Healthy ageing

A healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet and physical activity can reduce your risk of illness and disease and improve quality of life.   While the specific ingredients of healthy ageing are different for everyone, the common factors are good mental health and the ability to manage stress. 
Tips for healthy ageing

  • Look out for any changes that may need medical attention.  If in doubt, check it out. 
  • Take advantage of screening programmes.   
  • Staying physically and socially active
  • Eating a well balanced diet
  • Maintaining your sense of purpose and your zest for life
  • Feeling positive
  • Keeping your brain sharp through hobbies and interests
  • Doing things you enjoy
  • Staying connected with friends and family if possible. Loneliness and isolation are major threats to ageing well
  • Learning to adapt to change
  • If you or a loved one is coping with a chronic illness finding a support group can be very helpful.

Some physical changes which occur as part of the normal ageing process.
The ageing process can result in the slowing down of certain functions, for example:

The ageing process can result in the slowing down of certain functions, for example:
  • Our eyesight and hearing may not be as good as before
  • Some changes may occur in our digestive system although these may not be too noticeable, appetite may decrease, constipation may occur as food passes more slowly through the system.
  • Our sense of taste and smell may not as acute as before
  • Not able to tolerate as much alcohol as before

Look out for:

  • Any changes to moles or freckles, e.g. size, colour, ragged outline bleeding
  • Sudden changes in your vision
  • Decrease in hearing especially if there is a sudden persistent reduction in one ear
  • Changes in the regularity of bowel habits – constipation/diarrhoea/blood
  • Blackout/loss of consciousness
  • Passing urine frequently, loss of weight, thirst
  • Shortness of breath

Any of these symptoms or any unexplained symptoms need to be checked out by your GP.

It is important to know:

  • After the age of 40 years it is recommended that everyone know their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • Know your height for your weight (BMI)
  • Get an eye test – eye tests are free to people over the age of 60s
  • See your dentist at least every year even if you have dentures – any red or white patches in the mouth which haven’t healed within two weeks need to be checked out
  • Get your flu injection in the Autumn

Be aware of screening programmes

  • Breast screening from 50-70yrs, every three years.
  • Women over 70yrs can make an appointment through their local screening unit.  You can contact the Northern Trust screening unit on 028 3834 7083.
  • Cervical Screening from 20-64yrs every 3-5years
  • Bowel screening - for men and women from 60-69yrs. Free helpline number is 0800 015 2514. From April 2012, this programme will be extended to include people up to the age of 71years.


Page last updated:04 February 2013