Age UK’s top ten tips for ageing better are not just about living longer. It’s all about living healthily and happily for longer.
Eating and drinking
Having a balanced diet can help keep you healthy, give you more energy and prevent illness.
A healthy diet for older adults should be low in saturated fat and contain fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, oily fish and small amounts of low fat dairy and lean meat.
It is important to drink plenty of fluids – water, tea, coffee and fruit juice are fine but try to avoid sugary fizzy drinks.
If you drink alcohol, keep at least two days a week alcohol free and don’t exceed daily limits.
Look after your teeth
It is important to brush your teeth twice a day and to floss daily. Flossing prevents a build up of food and plaque and prevents gum disease.
Have regular dental check ups and if you wear dentures or have a bridge, ask your dentist to check that they fit correctly.
Daily exercise can help you stay strong and healthy. It can also boost your emotional wellbeing, improve your sleeping patterns and increase your energy levels,
Government guidelines recommend that older adults complete two and a half hours of moderate activity per week plus strengthening exercises twice a week.
Visit your doctor
It’s a good idea to have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. High readings can increase your risk factor for stroke and heart disease but can be treated with medication.
It is also a good idea to ask about a seasonal flu jab. Its free once you reach 65 or if you have a health condition that puts you at risk of more serious problems if you caught the flu.
Age UK have further information about other important health tests that could save your life – you can read about them here.
Many people have a vitamin D deficiency and are not aware of it. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cognitive impairment, bone problems and cardiovascular disease.
Age UK suggest that you should try to get outside in the sunshine for at least 15-20 minutes a day for a vitamin D boost.
Vitamin D can also be found in food such as eggs and oily fish. You could also speak to your doctor about vitamin D supplements.
Look after your feet
Try to keep your feet moisturised and cut your toenails straight across. Make sure you have footwear that fits properly and supports your feet.
Contact your doctor if your feet become painful, feel very hot or cold or if you have corns, bunions or ingrown toenails.
You can read more about foot care for older people here .
It can be difficult getting to sleep or staying asleep as you get older. Age UK have produced a guide to getting a good night’s sleep, you can read about it here.
Hearing and Sight Tests
Hearing loss is common in older people, so it is important to have regular hearing tests. You can speak to your GP if you have concerns about your hearing. If you need a hearing aid, some are available on the NHS. You could also contact your local hearing loss charity for support.
You should have your eyes checked every year if you are over 70 and every two years if you are under 70. This is important so that changes in your vision can be detected. Eye sight tests are free if you are over 60.
Stay in touch
Spending time with other people can stop you feeling lonely or anxious. You can read more about overcoming loneliness in our blog – Overcoming Senior Loneliness.
Give up smoking
Smoking is bad for your body and your brain.
It is linked to a range of health problems including heart disease, lung cancer and bronchitis.
Whatever age you stop smoking, your circulation, lung capacity and energy levels will improve.
Age UK have more information about stopping smoking in later life, you can read about it here.
Some information in this blog is taken from Age UK