GLOWING IN THEIR GOLDEN YEARS
Women living in Chiltern are enjoying the longest retirements in England and Wales. CAMILLA GOODMAN speaks to two retired women living in Chiltern about the findings
HILTERN’S women enjoy the longest retirements in England and Wales, new research has revealed.
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics the average female from the Chiltern District area can expect to live for 24 years past their 65th birthday, an average age of 89.
This is the joint highest number of years for any group of men or women across England and Wales, tying for first place with women from Camden in North
Compared with a decade ago, women in Chiltern can look forward to an extra 3.1 years of retirement today.
Their life expectancy from the age of 65 in the years 2001 to 2003 was 20.9 years, meaning that it has increased by 15 per cent since then.
Across England and Wales the average remaining life expectancy for somebody aged 65 is 18.6 years for men and 21.1 years for women.
Although women tend to have longer retirements than men, the gap has been narrowing over the past 10 years.
Whereas today it stands at 2.5 years, back in the years 2000 to 2002 it was 3.1 years when men lived another 16.1 years past their 65th birthday and women lived 19.2 years past theirs.
Pat Semon, 71, from Little Chalfont, is a retired secretary and keeps herself busy by belonging to Chesham Townswomen’s Guild, Amersham Townswomen’s Guild and she is also chairman of the Chiltern and Castle Federation of Townswomen’s Guilds. She also works for the local branch of the MS Society. Mrs Semon,
pictured above, still uses her secretary skills by writing up the minutes from meetings of the groups she belongs to.
Mrs Semon agrees with the research.
She said: “The membership of Chesham Townswomen’s Guild is 28 and when I looked at the list the other day the majority of members are in their 80s, so I can’t disagree with the findings. I don’t know why women in Chiltern are living the longest to be honest, obviously it’s a nice area to live but I couldn’t put my finger on the reason.”
Mrs Semon has been retired for 10 years and thinks there is lots of things to do in Chiltern to keep retired women busy.
She added: “If people want to look for it then yes there’s lots of things to do. I’ve been retired for 10 years and I’ve been kept busy. I think it’s definitely good to stay active when you retire.
“I didn’t want to work in a charity shop when I retired and I thought I’ve got secretary skills so basically I joined some groups and write the minutes and that takes up a fair amount of time.
“I think there’s plenty out there to do if people go and look for it.”
Trixie Offord of Hampden Road, Chalfont St Peter, has been retired for a number of years from her career as a professional dancer that took her all over the world. She now runs fitness classes for older women three times a week in Stoke Poges and Chalfont St Peter.
Mrs Offord said: “The women of Chiltern are pretty fit so I’m not surprised by the figures. Now I’ve retired I’ve been teaching the older generation about fitness because I feel it’s important for them to keep their bodies going by keeping fit.
“However, it’s not all about fitness it’s also about healthy eating too. No one is too old to keep fit and healthy.”
Mrs Offord said she is not sure what the secret is to women in Chiltern living longer.
However, she thinks Chiltern is a great place to retire.
She added: “I’m sure there’s lots of things for retired women to do in Chiltern. I’ve not really had time to explore but I’m sure there’s lots of hikes to do and all sorts of things like that.”
KEEPING TRIM: Trixie Offord leads the exercise class. Above left, members of the Body Trim class