03 January 2019
How to take care of your health in 2019
With the new year finally here, it’s finally time to put those New Year’s resolutions into play. But in between promising to go to bed earlier and eating less chocolate, taking control of your health and wellbeing should be your top priority.
To ensure your 2019 is off to a flying start, we’ve put together 6 ways to help you have the healthiest year yet.
We couldn’t put this list together without suggesting you get yourself moving. And for good reason too - staying active does wonders for your physical and mental wellbeing. In fact, did you know that there’s evidence to suggest that exercising will reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia in your older years? If that’s not a good enough reason to get moving, we don’t know what is!
If you’re struggling to decide what type of exercise might be right for you, Hallmark Care Homes suggests you “pick something you enjoy that is moderately strenuous leaving you slightly out of breath. A brisk walk, going for a swim, an exercise class for older people or even some gardening are all good options.”
Eat more healthily
We know that eating healthily is good for us no matter our age, but that doesn’t stop us from choosing chocolate and biscuits over fruit and veg. We all like a little treat here and there, and that’s okay, until we get older and our bodies become less resilient. This is why it’s so important that we take extra care and consideration in what we eat and ensure that what we put in our bodies is full of good nutritional value.
As well as eating fruit, vegetables and protein, Prestige Nursing recommends that older people eat foods containing calcium, to improve bone health and help prevent fractures and osteoporosis; fibre which can aid digestion and also help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke as well as plenty of grains to ensure you’re getting a much-needed supply of carbohydrates.
As well as considering what you’re eating, your eating habits are also important for maintaining your health. It’s recommended that older people eat three meals a day and avoid missing meals in order to keep their metabolism up and prevent malnutrition.
Prestige Nursing suggests preparing a menu for the week ahead to make it easier to plan what you need to buy and allow you to purchase all the food you’ll need for the week in just one shop. If you struggle to cook, it can be worth considering a food preparation and delivery service or asking a friend or relative to help you prepare and freeze meals in advance.
Keep an active social life
It’s no secret that being social can do wonders for your health. As well as improving your mental health and wellbeing, having an active social life has actually been known to improve cognitive function and prevent a wealth of other illnesses.
Kendal at Home says that being social can “slow health decline”, including preventing Alzheimer’s, lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of a cardiovascular-related attack.
If you struggle to keep an active social life, there are plenty of resources out there that can help. Try getting in touch with your local community centre or searching for community clubs through the Royal Voluntary Service.
Make your home safer
If you’re starting to find that you’re becoming unsteady on your feet or your mobility is no longer what it used to be, it may be time to think about installing some mobility aids throughout your house, particularly if you live alone.
If you’re struggling to climb the stairs, you could consider getting a stairlift installed in order to prevent falls. If you’re concerned you might slip in your bathroom, ensure you have a couple of rails installed in order to give you support when using the toilet and getting in and out of the bath.
It may also be worth looking into some comfortable and supportive slippers and shoes such as Cosyfeet footwear, which can help improve your stability and also provide comfort if you suffer from swollen feet.
Get your hearing and eyesight checked
When was the last time you got your hearing and eyesight checked?
According to Age UK, you should have your eyes checked once a year if you are aged 70 or over, and every two years if you are under 70. Age UK says it’s important to keep these appointments up so that “changes in your vision can be corrected and any problems can be picked up before they seriously affect your sight.” It’s also worth noting that eye tests are free if you are 60 and over.
As well as getting your eyes and sight checked out, it is also important to get your hearing tested as hearing loss is common in older people. Age UK says to see your GP if “you have to have the TV on loud or having trouble tuning into conversations.” If you need a hearing aid, some can be provided by the NHS.
Don’t ignore problems
Our final piece of advice for looking after your health in 2019 is to make sure you get any health concerns checked out by a medical professional. No matter how big or small the complaint, it’s always worth getting your GP’s opinion.
If you’re unable to visit your doctor easily, you can always phone the NHS on 111 and speak to a fully trained advisor who will be able to offer you guidance.
Our health is not something we should take for granted, and as we get older we need to take more measures to keep on top of our health. Even if you are generally in good health, you can never be too prepared when it comes to preventing illness and injury and maintaining your wellbeing.