As the body ages, health considerations become increasingly important. Although local councils and healthcare organisations will provide local support, there are a number of things that people over the age of 65 should be aware of to keep them in optimal condition and ensure more years of active and fulfilling life.
Exercise and nutrition
Elderly people who appreciate the importance of regular exercise may simply have trouble getting started and require some assistance. Apart from using personal trainers, increasingly available for certain groups at local health centres, there are plenty of gadgets on the market to help people monitor their condition and progress.
These include everything from talking pedometers to heart rate and blood pressure monitors, specially designed for the elderly and their needs. There are also nutritional supplements available that will compensate for the reduction of some nutrients like fibres and iron that occur as we age, and these will help maintain proper levels of these in the blood and elsewhere in the body.
These days, there are numerous clubs and groups that elderly people can join to maintain an active social life. Except in the case of the completely house-bound, where other help will be available, there are usually facilities available for transport to and from the venue. Even if socialising is limited to once a week this is better than nothing and the stimulation and friendship such organised events provide is invaluable for maintaining a healthy mental outlook and maintaining a good quality of life.
Falls in the elderly are a major factor in increasing their dependence and decreasing their chances of continuing to lead an independent life. A fall and fracture often marks the point where a slow decline sets in, and so all necessary steps should be taken to prevent this from happening. Indoors, poor lighting, clutter, absence of handrails, loose rugs and pets are often the big culprits.
Outdoors, uneven walking surfaces and inclement weather can result in a life-changing fall. Poor diet, alcohol and lack of coordination can all contribute to the chances of taking a fall, and maintaining a good level of fitness can go a long way to preventing it occurring.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of memory loss in the elderly, and some form of mental deterioration usually starts setting in as the retirement age is reached and passed. This can cause upheavals all round, but unless the decline is purely clinical a few steps can be taken to arrest the onset of dementias like Alzheimer’s.
These include various brain exercises such as playing chess or doing crosswords regularly and also reading and socialising to stimulate the neural pathways and effectively keep them open and working. Starting a new hobby, learning a language and watching less TV has also been found to help.