Living well in later life

If you make healthier lifestyle choices by eating well, and keeping physically, mentally and socially active, then you increase your chances of feeling and living well, and reduce your risk of developing dementia.

8 ways to live well

Keep flu at bay

  • Flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable and highly variable flu virus
  • You can’t catch flu from the flu jab, but it does take about 2 weeks before your body is protected
  • Anyone aged 65 or over can get a free flu jab from their GP or local pharmacist
  • Primary school children are super spreaders of flu, and it will help prevent you getting it if children you are regularly in contact with have been vaccinated.  For them it’s a nasal spray, not a needle

Keep well

  • Wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of infections such as flu and norovirus
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue to catch germs
  • If you feel unwell drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • If you are taking any repeat prescription medication make sure you order it well before Christmas Eve so you don’t run out over the holiday period

Keep well fed

  • Food is a vital source of energy which helps keep your body warm
  • Try to make sure that you eat well and have hot food and drinks regularly throughout the day
  • Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt are great sources of protein and vitamins
  • Winter is the perfect season for a hot bowl of porridge, which can help to boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre. Add bananas or other fruit to help you have your 5 a day target

Keep active

  • Physical activity and exercise can help you stay healthy, energetic, and independent as you get older
  • Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so
  • Don’t use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay indoors
  • Getting out an exercising if you can is as good as keeping you healthy as a lot of medicines you may take
  • Air pollution can be worse on foggy days in winter.  If you have an inhaler, remember to use it and sign up to AirText to give you pollution alerts

Keep warm

  • If you are older and it’s cold in your home your blood is more likely to clot and your blood pressure go up so you are more likely to have a stroke or heart attack
  • So keep warm.  Heat the rooms you live in to at least 18C and wear lots of thin layers of clothing
  • Keep your bed warm with either a hot water bottle or electric blanket (not both!)

Keep upright

  • To avoid falls wear shoes with a good grip when outside
  • Inside, make sure there is nothing on the floor to trip on
  • Ensure that footwear fits well
  • Spills of liquid or water on a bathroom or kitchen floor can lead to slips

Keep an eye on dementia

  • If you're becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly if you're over the age of 65, it may be a good idea to talk to your GP about the early signs of dementia
  • About one third of people will eventually develop dementia
  • Some things that make dementia more likely you cannot change: for example your age or your genes. These cause two thirds of all dementia
  • If you eat a healthy balanced diet, keep to a healthy weight, exercise regularly, keep alcohol to a minimum, don’t smoke, and have high blood pressure treated reduce your risk of developing dementia
  • Hearing loss, depression, and loneliness are also associated with dementia, and make it harder to deal with if you do develop it

Keep Cared for

  • You may be a carer supporting others, or need support yourself.  The best place to start is our Adult social care pages which provide advice on what might be available and how to access it
  • You can also find out about Support for Carers

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