YOU'RE never too old to try something new and never too young to start preparing for your later years.

Growing old is an inevitability of life, so why not plan for and embrace your future and make a start today?

Planning for later life is not just about financial matters, although pensions and savings are important.

It’s about your quality of life and making sure you do what you can now, to help you achieve the best possible lifestyle as independently as possible, as you grow older.

We are living longer these days so it’s important to think about what we can all do now to ensure we can get the most out of life as we age.

We are working with Aging Well in Oxfordshire, a partnership initiative with Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Age UK and Oxford University, designed to help us all plan for and make the most of our later life.

This campaign links to the shared Health and Wellbeing Strategic Vision for Oxfordshire, ‘To work together in supporting and maintaining excellent health and wellbeing for all residents in the county’.

There are four key priorities within this; a good start in life, living well, ageing well and tackling wider issues that determine health and wellbeing.

Ageing well is all about people keeping themselves active and healthy, staying connected in the community, living in an environment which adapts to their needs and having support to access information and care when needed.

We all want to live life well no matter what age we are.

At Cherwell District Council, we are in a strong position to contribute to this campaign as we can use the learning from three years work on the Healthy New Town Programme in Bicester.

Here we have already started to see the benefits of Healthy Place Shaping, the process of creating sustainable, well designed and thriving communities where healthy behaviours are the norm.

People’s needs change as they grow older and we have been looking at ways to make sure that Bicester changes to meet the needs of our older residents.

Working with our partners, we have been considering our environment and infrastructures at the build stage to see how we can improve accessibility and community safety. We want to develop truly inter-generational caring communities not only within Bicester but across the district.

What we have found is that simply providing opportunities for exercise and healthy past times is not enough, people need to be activated to use them, so this is where we have been working closely with community groups, leisure providers, schools and businesses to support residents to access these opportunities.

Now is the time for an attitudinal shift in the way we approach our golden years of adulthood.

It’s never too late to try something new but the key to success is to make sure you focus on something that is fun, involves friends or family and that you enjoy.