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Health Tips As We Age – For Retirement and Beyond

As you age, lots of aspects of your life change, including your family life, your career, your finances, your independence and most importantly of all, your health.

Coping with these changes can at times be difficult, and it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed at times. However, when it comes to your health, there are a number of different things that you can do to help you navigate these changes throughout the rest of your life.

Health does not just include your physical health, but your mental and social health too. Unfortunately, lots of people who age neglect a lot of different aspects of their life and their health.

Whilst the rest of the world continues to become more connected than ever, those over a certain age can easily feel left out and left behind. This not only brings anxiety and fear, but social isolation too.

Many of these anxieties and fears also stem from health issues. However, with just a few small changes, you can lead a healthier and more positive life.

Staying healthy as you age is important for a whole host of reasons. The reality of modern-day Britain is that people are retiring a lot older than they used to.

This means that most of us are working until our late 60’s, if not early 70’s before we retire. As a result of this, it’s becoming more and more important to enjoy the retirement years that you do have.

In order to do this, there is a lot of pressure to be in good health during your retirement years.

In addition to this, grandparents are also becoming a more crucial and vital part of the family, with many Grandparents looking after their grandchildren during the school holidays, or even before or after school. This also means it’s important to stay healthy as you get older.

However, if you want to benefit from an equity release scheme, then you must also be in good health.

Lots of equity release schemes will only allow you to qualify if you are fit and healthy, and do not suffer from any serious health conditions or concerns.

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Common Health Issues as We Age

Unfortunately, as we age a lot of people suffer from a number of issues. In addition to this, we are also suffering from an ageing population.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population aged 60 or over will double from 12% to 22% [1].

By the time we hit 2030, a staggering 1 in 6 people will be aged 60 or over. By this time, the world’s population of people aged 60 years or over will hit 2.1 billion. [1].

In fact, the number of people aged 60 or over will actually outnumber children aged 5 years or younger for the first time [1]. This results in a whole host of social and health problems. Some of these health problems and issues are listed below.

1. Memory Loss

As you age, people often find that their memory simply isn’t what it used to be. This can create a whole host of impacts on your life.

Whilst forgetfulness can be a normal part of the ageing process. However, when an individual starts to make poor judgments, struggles with everyday tasks and starts to frequently misplaces things, then this might be a sign of a more serious problem [3].

Memory loss can also contribute to other problems, such as depression, anxiety and day-to-day stress as life becomes a little bit harder.

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2. Poor Eyesight

As you age, your eyesight will naturally get worse. For many people, this means a simple trip to the opticians for some glasses or a new prescription. However, if worsening eyesight goes untreated, it can very easily get worse.

3. Nutrition Problems

As you age, it is often easy for people to go without a meal, especially if you happen to be cooking for one and eating alone. A lot of people stop eating as well as they age, resulting in a whole host of nutrition problems.

4. Sleep Problems

People also suffer from sleep problems as they get older. A lot of people find that they struggle to sleep all the way through. This might be due to a weakening bladder, hot sweats or struggle to find a comfortable position.

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5. High Blood Pressure

As you get older, it is often normal for people’s blood pressure to increase. In fact, a third of all adults in the UK suffer from high blood pressure [4].

However, if you suffer from high blood pressure, then you might be at risk of suffering from the following health issues [4].

  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Increased risk of a stroke
  • Increased risk of heart failure and heart attacks
  • Vascular dementia
6. Increase Chance of Disease

As you get older, your chances of getting a disease are unfortunately increased. Some of these diseases include cancer, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia and osteoporosis.

7. Social Isolation

Social isolation also creates a huge impact on the health of an individual. This creates a whole host of psychological issues, from depression to anxiety and paranoia.

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The Impacts of An Ageing Population

An increasingly ageing population creates a whole host of effects on individuals and society. Some of these impacts are listed below.

1. An Increasing Retirement Age

As more and more people are living for longer, people are also working for longer. As a result of this, the retirement age is also increasing. This means that the state pension is getting older and older, recently increased from 65 to 66. This means a total of 55,000 people will now be in work.

2. Changing Family Structures

With more and more people living longer, family structures are changing. Often, grandparents are now moving into their children’s homes so that they can help them as they grow older [2].

3. Increasing Pressure on the NHS

An ageing population is going to mean even more pressure on the NHS to look after more and more older people as they age and grow a range of different health concerns.

4. Increased Personal Responsibility to Remain Healthy

All of these factors will influence how much responsibility individuals will need to take when it comes to their own health and well-being.

For example, less and fewer people now smoke than they did 50 years ago, due to an increased sense of personal responsibility.

However, there needs to be more educated when it comes to how individuals can look after themselves and their health as they age. Below are a number of different ways individuals can look after themselves as they grow older and live for longer.

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Ways to Remain Healthy as You Get Older

Below, we outline ways to remain healthy as you grow older:

1. Get active

Exercise is by far one of the biggest and best things you can do to remain healthy.

Although it might seem difficult and intimidating to go for a run or visit the gym as you get older, it will decrease the chances of you getting a serious health condition and will improve your overall day-to-day health.

According to studies carried out by the National Institute on Aging, exercising frequently helps in the following ways [5].

  • Improving your strength
  • Improving all over fatigue and energy levels
  • Improving your balance
  • Decreasing your chances of having a serious fall
  • Managing diseases such as arthritis, heart disease
  • Decreasing your chances of having a stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and types of cancer including breast and colon cancer
  • Improving your quality of sleep
  • Helping you to maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduces your blood pressure
  • Improves your flexibility and overall movement
  • Improves some parts of your cognitive function
  • Improving your overall mood
  • Decreasing your chances of getting depression and anxiety

Although it might be intimidating to try something new for the first time, exercising will quickly feel like a normal and everyday part of your routine and one that is well worth the benefits.

As you get older, the NHS recommends that you should try to exercise at least twice a week, and aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week.

Below are some ways you can exercise, without putting too much strain on your joints or muscles.

  • Carry light to moderate weights
  • Yoga
  • Resistance bands
  • A step machine
  • A cross trainer
  • Swimming
  • Pilates
  • Tai chi
2. Stay connected

Whilst everyone’s different, staying connected as you get older becomes increasingly more difficult as you age.

However, a huge amount of studies show that staying connected and maintaining positive and healthy relationships contributes to our overall well-being immensely.

On the other hand, social isolation and loneliness lead to a series of health issues and risks as you age, including depression and social anxiety.

There are a whole host of reasons why individuals struggle to maintain social relationships as they age. For example, this includes retirement, loss and bad health.

There is a whole host of evidence that shows that social connectivity improves brain health immensely, improving cognitive function and thinking skills.

A healthy social life will also help individuals to get out of the house and exercise more, without even realising it. For example, even visiting a friend for a coffee in town will ensure that you get your steps in.

In order to stay connected, you should join a local club, class or social group in your local area.

You could join a leisure club, the local community centre group or venture to your local college or university for a night class in something that you have always wanted to do.

If you are religious, then try to attend Church on Sundays, and even venture to the community centre for afternoon tea and lunch after mass.

You could also volunteer to help out a local charity or group that would benefit from your help, such as a local reading group, soup kitchen or food bank.

If that simply is not for you, then you could always try a support group, in person or over the phone or zoom.

If you benefit from friendly and supportive neighbours, then why not make a habit of popping round once a week for a cup of tea or some cake, or invite them round to your house or garden for a good catch-up.

If you are technologically literate, then why not join Facebook or other online platforms to help you to connect with old friends or family members.

You could also consider investing in a pet, who might provide comfort and support for you if you are feeling lonely and isolated.

Often, this will ensure that you get out of the house on a day-to-day basis and provide you company for when you need it.

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3. Manage your diet

Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy for older people to neglect their diet as they get older.

Often, widows tend to stop cooking as they see no point in simply cooking for one. Once children and family move out or no longer come around for tea time, it can be incredibly easy for individuals to stop making an effort when it comes to their meals.

Often, they will cook whatever is cheap, quick and easy. Unfortunately, these meals aren’t always the most nutritious.

If you’re cooking alone for one, then make sure you are still eating three meals a day, and make sure these meals are as nutritious and tasty as possible. After all, you owe it to yourself to enjoy food and cooking.

A lack of nutritious meals as you get older not only causes mobility issues but also contributes to teeth and gum problems, a weakened immune system and a lack of energy.

You should try to add passion back into your cooking. For example, you should start to grow your own food, try some new recipes and cook for family, friends or neighbours.

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4. Find meaning and joy

Finding meaning and joy in your everyday life is also an incredibly important part of staying healthy as you get older.

Although as you age you might lose your job, lose touch with people and feel isolated, this doesn’t mean that you cannot find joy in the everyday.

Why not try to go for a walk? Bake a cake? Go pick up some fresh flowers from your local supermarket.

You could also try to pick up on a neglected hobby that used to provide you with joy and pleasure. You could also try to learn a new skill you have always wanted to try, like acting, singing or playing a musical instrument.

You could also book a trip somewhere new and exciting, whether it’s for a month or just a few days.

Going for walks in nature is also a great way to find joy in the everyday. Why not go for a walk to your local park, or join a local walking or hiking group?

When it comes to finding joy in life, it doesn’t need to be extraordinary. Finding joy in the everyday can and will provide you with a healthier and more positive everyday life as you get older.

The possibilities are endless. The important thing is to find activities that are both meaningful and enjoyable for you.

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5. Look after your feet

Believe it or not, looking after your feet can have a huge impact on both your physical and mental health.

Your feet are an incredibly important part of your body, and you should make an effort as you get older to look after them and make sure that they are as healthy and comfortable as possible.

For example, below is a list of different ways you can help yourself and your feet as you age:

  • Stop smoking
  • Manage your cholesterol levels
  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Manage your blood sugars
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Wear comfortable footwear that is not too big or too small
  • Make sure that you keep an eye on your toenails, cut them regularly and make sure that they do not become infected
  • Try to use a thick moisturiser on a frequent basis
  • Go to visit a foot doctor if you need to

It is also important to note that if you suffer from diabetes, then you might also suffer from different foot problems, which in the most serious of cases can lead to amputations if not managed correctly.

As you age, it is incredibly important to look after your feet for overall physical and mental health.

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6. Manage your stress

As you age, it is incredibly common for stressful situations to feel too much. They not only take a toll on your body, but your mind too. You might find yourself becoming more worried about your health, other people, being on time or organising the simplest of tasks.

Sometimes, these stresses can become chronic and can put a massive strain on your mind and body. Often, stress can compound and snowball into poor health, which can easily become too much for the individual.

In order to manage and combat your stress, make sure you are getting enough sleep every night. You should also make sure that you are eating enough, drinking enough water and asking for help whenever you need it.

7. Take the right vitamins

If you are over 50 years old, then you should be taking a whole host of vitamins and minerals to help you age well.

Whilst your doctor and local GP should be able to tell you what vitamins you need and should be taking, below is a list of some common vitamins you should be taking as you age.

  • Calcium – which helps you to keep your bones strong to avoid bone loss
  • Vitamin D – which helps to keep your muscles healthy
  • Vitamin B6 – which helps to keep your red blood cells healthy, found in potatoes, chicken and bananas
  • Vitamin B12 – which helps to keep your red blood cells and nerves healthy

It is important to ask your local GP which vitamins would benefit you most, and make sure that you always inform them of any changes or disturbances that you may have.

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8. Quit excessive smoking or drinking

As with all adults, you should avoid smoking and binge drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, as you age your body becomes less capable of dealing with aggressive and unhealthy substances, making you increasingly more vulnerable to the health effects that they cause.

These substances not only affect the individual’s physical health, but it also affects their mental health too.

Whilst studies by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [6] are now showing that alcohol consumption is on the rise nationally when it comes to the older generation, alcohol is connected with premature ageing, along with a whole host of health issues [6].

9. Visit the doctor if you have any doubts or concerns

One of the biggest ways you can remain healthy is by visiting your doctor if you have even the slightest concern or worry.

Although waiting lists are longer than ever, and GP appointment slots are increasingly shorter, you should never avoid asking for help if you think you are suffering from an illness.

You should also avoid googling your symptoms, as this is often unhelpful and is a form of simply putting off getting help from a professional.

If you are growing increasingly concerned about a non-urgent issue, then speak to your local GP to see if you can get an appointment. Alternatively, visit your local pharmacist.

If you suspect that you need advice sooner, then ask your local GP for a same-day appointment or ring 111 if you are unsure.

However, if you are suffering from a severe problem that is causing you pain and distress, then ring for an ambulance or visit A&E.

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10. Know your symptoms

The most effective way of treating a problem early is knowing what to look out for. You should educate yourself on a series of different, common illnesses such as bowel cancer, lung cancer and diabetes.

If you are suffering from a number of different symptoms, then do not hesitate to speak to your local GP about your symptoms and concerns. You will be listened to, and you will get the help you need.








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