Health and wellbeing in older age
Did you know that, in the UK, the number of people aged 65 and over has grown by nearly half in the last 30 years? With many people living longer, there is a growing need for a focus on psychical and mental health and wellbeing in older age.
There are many ways to look after your health and wellbeing, so take a moment to read this quick guide and find inspiration for improving your wellbeing in older age.
It will be no surprise to learn that making efforts to maintain your physical health will reap rewards later in life. Regular, pulse-raising exercise can help everything from improving cognitive abilities to lessening your risk of stroke and heart disease. These 5 easy ways to exercise your brain are a great place to start on your path to improving your wellbeing in retirement, and why not try these 5 unusual ways to keep fit in retirement?
What you put into your body is also important. Avoiding smoking and moderating your alcohol intake is crucial, as is maintaining a healthy diet and body weight. Eat a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and pulses, and make sure you cut back on things like dairy and red meat.
Ensuring you have a full night's sleep – at least seven to eight hours every night – will also have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing in older age. Did you know you get a free NHS health check up every five years between the ages of 40 and 74? Make sure you have regular check-ups with your doctor, these appointments can help with spotting the early signs of conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease.
Looking beyond retirement
There could be challenges presented by life changes such as retirement that may seem daunting, particularly if you’re trying to develop an identity that extends beyond the workplace. Engaging in meaningful activities – like volunteering or taking up a new hobby – can help restore a sense of purpose. Take a look at 8 of the best hobbies to try this year!
Research has indicated that learning a new skill (such as a second language, for example) could also help improve your cognitive abilities! Your local library and council will have information on courses available in your area and learning portals such as Open University's Open Learn offer free online courses in a wide range of subjects.
For something less formal, the University of the Third Age is a network of groups who run courses, study groups and talks for older people in a more relaxed setting. There are also many organisations that offer volunteering projects tailored specifically for older volunteers, such as Volunteering Matters, or Projects Abroad, who provide overseas volunteering placements for the over 50s.
Remaining engaged and connected with friends, family and the local community is a fantastic way to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Everyone experiences loneliness at some point in their lives but in later life this feeling can be particularly overwhelming. Did you know that loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day? With befriending services on the rise, there are now many opportunities to make new friends in older age and technology is a great tool for keeping in touch with loved ones.
If you’re missing the structure and social opportunities offered by full-time work, have you considered a part-time job or volunteering work? Not sure where to begin? Find inspiration in our guide on volunteering opportunities and our list of 10 part-time job ideas for retirees!
Connecting with others through social activities, like volunteering or taking up a new hobby, can help reduce feelings of isolation, as well as improve overall physical and mental wellbeing in older age. This can be achieved many ways, from regularly visiting friends and family to accessing the resources your council or local charities can offer. Organisations such as the Royal Voluntary Service run a range of different programmes to help you remain connected with others, including lunch clubs and ‘try something new’ activity programmes.
Inspired by International Older People’s Day on the 1st October, the Older People's Festival is a two-week celebration, jam-packed with events and activities aimed at those over 50 years old. Activities on offer cover everything from getting to grips with your smart phone to coffee tastings, cookery workshops, personal shopping, cinema screenings, strength training, cabaret nights and much more!
We need your help! Join us in supporting Time to Talk Befriending as we take on The Big Blind Run, a 600K challenge conquering the distance from Brighton to Belfast, with the aim of raising £10,000 for the charity!
Time to Talk offer vital befriending services within the older community in Sussex, but they could help so many more with a little fundraising support. Watch a short video from Emily, founder of Time to Talk and learn how you can support the cause in our blog!