Healthy Peterborough

Ageing well

10 tips for ageing better

We know it’s not just about living longer, it’s about living healthily and happily for longer. Follow our top 10 tips for ageing better.

1. Watch what you eat and drink

Having a balanced diet is crucial for good health, energy and preventing illness. An ideal diet should be low in saturated fat, with lots of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, oily fish, and small amounts of low-fat dairy and lean meat. Don’t forget to top-up with lots of water to avoid dehydration, which can make you feel tired and confused. Tea, coffee and fruit juice will also help you to stay hydrated, but avoid sugary fizzy drinks. See our healthy eating guide for lots more information.

If you drink alcohol, keep at least two days per week booze-free to give your liver time to recover from the toxic effects of alcohol, and don’t exceed recommended daily limits for alcohol consumption.

2. Look after your teeth

Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Floss helps to prevent gum disease by removing pieces of food and plaque from between the teeth. If it’s left to build up you might notice sore or bleeding gums, and gum disease can also be linked to diabetes, strokes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Have regular check-ups and, if you wear dentures or have a bridge, ask your dentist to check that they fit properly. Find out more about dental care.

3. Stay active

Daily exercise helps you to stay strong and healthy. This will lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. If that wasn’t enough, staying active can boost your self-esteem, improve your sleep, and give you more energy. Government guidelines recommend that older adults do 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week, as well as strengthening exercises twice a week. If that sounds like a lot, start small and as you get stronger you will be able to work up to those amounts.

Find out more about what exercise might suit you.

4. Make the most of your GP

It’s a good idea to get some routine tests done at the doctors to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High readings increase your risk factor for stroke and heart disease but any problems are completely reversible with medication.

Whilst you’re there, why not ask your doctor about the seasonal flu jab? It’s free once you reach 65, or if you have a health condition that puts you at risk of more serious problems if you caught the flu. Also see our list of 7 health tests that can save your life.

5. Get a vitamin boost

Lots of people have a vitamin D deficiency and don’t know it. In fact, it’s estimated that it affects half of the adult population. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cognitive impairment, bone problems and also cardiovascular disease.

Try to get outside in the sunshine for at least 15-20 minutes a day for a vitamin D boost. It can also be found in food such as eggs and oily fish. Alternatively, talk to your doctor about a vitamin D supplement.

6. Take care of your feet

Look after your feet by applying moisturiser to prevent dry skin and cutting your toenails straight across. Make sure you have footwear that fits properly and supports your feet. If they are sore you may be tempted to stay in slippers, but a pair of trainers could be a good option as they are more supportive.

Contact your GP if your feet become painful, feel very hot or cold or if you have common problems like corns, bunions or ingrown toenails. See our guide to common foot problems.

7. Sort out your sleep

Many of us have trouble getting – or staying – asleep as we get older. This can leave you feeling tired and grumpy. Avoid insomnia by cutting down on daytime naps, establishing a bedtime routine and going to bed at the same time each night. Try a warm drink such as chamomile tea or hot milk before you go to bed.

8. Take the tests

As we age our hearing and eyesight can be affected, so it’s important to get them checked regularly. Hearing loss is common in older people so 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 are available on the NHS.

Have your eyes checked every year if you are aged 70 or over, and every two years if you are under 70. This means that changes in your vision can be corrected and any problems can be picked up before they seriously affect your sight. Eye tests are free if you are over 60.

9. Stay in touch

Spending time with other people can prevent you from feeling lonely or anxious. If you find that you are no longer able to do the things you used to do, try to develop new hobbies and interests or think about becoming a volunteer. Use Skype to make video phone calls to friends and family who don’t live nearby, or find out more about our befriending services.

If you are single, divorced, or bereaved and would like to meet someone, read our online guide to dating.

10. Give up smoking

Smoking is bad for your body and your brain. It is linked to a whole range of different health problems, including heart disease, lung cancer, and bronchitis. The good news is that if you stop smoking, regardless of your age, your circulation, your lung capacity and your energy levels will improve. Find out more here.

Living well with dementia

Dementia is caused when parts of the brain stop working properly due to disease or trauma. The symptoms may include memory loss, changes in thought, mood, and behaviour. We do not fully understand the causes yet although eating healthily and being physically active can reduce the risk of some types of dementia in later life.

The number of people with dementia in Peterborough is increasing, as we are all living longer. Do you know anyone affected by dementia?

For many people, it can be a worrying time when either you, or a person you care about, are diagnosed with dementia. There are ways you can get help and lots of information to help you make sense of the experience. There are local opportunities to support you to overcome problems and improve your quality of life.

Based at the Dementia Resource Centre, the Alzheimer’s Society provides a one-stop shop for residents of Peterborough whose lives are affected by dementia. Advice, information and support are available to ensure that those who have a diagnosis of dementia and their carers are able to get the help they need in everyday life.

Many services are run from the resource centre, including a monthly dementia café, cognitive stimulation, peer support, carer support and information, and a service user review panel. Activity groups include art & craft, gardening, singing and current affairs.

Mr & Mrs M have been coming to the centre since shortly after it opened. They both currently attend Singing for the Brain. Mrs M enjoys helping to maintain the Dementia Resource Centre garden and has told me how many friends she has made amongst other carers.  They often come along just to have lunch at our on-site café and meet others for support & social interaction.  Mrs M said that without our support and the centre, she wouldn’t know what she would do and probably wouldn’t be able to cope on her own. 

We can all show consideration to people with dementia in our local communities – why not find out more about becoming adementia friend and increasing your understanding of dementia so that you can be supportive to those around you?

Keeping active

Living healthily in middle age can double your chances of being healthy when you are 70.  Being active is critical to maintain a healthy body and mind for later years, and poorer health in later life is not inevitable.

Older age can mean living as well as young people by making relatively small changes to our habits and lifestyles now.  Not being active increases our risk of many conditions that will impact on future quality of life, including dementia, osteoarthritis and general physical limitations in older age. 

Older adults can be more at risk of falling, and should do exercises to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week, such as yoga, tai chi and dancing. 

Being active slows the natural breakdown of your bones and muscles, and helps us maintain a healthy weight and good circulation. It also helps maintain our brains. 

If you’re looking to be active with the children or grandchildren, there are over 200 play areas for families of all ages in and around PeterboroughFacilities at some of the parks such as Central Park include a paddling pool, sensory garden, an aviary, a cafe and sports playing grounds.  The Embankment is within easy walking distance of the city centre and runs along the picturesque views of the River Nene, Bretton Park boasts one of the largest green open spaces whilst Itter Park in Paston has a bowling green and a putting green.

Don't fall for it!

Improving safety in the home can help you stay active and independent. 

Falls, slips and trips are a leading cause of disability among older people so it’s important for you to consider what you can do to help make your home and environment safe.  

Clearing away clutter, ensuring floors and carpets are safe, making sure your home is well lit and installing handrails where necessary are all useful suggestions for improving safety.

Remaining active, eating well, paying attention to foot problems, properly fitting shoes and slippers can all contribute to avoiding falls. Addressing factors in the home together with remaining active and eating well, will all help you stay active and continue doing the things you enjoy doing.

For more information on preventing falls at home, visit the Age UK website.

 

Get an NHS Health Check

If you're aged 40-74, you can expect to receive a letter from your GP or local authority inviting you for a free NHS Health Check. Like a ‘midlife MOT’, it aims to control risk factors and help prevent diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and dementia.

It includes some basic questions, a blood pressure and BMI check and some blood tests. Your healthcare professional will discuss your results with you. The NHS Health Check is an ideal opportunity to gain advice and support for healthier lifestyle choices like keeping active, eating healthily, not smoking and drinking less alcohol.

As we get older, we have a higher risk of developing something dangerous like high blood pressure, heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Your NHS Health Check can help prevent these, helping you to enjoy life for longer.

More information is available at: http://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/ 

Services to prevent falls

It is estimated that residents of Peterborough who fall in 2016 will result in over:
 
  • 1,010 GP attendances
  • 1,208 ambulance call outs
  • 1,585 A&E attendances 
  • 555 hospital inpatient admissions
The associated costs of these are estimated to be over £39 million.
 
The city council's Home Services Delivery Team provides a range of services that are focused around Falls Prevention. These include:
 
The Handyperson service:

This service provides a wide range of practical support for older, disabled and vulnerable people to help maintain independent living, including:
  • small building repairs
  • odd jobs (for example, putting up curtain rails or shelves which prevent use of ladders and falling)
  • general home safety checks with remedial action 
  • falls/accident prevention checks with remedial action to reduce risks (for example, securing loose carpets, putting up grab rails, suitable lighting)
  • security checks with remedial action (for example, installing locks, chains, spy-holes)
  • small home energy efficiency measures (for example, installing low energy light bulbs, replacing appliances)
  • fire safety (for example, installation of smoke alarms, electric blanket checks, chip pan/fat fryer exchange), and
  • signposting clients to other services
 
Repairs Assistance Grants
  • Up to a maximum of £20,000 (means tested) for owner occupied property to address a range of hazards in the home including tripping hazards, falls between levels such as unsafe staircases, falls on the level such as uneven paving
  • Heating grants to repair, replace or provide central heating systems. Cold homes cause both physical and mental harm. They can lead to circulatory problems as blood becomes thicker in lower temperatures, leading to stroke and heart attacks, as well as reduced mobility leading to falls or other injury. 

 

Call (01733) 863860 for Handyperson and repairs assistance

 
 
Disabled Facility Grants
  • Up to a maximum of £30,000 (means tested) to adapt a person's home to enable them to remain living independently at home, this can range from a stairlift, through floor lift, level access shower to an extension to provide ground floor sleeping and bathing facilities, all of which include falls prevention.
 
Assistive Technology
  • Assistive Technology (AT) covers a wide variety of equipment and devices, both simple and complex that can promote independence and enable living at home for longer. This includes aids for sensory impaired clients, and clients with cognitive impairment, dementia and learning disabilities, including equipment and devices which can prevent falls.

Minor Aids and Adaptations

  • assistance with discharge to enable care at home such as fitting key safes, equipment, grab rails, ramps
 

For further information call (01733) 747474.

 

Benefits of exercise

The more you sit, the weaker and more frail you become.  See below for problems you can reduce the risk of avoiding with exercise.

Problem I have or
want to avoid
Exercise can help because What you will notice

No energy
Short of breath

Improves stamina and muscle power.
Removes waste quicker Stimulates circulation to all organs including the brain.
Lose weight.

It is easier to move from place to place.
Feel less sluggish.
More energy for day-to-day activities.

High Blood, Pressure Heart attack, Heart disease, Stroke

Helps lower cholesterol level, stress hormones and muscle tension.
Helps lower blood pressure.
Keeps the heart muscle strong.
Aids circulation and helps blood and body fluids to move.

Feel better, more energetic.
Feel less dizzy.
Prevents ankle swelling, blood clots, leg ulcers and foot pain.

Over-weight

Burns more calories and replaces inactive fat with muscle. 
Increases muscle mass.

Muscles burn calories even when you sleep, so losing weight and keeping it down is easier.

 

Swollen feet The movement of muscles massages veins so blood and fluids return from the feet.

Reduces swollen ankles and feet. 
Walking becomes easier.

Osteoporosis Muscle pulling on bone stimulates bone growth, making bones stronger and less likely to break. Standing or weight bearing for 4 hours a day helps

Less likely to break a bone if you fall.
Less pain.
Better posture helps prevent falls.

Arthritis

Stronger muscles help to hole the joints in correct position so there is less wear and tear on them.
Moving joints helps to 'nourish' them and keeps a good range of movement.

Less wear and tear on joints means less pain.
You will be able to keep doing things for yourself - wash hair, do up buttons, put own shoes one, walk more easily and safely.

Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate

Burns fat, which stores carcinogens.
Gets ride of waste quicker.

More regular bowel movement.
Feel more comfortable in the abdomen.
Burning fat helps to lose weight.

Kidney Disease

Lowers blood pressure and blood sugars so less risk to kidneys.
Being upright helps kidneys to drain.
Stimulates circulation and thirst.
Removes body waste and drug “left overs”

Kidney infections can cause backache and a general feeling of lethargy.
Will feel thirsty, improving fluid intake, increased urine flow, flushing kidneys and decreasing the chance of stagnation, infections and stones.
Feel more lively and energetic

Can’t Sleep at night
Night visits to the loo

Using the body during the day will help muscles relax and rest at night.
Helps fluid circulate from legs to kidneys during the day rather than at night.

Getting a better night’s sleep will aid restful sleep, helping you to feel more alert and energetic on waking.

Constipation, Bloating

 

Stimulates circulation and colon activity.
Decreases need for medicines.

Feel more energetic. 
Feel more comfortable.
Less wind to deal with.

 

Depressed
Don’t like the way I look

Exercise releases endorphins, “feel good” chemicals in the brain which help you to feel cheerful and positive.
Lose weight.
Tone up muscles.

Release of endorphins helps you to feel happy and alert.
May not need medicines or so many.
Toning the body and losing weight will make you look better, clothes fit better.
Improving self-esteem.

 Low back pain

Improves abdominal muscle tone.
Improves posture.
Prevents constipation and bloating which stresses muscles causing pain.

Better posture and good abdominal muscles will help prevent back pain and make you feel better about yourself.
Good posture helps in preventing trips and falls.

 Urinary incontinence

Stimulates muscle tone and thirst, which stimulates urine flow.
Stronger deep abdominal muscles will also mean stronger pelvic floor muscles.
Drinking more will stop dehydration which causes headaches and lethargy.
Moving easier so no delay in toileting, will prevent infection and overfilling.

The deep abdominal muscles work together with the pelvic floor muscle which will make it easier to control the urge to urinate.
Less fear of accidents happening. 
Less headaches, feel more energetic.

 Injury  

Exercise increases strength, flexibility and balance.
Encourages better posture and body alignment.
Decreases wear and tear.
Decreases chance of falls and injury.

 

More confident to move about.
Less pain if muscles are stronger.
Everyday tasks become easier and therefore less tiring, so more energy and “verve”.

Local Dementia Support

The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem solving, perception or language.

A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. There are over a hundred different types of dementia of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common followed closely by Vascular Dementia. It is possible to have more than one type of dementia at the same time and this is known as Mixed dementia. More detailed information is available on the Alzheimer’s Society’s website www.alzheimers.org.uk

Based at the Dementia Resource Centre (DRC), the Alzheimer’s Society provides a one-stop shop for residents of Peterborough whose lives are affected by dementia. Advice, information and support are available to ensure that those who have a diagnosis of dementia and their carers are able to get the help they need in everyday life.

Dementia Support Workers and a Dementia Adviser are able to meet people at the DRC or in their own home to provide information and signposting as well as guidance on practical matters and emotional support. The Advocate is able to help people with dementia to express their views, to access information and services and to secure their rights.

Some of the services that take place at the DRC include:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Hairdressing
(by appointment)
Open Minds
Chair Yoga, OOMPH, Young On-Set group Open Carers Group, Singing for the Brain (Wrens) Dementia Café Singing for the Brain (Nightingales and Larks – fortnightly)

Other services are available by invitation. Please contact the DRC on 01733 893853 or peterborough@alzheimers.org.uk.  All the services are designed to improve and enhance wellbeing, maintain independence and prevent crisis situations.

If you would like to help by becoming a volunteer please contact our Volunteering Officer, Debbie Holmes, on 01733 893853 or debbie.holmes@alzheimers.org.uk

Another way of becoming involved is through Dementia Friends at www.dementiafriends.org.uk

 

This is a note that was received recently, written by someone who uses the Dementia Resource Centre services.

"The DRC is the most amazing place. We have been helped more than we can ever hope to say. My wife loves her Arts & Crafts group so much and everyone helps her so much. Her confidence has improved in leaps and bounds and she has made lots of lovely friends. The staff are so professional and caring and have helped me many times when I have been very low with my caring role. We are so blessed to be here. Thank you for all that you do."

Eat a healthy, balanced diet to reduce your risk of dementia

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for your physical health and mental health. Staying a healthy weight helps to protect against dementia, throughout your life.

Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables a day. A balance of carbohydrates (foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta), protein (beans, pulses, fish, eggs or meat), dairy (milk or soya), unsaturated oils and spreads in small amounts. Eat less saturated fats, salt and sugars. Drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses a day).

Even if you cannot get a perfect balance in every meal, try to get the balance over the day or week.

You can get more advice on our Healthy Eating pages or NHS Live Well, which includes the Eatwell guide5 A Day tips and 12 week Weight Loss pack.

Being active reduces the risk of falls and dementia

Being active at all ages is essential for keeping healthy and well and ensuring you carry on doing the things you enjoy in everyday life and it reduces the risk of dementia and falls.

All adults, including older people, should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week in bouts of 10 minutes or more to stay healthy. This means that the activity should cause you to become warmer, breathe harder and make your heart beat faster. Brisk walking, ballroom dancing and water aerobics are good examples of moderate physical activities.

Equally important are activities to improve muscle strength and bone health. This could include light resistance exercises or carrying or moving loads such as groceries and activities that improve your balance.  Specific strength and balance exercises that improve balance and co-ordination help reduce the risk of falls. Speak to your local Public Health team on 0800 376 56 55 or gym to get you started and continue doing these exercises regularly at home.

Our understanding about the benefits of exercise is not new, but we now know how important it is to protect against dementia too. People often feel much better after getting out and doing exercise. Joining an exercise group is a good way of staying socially active too, improving your confidence and wellbeing. Try to make it fun!

Think about how you can build exercise into your daily life - walk or cycle rather than drive, go out to the park, plan activities with your family and friends.  Check out the Healthy Peterborough Physical Activity pages for more information on the FREE local programme, or find out about FREE local walks.

Older people who have fallen in the last year or feel at risk of falling are encouraged to do strength and balance exercises to improve balance and co-ordination. These exercises can be done at home.

If you have any pre-existing medical condition please check with your GP before carrying out physical activity.

For more information about staying active in older life visit the Age UK website:

 

Cancer Screening

Healthy lifestyle changes can prevent many cases of cancer, screening aims to drive down cancer cases even further. National programmes are in place for breast cancer screening, cervical screening and bowel cancer screening to help identify cancer at an early stage when it's more treatable.

What can I do to reduce my risk of cancer?

Screening: take up the offer of cancer screening. By regularly attending appointments for cervical, bowel, and breast cancer screening, you have the best chance of spotting signs early when it’s more treatable or prevent cancer from developing at all.

Check yourself: Make sure you know the key symptoms of the main cancers and regularly check yourself for any changes. It's important to know your body and recognise any potential symptoms of cancer, such as lumps, change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, pain or bleeding. Get advice from your GP early about whether they might be serious. Find out more information on signs and symptoms of cancer.

Cervical Screening

Cervical screening (a smear test) is a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. From the age of 25 all women registered with a GP will be invited for a cervical screening every three years. Between the age of 50 and 64, women will be invited every five years. Women over 65 will be invited to be screened if they haven’t been screened since 50 or have recently had an abnormal test result. Each year cervical screening saves 5,000 lives in the UK. Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.

Bowel Cancer Screening

Taking part in bowel cancer screening reduces your chances of dying from bowel cancer, and removing polyps in bowel scope screening can prevent cancer. If bowel cancer is detected at an early stage, before symptoms appear, it's easier to treat and there's a better chance of surviving it. If you’re aged between 60 and 74, you will be invited to take part in bowel cancer screening every two years. If you’re aged 75 or over, you can request a screening test by calling the bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

Breast Cancer Screening

About one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. There's a good chance of recovery if it's detected in its early stages. Women aged 50 to 70 are invited for a breast screening every three years. Women over the age of 70 can ask for an appointment.

Active in younger years helps you age well

Living healthily in middle age can double your chances of being healthy when you are 70.  Being active is critical to maintain a healthy body and mind for later years, and poorer health in later life is not inevitable.

Older age can mean living as well as young people by making relatively small changes to our habits and lifestyles now.  Not being active increases our risk of many conditions that will impact on future quality of life, including dementia, osteoarthritis and general physical limitations in older age. 

Older adults can be more at risk of falling, and should do exercises to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week, such as yoga, tai chi and dancing. 

Being active slows the natural breakdown of your bones and muscles, and helps us maintain a healthy weight and good circulation. It also helps maintain our brains. 

If you’re looking to be active with the children or grandchildren, there are over 200 play areas for families of all ages in and around PeterboroughFacilities at some of the parks such as Central Park include a paddling pool, sensory garden, an aviary, a cafe and sports playing grounds.  The Embankment is within easy walking distance of the city centre and runs along the picturesque views of the River Nene, Bretton Park boasts one of the largest green open spaces whilst Itter Park in Paston has a bowling green and a putting green.

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