A healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet, keeping physically active and staying connected to your community can help to reduce your risk of illness disease and improve your quality of life.
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
- 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:
- 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 9442 4425
- Cervical screening from 25-49 yrs every three years, from 50-65yrs every five years
- Bowel screening for men and women from 60-74yrs every two years. The free helpline number is 0800 015 2514.