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What should you know about older people's health?

There is a growing number of health services devoted to looking after older people who have a range of health conditions. This is a result of the national population becoming older, and as people get older they tend to experience a growing number of health conditions. This is a natural part of ageing.

You may become ill or injured more easily and more often and you'll also notice that it takes longer to recover from both.

Certain conditions are more prevalent among the older generation. Some of these (i.e. cancer) might be a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices which were more prevalent when the current older generation was younger (smoking), while others may simply be associated with getting older (i.e. dementia).

Infirmity is also an issue for many people, whether a general loss of balance or a weakening or muscles and/or bones.

Many people are able to enjoy a happy old age by living a healthy lifestyle and learning to manage their health.


Who should have the flu jab

The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk. This is to ensure they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.

You are eligible to receive a free flu jab if you: 

  • are 65 years of age or over   
  • are pregnant 
  • have certain medical conditions 
  • are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility 
  • receive a carer's allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill 
  • Front-line health and social care workers directly involved in patient care.

For more info click on http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/flu-influenza-vaccine.aspx

Who should have the pneumococcal vaccine?

A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone. However, some people are at higher risk of serious illness and can be given the pneumococcal vaccination on the NHS. These include:

  • babies (included in the routine injections)
  • adults aged 65 or over (a single one-off vaccination, not needed annually)
  • children and adults with certain long-term health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition (a single one-off vaccination or five-yearly vaccination depending on the health problem)

For more info click here.

What can you do to help yourself?

As with most other areas of health, the best course of action is to lead as healthy a life as you can.

By the time you reach old age, the lifestyle decisions you took when you were younger may be having an impact, such as with cancer, diabetes, breathing problems or liver damage. However, even if you have any of the above conditions, if you eat and drink healthily and you maintain as active a lifestyle as you can, you can maintain a high level of physical health and mental wellbeing.

Being socially active is a great thing to do as you enter your more senior years. A good social life can keep you entertained and active and can provide great happiness, as well as being a means of support during any difficult times.

If you aren't physically able to do too much exercise then your diet is even more important, as you won't be burning off as many calories as somebody who is more active. Also if you can't get about as much, it is crucial that you keep you mind alert and busy, whether by doing crosswords, taking part in quizzes etc. You can also use technology such as Skype or Facetime for a more personal way of keeping in touch with your friends and family.

Most importantly, if you aren't well, then make sure that you get the appropriate treatment when you need it. Some elderly people can be reluctant to contact any medical services because they feel they are causing trouble. It is far more important to get yourself checked up and for a problem to be detected early, rather than to try to cope and allow the problem to grow. If in any doubt, get checked out.

Where can you go for help?

There is a range of health services already available to the older members of our population.

If you already have existing complex or chronic health needs, the chances are that your GP and your local integrated care team (ICT) will already be aware of your needs and a care plan will be in place. This will take the pressure off you by ensuring that all of the local health services know what you need and are working together to provide you with the right treatment and to plan for your future health needs.

The best ways to access your health services if you are in doubt is via the main contact points:

  • Call NHS111
  • Consult your pharmacist
  • See your GP

Remember, in an emergency always call 999.

If you are prone to falling or you feel you might be at risk, there is a special service which has been set up, called the Walk and Live Confidently (WALC) service. You can check your symptoms against a checklist and you can refer yourself directly to the service.

Click here for more information and here for an information leaflet on the service.

Contact details for local sources of help.

Carers Hubs

Serving Aldershot, Farnborough and Yateley. Learn more here.

For specific times, dates, locations and contact details for the hubs, click here and use the specific links for each area.

The hubs are run by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers.


Community Independence Team

Providing support for people over the age of 55. For specific information and whether you qualify, click here.

Aldershot office – 01252796255


Senior Citizens Forums

There are two local forums open to anyone aged 60 or over, who lives in Rushmoor.

The meetings bring together local groups, organisations and residents and gives a voice for older people in the borough. It provides an opportunity for senior citizens to have a say on some of the most topical issues affecting the local area.

For details of your local group click on one of the following links:

Contact details for both:

email: committeeservices@rushmoor.gov.uk

Tel: 01252 398 831


Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

The fire service has stepped up to lead a course to help older people restore their strength and balance. See here for details.


Making Connections

A social prescription service for adults registered with GP practices in North East Hampshire and Farnham:

  • providing around three months' support from a Making Connections Co-ordinator to help you with your personal health and wellbeing goals
  • supporting you with finding local activities and services to keep you physically active and socially connected

For more information on the programme, visit: http://www.hartvolaction.org.uk/services-for-residents/making-connections/


AgeUK

The UK's largest charity working with and for older people.

For local contacts visit their website.


Care and Support Contacts in Hart District

A collection of useful contact details compiled by Hart District Council. Click here to download it.


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