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Inspirational elderly figures in the media

27th May 2014

While many still associate people as being mainly inactive in old age, there are people all over the world who have been proving that idea completely wrong. As well as improving the attitudes of younger generations towards the elderly, their long-standing portrayal in the media and high regard in the public eye is also helping to raise awareness of illnesses or problems that can happen as we get older – such as rheumatoid arthritis and dementia. Here are some of the best well-known figures who don’t let old age stop them from doing what they love.

Dame Judi Dench
Born back in December 1934, Dame Judith Olivia Dench first made her professional debut in 1957 and has been a revered name in English film, stage theatre and television ever since. She first made her name in stage theatre, making a series of appearances in shows by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre Company to become one of the most popular actresses of her time.

While her catalogue of film appearances is a long way shorter than that of the stage, her appearances as M in six James Bond films, including Goldeneye, The World is Not Enough and Skyfall, mean that she is perhaps best known for her work in front of the camera.

In a recent interview, Dame Dench stated that she has to take memory pills every morning in order to remember her lines in her old age. Now aged 79, she also has to have somebody read the scripts for her because she has macular degeneration – a condition which causes her to have one dry and one wet eye.

Sir David Attenborough
With a staggering 62 years in the broadcasting business, Sir David Attenborough is regarded as a national treasure in Britain and was even named one of the 100 Greatest Britons in a UK-wide vote. now 88 years old, his long-standing career in production means that he is the only person ever to have won a BAFTA in black and white, colour, HD and 3D.

He is perhaps best known for ‘The Life Series’, a collection of productions that culminated in a survey of all life on our planet. Attenborough also narrated every one of the 352 episodes of Wildlife on One, a BBC One series that featured from 1977 until 2005.

Fauja Singh
While most 89-year-olds like nothing more than relaxing, Fauja Singh thought it would be the perfect time to start marathon running as a means to battle depression following the death of his wife and eldest daughter. He is the record holder for the fastest 90-plus marathon runner, completing 2003’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon in just 5 hours and 40 minutes when he was 92. Fortunately for Mr Singh and other people who are hoping to stay independent and active in later life, walk in showers and baths from Handicare are perfect for soothing aching muscles and for easy bathing after any physical activity.

He is also the World-record holder in his age bracket, completing the London Marathon in six hours and two minutes in 2003. While he retired from competitive running last year aged 103, Singh has said that he will continue running for his health and to raise money for charity.

Singh says the secret to his longevity and physical fitness in his old age is down to the fact he does not consume alcohol or smoke, whilst also following a simple vegetarian diet. When speaking about running a marathon, Singh says that the first 20 miles are not difficult, but he talks to god for the last six!

Image Credit: Johan Edwin Heupel (

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.