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5 Essential Health Tips For Older People

1 April 2014

5 Essential Health Tips For Older People

We all know it’s important to live a healthy life, no matter what age you are. Recent news coverage of obesity in the young and the health issues facing people in their middle age due to heavy drinking are highlighting the need to look after ourselves if we want an active and illness free life.

For older people it’s even more important to take care of yourself. As we age our bodies ability to repair and replenish itself begins to fade, and what were minor niggling problems can become serious chronic conditions. Here are five essential health tips for older people.

1.     Stay Active.

This is as true at eighty as it is at eight or eighteen. Every day you should do something to keep yourself fit and healthy. The positive effects of exercise are well documented and beyond dispute. It improves your mental as well as physical wellbeing, and helps manage and limit conditions such as arthritis and even the early stages of dementia. Pick something you enjoy, that is moderately strenuous leaving you slightly out of breath. A brisk walk, going for a swim, an exercise class for older people or even some gardening are all good options.

2.     Follow A Healthy Diet.

It can be hard for older people to maintain good nutrition. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and with adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fats is essential to preventing conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes and high blood pressure. There is even some evidence that indicates certain foods and diets can help reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

3.     Get Regular Health Check-Ups.

When you’re young you tend to only visit the doctor or dentist when you have a problem. But for older people it’s really important to make sure you have regular check-ups. General checks on your heart, blood pressure and blood sugar levels are important as older people are at greatly increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke. Our eyesight and hearing also generally deteriorate so be sure to get these checked on at least an annual basis. Likewise with your teeth, don’t neglect them and think dentures are an inevitability. Also, women should be sure to have checks for possible breast cancer, and men should do the same for prostate cancer. Your GP can advise you on these.

4.     Keep Your Weight Under Control.

Because our senses of smell and taste fade as we age, it can be easy for older people to eat a lot of salty, fatty food as well as cakes and biscuits for the quick energy fix. This can lead to weight gain, which is made worse by the natural slowing of our metabolism. This increases risk of stroke, heart attack and certain cancers, so it’s important to keep on top of this as you age.

5.     Stay Social.

Don’t let ageing stop you from getting out and about and meeting people. People often become less social as they age, for many reasons, but it leads to isolation and depression, which has a very high rate of incidence in older people. Suffering from depression also has links to a decline in our physical health, so make sure you maintain existing social contacts and also try and meet new people by joining a club relating to one of your hobbies or interests.