The messages for older people were to keep participating in activities they enjoy and have a positive attitude.

Men advised other men to keep up their interests or take up new hobbies as they retired. Some examples were pursuing further education, playing golf, reading, writing, painting, listening to music, learning a language and gardening. This was thought to be important for mental health as you age because, as Brian X says, “you get out of life what you put into it”.

Chris believes it is important for older men to get involved in something creative that engages them mentally and physically.

Hans loves to play the piano and feels that playing a musical instrument is beneficial in your older years.

Women emphasised the importance of keeping active physically and participating in social groups. For example, they advised other older people to keep walking and perhaps join a walking club or to volunteer and help others.

Edith warns against sitting at home alone. She describes the various clubs and activities seniors can get involved in.

Some participants felt it was not their place to give advice, and others thought it was more difficult for older people to change because they can be ‘set in their ways’. Both men and women talked about the importance of having friends of various ages and plenty of company. For example, Marlene enjoys having a variety of friends from all walks of life, while Denis prefers to socialise with people his own age or older as he feels a little left behind in a group of young men.

Denis meets regularly with a group of over 65s at the pub and likes that they have things in common.

In addition to staying involved through activities, participants discussed the benefits of a positive attitude. Olga expressed this as a “wellness attitude”in that people should keep doing all the things they are capable of in order to remain independent. A common piece of advice for older people was to make the most of what you have got. In a similar sense, “getting on with it” or making the best out of whatever life throws at you was seen as an important attribute in your older years.

Charles and Lois believe that you have to make the most of life, even when confronted by serious health problems.