09:30AM, Thursday 28 October 2021
Age Concern Twyford & District. From left to right: Norela Kousta, Carol Rixon, Centre manager Deborah Heffernan, Ricky Heffernan, Pat Hillman, Sally Adams. Photo by Ian Longthorne
Wokingham has the best average life expectancy rates from birth in Berkshire, according to a recent report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The latest figures from 2018 to 2020 show that the average life expectancy for the borough from birth for women is 85.49 and for men it is 82.43.
This is the highest among the six boroughs in Berkshire, with Reading and Slough coming in as the bottom two with average life expectancies from birth for women and men standing at 82.29 and 78.98 and 82.50 and 78.40 respectively.
Of all the boroughs, Reading had the lowest average for women and Slough had the lowest for men.
The average life expectancy for women in Wokingham is 3.2 per cent higher than Reading and the average for men is four per cent higher than that of Slough.
In Windsor and Maidenhead, the average for women from birth was 0.76 per cent lower than Wokingham with 84.73.
Average figures from West Berkshire were slightly higher than that of Windsor and Maidenhead, but still 0.31 per cent lower than Wokingham with 85.18.
In Bracknell Forest, the figures for women were higher than Windsor and Maidenhead, but still 0.11 per cent lower than Wokingham with an average of 85.38.
For men, West Berkshire, Bracknell Forest and Windsor and Maidenhead were only slightly lower than Wokingham, with differences of 1.08 per cent, 0.71 per cent and 0.64 per cent respectively, with figures standing at 81.35 for West Berkshire, 81.72 for Bracknell Forest and 81.79 for Windsor and Maidenhead.
Deborah Heffernan, centre manager at Age Concern Twyford & District, which falls within the Wokingham borough, said: “The majority of our members are living longer, definitely.
“We’ve got some that are nearly a hundred now.”
She added that its youngest member is 70.
Discussing why the borough has topped the Berkshire list, she added: “I think it's because they offer the elderly a lot to do, rather than just being stuck indoors.
“I think it's maybe their lifestyle and their socialising is helping. Medication might help some of them.”
Deborah explained that she believes loneliness, health and depression are some of the factors affecting life expectancy and added that she would say the numbers in Twyford were higher than the figures for Wokingham as a whole.
Describing the day centre as a ‘little social club’, she added it does lots of activities to stimulate members’ brains and ‘lifts their spirits’, including armchair exercises, quizzes, reminiscing and memory boxes.
She added: “Activities for the elderly are very important. It stimulates them and helps combat mental health issues. Activities provide the foundation for all other forms of senior wellness, decreasing the risk of stroke, cancer, depression and dementia.”
The report can be viewed at: https://tinyurl.com/8mebbcs7