March 2017 : Healthy Ageing

What is “Healthy Ageing”?

Healthy Ageing is simply about being able to continue to do the things we enjoy for as long as possible.  Getting older can bring many challenges, including an increased risk of health problems or less social contact.  However, there are so many ways in which we can tackle those challenges positively and aim to make our older years our best years.

Staying Active

Our bodies seem to offer us a simple deal as we get older – use it or lose it!  The official NHS guidance says that as we get older we should try to maintain at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.  That’s 30 minutes of activity each day that gets us out of breath and our hearts beating faster.  We should also make sure we do an activity that builds strength too.

So which activity should you choose?  Well that’s easy – you should do what you enjoy.  One of the most popular ways to stay active is walking, which aside from a having a wide range of benefits also has positive effects on mental well-being.  There is more info on local opportunities for walking at the bottom of this page.

Aside from being physically active, we should also aim to be socially active too.  As we get older this can become a challenge, maybe because less family and friends are around.  Volunteering can be a great way to stay socially active, as well as enabling us to use our knowledge and experience in a way that benefits those around us. 

Avoiding Falls

One of the best ways to look after ourselves as we get older is to make sure we avoid having a fall.  Falls among older people can have a serious impact.  They can leave us physically disabled and even in need of long term care from others.  But falls are avoidable, and it’s worth having a think about how we can reduce our risk.  For example, are there any trip hazards in our home, or do those ragged old we like so much slippers really need putting in the bin?  Falls can also be caused by poor vision, the side effects of medication, or any health problem that means we can become dizzy.  All these things are worth getting check out.  Here’s more information on reducing our falls risk.

Dementia

It’s natural to be concerned about dementia as we get older.  However, we shouldn’t let that concern lead us to bury our head in the sand.  We need to be aware of dementia symptoms, and be prepared to speak to a doctor if we begin to experience them in a way that interferes with our lives. The symptoms of dementia include memory loss, confusion and changes in mood or personality.  A full list of symptoms is here.  Sometimes families and friends may notice these symptoms first.  If they do become apparent, then we should speak to a doctor.  They may well be symptoms of other things, but if not then an early diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support, as well as help them plan for the future.  With the right support many people with dementia are able to lead active, fulfilled lives.

What support is there locally?

Physical Activity:  Our Back to Fitness classes area great way to start become more physically active at a pace to suit you.  Our coach, Vikki Roberts, will take you through basic exercise and techniques to improve confidence and fitness.  Get in touch by email  info@vr-pt.co.uk or phone 07801427336.  Walking is easily accessible exercise and you may also want to check out the many walking opportunities locally.  Several walking groups are listed on our Community Map

For Social Activity then there are a range of local options.  Our learning and volunteering page gives you information on community learning courses at the Open Learning Centre and Bracknell & Wokingham college as well as opportunities to volunteer through Involve, including the Befriending and Community Choices Scheme which offers support to any resident who, for whatever reason, has found themselves socially isolated.

Our Falls Prevention service is called Falls Free 4 Life.  They can offer free personal assessments that will identify and reduce your risk of a fall.  They also run a series of strength and balance classes that, aside from helping you to avoid a fall, are a great way to have fun and meet new people.  Visit their website or call 0800 634 9139.

For Dementia related information you can visit the council's dementia webpage.  This contains a range of information including details on where to find support locally.  Remember that if you are concerned about dementia then you should consider talking to your doctor.