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Senior Health

senior health

Senior health brings with it various conditions and illnesses but there are ways to reduce the risk of common ailments or treat them at home. In this article, we look at the most frequent ailments, what you can do to prevent illness, and the health tests and medicines available for use at home.

The majority of people in the UK are living longer, which is great news. But, as the well-known saying goes, it is ‘quality not quantity’ that makes the difference. The aim is to to reach a good old age and be able to enjoy your senior years free of illness or suffering.

Exercise, diet and smoking in older age

For some people, getting old means more relaxation but be careful; a sedentary lifestyle can cause numerous senior health problems. After the age of 45 many people will notice weight gain happens more easily, too, which brings with it other health risks. It is therefore important that you stay physically active.

Regular exercise helps to reduce the effects of osteoporosis and arthritis – two common conditions in later life. Exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, Pilates and aerobics can help to keep your bones strong.

You should aim to exercise three times a week for approximately half an hour per session. Don’t over-exercise as you may end up doing yourself more damage – aim for balance to suit your personal situation. If you haven’t exercised for a while, speak to your doctor about the safest ways to get started.

Here are a few easy ways to stay active without much effort to improve your senior health:

  • Walk upstairs instead of using the lift or escalator.
  • Take up gardening, raking leaves, etc.
  • Get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the distance.
  • Park further away from the supermarket.
  • Wash the windows.
  • Walk the dog, If you haven’t got a pet consider getting one, as they bring multiple health benefits. Read this article about how pets can help you live longer.
  • Take grandchildren to the park for a walk.
  • Take up a new activity like dancing, swimming or yoga. It’s good for the brain to learn something new, too.

It is also very important that if you smoke, it’s time to quit. It’s never too late to stop. The health risks associated with smoking tobacco are well-known but if you would like to know more, read this informative page on smoking.

Ensure you maintain a healthy diet, too. Increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, whilst reducing harmful fats and sugars from your diet will help to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. For more information on what a healthy balanced diet consists of click here.

Keep your mind active

When you reach retirement age you may find you have a lot more time so why not take up a new hobby such as learning an instrument or taking a further education course? It is important to keep your mind active as you get older and you can do this by playing cards, writing letters, doing jigsaws, crafting or completing crosswords.

Socialising is important for senior health, too. Keep in touch with friends and family, get out and enjoy life! It’s your time to make the most of that freedom and have some fun!

Senior health tests

After the age of 65 you should have your eyesight checked regularly. NHS sight tests are free to people over 60 every two years. You should also visit your doctor at least once a year to have your blood pressure and hearing checked, even if you are in good health.

Women should continue to practice breast awareness and check their breasts every month for lumps or irregularities. A routine X-ray, known as a mammogram, is available on the NHS for women aged between 50 and 64 by invitation, at three-yearly intervals. Women over 64 are not automatically invited for screening but screening is available on request.

Men should look out for possible symptoms of prostate problems such as difficulty or pain when urinating or needing to urinate more frequently, especially at night. By the time men reach their 70’s, 40 per cent will have symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

If you are over 75 years old, make sure you visit your doctor or local pharmacist once a year for a flu jab. The best time to get immunised is in late September. If you are under 75 but have any of the following, you should also have the flu jab:

  • chronic respiratory disease, including asthma and bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • low immunity due to disease or cancer treatment.

However, if you don’t fall into any of these categories and would like the flu jab, speak to your doctor.

Home health tests

There are various senior health tests you can use at home to monitor your health, too. Here are a few of the most popular:

Cholesterol test

Prostate test

Stomach ulcer test

If you’re worried about a particular condition, click on the specific health topics on the right of this page. If you don’t find what you need, try our search facility above, as it may be under a different section.

If the illness/condition you require information on is not on this website, then please fill out a feedback form telling us what it is you would like to see added.