One of the problems of getting older is that you know that your body is getting older and limits what you can do but you don’t know how quickly/slowly it will happen. You assume your mind will go on being the same although with increasing forgetfulness (which I think is a myth if you keep your brain active) but your body is a different matter. Younger people forget as often as we do but just accept it. From my experience body ageing seems to start at about 65 although this will be different for different people. Someone asked me the other day if I could still move furniture. I don’t know as I haven’t moved any for a while but I’ll find out as soon as I try!

Arthritis seems to be a big problem for older people. For me it is in my knees and restricts me from getting down on the floor. Strictly speaking it actually makes it difficult for me to get up from the floor! We often find other physical restrictions when we try to do things we haven’t done for a while.

What started me on this train of thought is that I put in a paper to talk about ageing at a conference on ageing in Seoul in June next year. I was so keen to go I put in 4 papers and luckily all 4 have been accepted with 1 presentation and 3 posters. I am always conscious that flying is a very climate unfriendly habit and I try not to do it unless I can justify it. With 4 contributions accepted I now feel I can justify going to Seoul. It’s a country I am really interested in particularly because the Korean people are split in two and those in the south believe those in the north hate them (although many try to escape to the south). The South Koreans seem to have taken to the modern technological world with a vengeance. What about any who have been left behind, such as the poor and elderly? I hope I will have the opportunity to find out. It will be interesting to compare it with China which I also visited briefly 4 years ago.

I have traveled a bit in Australia this year but haven’t been overseas for a while and I wonder how my body will cope. The China trip was spoilt a bit by an upset stomach which was apparently caused by an allergy to their cooking oil but I still enjoyed the trip and am really pleased I went. I wonder how my body will cope this time and in particular how user-friendly the city will be to older people? I want to look around the country a bit after the conference, not necessarily its monuments etc but mainly how its people live. In China I had the opportunity to visit an elderly Chinese lady in her 80’s in her own home in the country. It was what is called a humble home but she seemed happy. Standing with our arms around each other having a photo taken was a not to be forgotten experience. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t speak each other’s languages. What did matter was that we shared the common experience of ageing.

Seoul here I come.