An awareness of the conditions that can affect older people can help you maintain health and wellbeing and retain your independence.
See below for information and links on various older people's healthcare issues:
Physical activity, and particularly training to improve strength, balance and co-ordination, can help improve your health. It can also help to reduce the risk of falls. See the physical activity page for more details.
Staying warm in winter
There is a range of information available on keeping warm and well in winter. This includes how to keep healthy, how to keep your home warm, and help from the government in the form of a winter fuel payment grant. See the winter health page for more details.
Hearing and ear care
Most people with age-related hearing loss find that they can hear relatively well in the low pitches, but do not hear so well in the higher pitches. To most people with this type of hearing loss, others might sound as if they are mumbling. They might also find it hard to hear in groups or in background noise and they might find it hard to hear speech on TV particularly if music is also on the soundtrack. The solution is to fit a digital hearing aid to the problem ear(s). Digital hearing aids are fitted routinely throughout the NHS and are on a par with good-quality private hearing aids.
The amount of ear wax produced increases with age. Its removal is mainly the domain of a GP or nurse, who use syringing when it's safe to do so. Over the counter remedies, such as sodium bicarbonate in mineral oil, will soften wax, but do not generally remove it.
See the Action on Hearing Loss website for information and support for people with hearing loss and tinnitus.
You can find local hearing impairment and hearing aid services through the NHS Choices website. If you already have a hearing condition, there are many practical things that can be done to make the most of what hearing you do have and help you maintain your independence. See the equipment for people with hearing problems page for the help available from social care services.
To maintain healthy teeth and gums, all adults should brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste, cut down on sugary drinks and food and see a dentist for regular check-ups.
To help prevent oral cancer, all adolescents and adults should:
- Not smoke;
- Not use smokeless tobacco (e.g. paan, chewing tobacco, gutkha);
- Reduce alcohol consumption to moderate (recommended) levels;
- Maintain good dietary practices; and
- Increase fruit and vegetable intake to at least five portions per day.
The first step in reducing foot pain and increasing mobility is appropriate footwear. For comfort, stability and long-term health, a well-fitting shoe with lace or Velcro fastening and a shock-absorbing sole will make all the difference to an individual being able to walk pain free. If there are specific foot and lower limb problems, treatment can be sought from a podiatrist, either on the NHS or privately. For private treatment, make sure that the podiatrist or chiropodist is registered with the health professionals council.
You can find local podiatrists and chiropodists services through the NHS Choices website.
Even if your eyesight appears fine you should have regular eye checks to diagnose any hidden conditions. The following can help you to maintain healthy eyes and sight:
- Have your eyes examined by an optician at least every two years even if there are is no apparent change in vision;
- Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, such as curly kale and broccoli, having lots of fruit, such as oranges and kiwis, and eating oily fish regularly may help protect against some conditions;
- Wearing sunglasses with a UV filter will protect eyes from harmful rays in sunlight; and
- Not smoking as smoking restricts the flow of blood and nutrients to the eyes and can increase the likelihood of developing conditions such as cataracts.
See the Royal National Institute of Blind People website for information and support for people with sight loss.
You can find local opticians services through the NHS Choices website. If you already have an eye condition, there are many practical things that can be done to make the most of your remaining vision and help you maintain your independence. See the equipment for people with sight problems page for the help available from social care services.
Local support and services
There is specialist equipment, for both visual and hearing problems, to help people manage everyday tasks. Some can be provided on long-term loan and some free of charge. Support can also be provided in buying equipment of your choice. Contact us and we will put you in touch with your local specialist social worker, who will provide an assessment of your needs.
Dementia Connect is Alzheimer's Society's dementia services directory for anyone affected by dementia.Enter your postcode or place name to find voluntary, statutory and private services nearest and most relevant to you. Each listing includes a map and information about that service.
Additional information from NHS Choices
See the NHS Choices pages below for more information on older people's healthcare:
- Eat well over 60
- Men's health 60-plus
- Women's health 60-plus
- A practical guide to healthy ageing
This guide helps people to stay physically and mentally well by providing "hints and tips" on how to keep fit and independent.
Other support for older people
The Silver Line is a free, confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people. Open 24-hours a day, every day of the year. If you need help - call 0800 4 70 80 90 anytime.