to give someone the necessary equipment to help them keep their muscles, bones and joints strong. Much better than a box of chocolates!

Day 4

Alternative gift idea number 4 – an electric toothbrush. A two minute timer toothbrush is the perfect way to remind an older person you care about to stand on one leg for 2 minutes when brushing their teeth – to improve their strength and balance as well as helping them to care for their gums and teeth!

Day 5

Alternative gift idea number 5 – dance classes. Dancing will boost your mood and improve your confidence as well as improving the mind-body connection and build co-ordination and balance. Another great way to reduce anyone’s risk of developing dementia in a way that a set of smellies never could.

Day 6

Alternative gift idea number 6 – turn a regular bike into an electric bike. A Swytch wheel can convert an ordinary pushbike into an electric bike to encourage even the most reluctant cyclist to get back on. Those who ride electric bikes are motivated to go further and for longer than they would without that bit of assistance and the health benefits are multiple.

Day 7

Alternative gift idea number 7 – a set of weights. Research shows that older people who start to lift weights typically gain muscle mass and strength, as well as better mobility, mental sharpness and metabolic health. So if you have the budget to set up the older adults in your life to lift weights, you should do it!

Day 8

Alternative gift idea number 8 – an education course. If you challenge your brain and mind, it slows down and can actually reverse trends commonly associated with, and blamed on ageing, namely slow decision making. So why not gift a course that will develop a new skill to someone older that you love – a new language would be great, a new musical instrument even better!

Day 9

Alternative gift idea number 9 – Peloton. Despite some concerns, Peloton cycling is a good source of exercise for an older person. Research has linked an overall decline in stress and depression with regular working out. This is of particular importance to older adults as they are often the silent victims of many mental health problems. If your budget doesn’t stretch to Peloton, there are lots of other options to help an older adult exercise at home including free on-line activities – why not take the time to research and share these as your gift?

Day 10

Alternative gift idea number 10 – gym membership or personal training sessions. Some people simply like being told what to do by a professional. Your local gym or PT will welcome anyone who wants to be more active, regardless of age or ability. It is never too soon or too late to improve your fitness.

Day 11

Alternative gift idea number 11 – tai chi or yoga classes. All adults should aim to do activities that will reduce the risk of falls and improve balance on at least 2 days a week, so gifting these types of classes will be a great start to a healthy and safe new year. A gift that shows you care far more than a bottle of wine.

Day 12

Alternative gift idea number 12 – ‘How to increase your Brainability and reduce your risk of dementia’. This book will equip and encourage the reader to live longer better – what more could anyone want?

If its too late for Christmas it could make a great New Year Revolution Gift!