Getting older doesn’t automatically mean poor health. Many older adults enjoy very good health. Preventive measures like healthy eating, exercising, and managing stress can help reduce the risk of chronic disease or injuries later in life.
Healthy eating and nutrition
Good food is essential for good health, whatever age you are. Eating a balanced diet will not only keep you healthy but also reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Age UK have produced a Healthy eating guide which can be printed off. You can also find out more about healthy eating on the NHS website and visit change4life to get ideas aimed at helping you to lead a healthier life.
Losing weight is not a natural part of getting older and undernutrition can lead to illness. If you, or someone you are caring for, is losing weight and you are concerned, you should speak to your GP. Your local pharmacist may also be able to give you some advice.
BAPEN have developed a simple online self-screening tool you can use along with advice to follow if you are at risk of becoming malnourished. They also have information and advice about nutrition including a printable advice sheet with simple tips on how to get the most nutrition from the food you are eating.
If you are finding it difficult to cook for yourself or to shop, see our section on Meals deliveries.
Regular exercise has many health benefits for muscles, joints, confidence and well being. Specific exercises that improve strength, balance and coordination are the most beneficial for reducing the risk of falls.
Read the NHS Physical activity guidelines for older people. For those with less mobility, there are some simple exercises to do while seated which you can do at home.
Balance exercises are a great way to improve stability. Visit Hampshire County Council’s Balance exercises page to find details of balance exercise classes near you. Contact the Falls Prevention Physical Activity Coordinator for more information by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask your doctor to refer you to a physiotherapist for advice on which exercises would be best for you.
If you are between 40 and 74, make sure you go along to your NHS Health Check when you are invited.
Many pharmacies and gyms have ‘Wellness kiosks’ where you can check your blood pressure and weight.
Everyday First Aid
The British Red Cross offer free everyday first aid sessions across Hampshire. These last for four hours and cover the essential skills you may need in an emergency.
NHS online tests and tools
Take the How Are You? quiz created by Public Health England for an overview of your current health and wellbeing.
This BMI calculator can show you whether you're a healthy weight for your height, and if you're overweight. It also advises what your daily calorie range should be so you can lose weight.
Take the online heart age test to see what your risk of getting heart disease or stroke is. Find out if you're at risk of kidney disease with this quick and simple test.
Find out if you're at risk of type-2 diabetes with this quick and simple test.
Depending on where you live and any conditions you have (such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis), it may be possible to have routine podiatry (also known as chiropody) treatment on the NHS. You should speak to your GP about this.
If you do not qualify for free treatment, you can search for a podiatrist (chiropodist) in your area on the College of Podiatry website or telephone 0207 234 8620.
Age Concern Hampshire offers a toe nail cutting service. Clinics are available in their Wellbeing Centres as well as doctors’ surgeries and community centres. Initial consultations include a foot care kit of a file and clippers which can be kept at home. For more information contact 01329 842481.
Managing at home can be harder as you get older, especially if you become frail or have mobility problems.
See our Managing at home section, for advice and information on:
Looking after yourself
House, garden and pet care
Staying safe in your home
Buying help at home
See our Equipment and adaptations section for information on
Equipment around the house
Adaptations to your home
See our Getting out and about section for a wealth of information and ideas about getting out and socialising. This includes information about community transport and help for older drivers.
Loneliness and social isolation can affect everyone. If you are older, you may be particularly vulnerable due to loss of friends and family, reduced mobility or limited income.
Being lonely has a significant effect on your health and wellbeing and your quality of life. The reasons why you are feeling lonely may have been out of your control. But getting older does not mean that you have to accept feeling lonely. There are people who are there to help you and things that you can do.
Talk to someone
Age Concern Hampshire have a Freephone Information and Advice Line - 0800 328 7154. This is staffed by highly trained volunteer advisors. They can offer advice and tell you about local social clubs and activities. It is open from Monday to Friday from 10am to 3pm.
The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people. It is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Phone 0800 4 70 80 90.
Get out and about
Try to get out of the house to meet other people. If you are frail or have mobility problems, this may seem difficult but there is a lot of help available. See the information in our Getting out and about section.
Try searching our Community directory for groups and activities in your area.
Computers - getting online
The internet provides new ways to stay in touch with people and to access information
- You can email people. This is quicker and more convenient than using the postal system.
- ‘Skype’ is a free phone and video messaging service you can use on a computer. It is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family who do not live near you.
- ‘Social media’ websites like Facebook are a good way to connect with friends and family. There are also Facebook ‘groups’. You may find a group for people who share a common interest with you.
If this information has been printed for you by a friend or relative, it may be because you do not have access to a computer. You might like to be able to find information for yourself but do not know how to use the internet.
- Computers are available to use, free of charge, for all library card holders in Hampshire Libraries. They also offer Computer courses and events including one-to-one sessions for beginners. Call the Library Service on 0300 555 1387.
- Age Concern Hampshire run computer courses at a number of local centres. A donation of £4.50 is appreciated to help cover costs. Telephone 0800 328 7154.
- Carers Together runs Computer cafe mornings in Romsey. Cost: £2.00 per morning to include tea and coffee. Telephone 01794 519495.
- Surrey libraries have a 'digital buddy' scheme offering one to one support.
Hampshire Superfast Broadband - If your property is not included in the current superfast broadband programme and you can only access a speed of 2Mbps or less, there is a government scheme in place to help you access better broadband.
Good planning will help make sure you or your family are ready to meet any of the costs that might arise. It will also allow you to provide for your loved ones and ease the burden on them. Comprehensive advice is available from the Money Advice Service about Planning for illness, old age and death including information about how to fund your long-term care.
It may also be a good idea to think about advance health care planning. Anyone can plan for their future care, whether they are approaching the end of life or not. Advance care planning can let people know your wishes and feelings while you're still able to. The NHS website has information about Planning ahead for the end of life.