They say that sixty is the new forty, so there is no reason that men in their sixties, seventies, eighties and beyond should not be enjoying a healthy and fulfilling life. To help older men to stay healthy and full of vitality we’ve put together a guide to older men’s health with a list of healthy habits as well as issues to look out for, so you can continue to live life to the full.
Four Healthy habits to support older men’s health
1. Eat well
Eating a balanced diet keeps you healthy and full of energy. Good nutrition can also keep your brain healthy and help with the symptoms of various health conditions. Good, hot food can also keep you warm in winter. So, there are lots of good reasons to eat a healthy balanced diet.
We should all be eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of whole grains such as wholewheat flour and pasta, as well as lean protein such as fish, chicken or tofu. It’s a good idea to cut down on processed foods such as sausages, bacon and meat pies as well as limiting sugary foods and drinks. But of course, the occasional treat is fine.
You should also stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
2. Keep active
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy as well as to boost your mood. Being sedentary can have the same health risks as smoking so it’s important to be active during the day.
If you have not been active for a while start by breaking up periods of sitting and lying down with regular spells of activity – whether that is a walk around the garden or a few household chores.
As your fitness improves, work up to adding three to five sessions of thirty minutes activity each week. This activity should be enough to raise your heartbeat and make you breathe faster and feel warmer.
You should also undertake some activity to improve muscle strength twice a week. This can include gardening, carrying shopping or simple muscle-building exercises such as crunches or wall press-ups. You can find muscle strengthening exercise routines on the NHS website.
There are chair-based exercises available if you have limited mobility and you can find examples of these and more on the NHS website.
For more advice on an active lifestyle see our post Exercise for older people.
3. Stay connected
The level and quality of our contact with other people can have a surprising impact on older men’s health. Several studies have shown that people who have good social connections require fewer doctor’s appointments and are less likely to need a hospital stay. Also, socially connected people cope better with health conditions and experience less depression.
If you are finding that you are more isolated, then it’s well worth making an effort to be more connected. If you have lost touch with people, then pick up the phone and reconnect. Joining a club can be a great way to meet new people, too.
4. Get regular health checks
To stay healthy and happy as we age it’s vital to make use of your doctor. Even if you feel fit and well, it’s important to attend check-ups and routine appointments to make sure you stay that way!
Anyone aged between 40 and 74 you can receive a free NHS health check if they have not had a stroke and do not have a pre-existing health condition.
If you have had a stroke or have a pre-existing health condition, make sure you attend your check-up appointments. You should also get your medications regularly reviewed by your doctor or pharmacist.
It’s also important to get your flu jab each year. If you are over 65 you should also have a pneumococcal vaccination. This is a one-off jab that will protect you from pneumococcal infections caused by bacteria. If you are aged 70, 78 or 79 you should also have a single vaccine to prevent shingles, a painful skin disease.
And of course, if you do have any symptoms or anything you are concerned about then make an appointment with your doctor to get them checked out. More than likely your symptoms are nothing to worry about and you will just be reassured. But if it is more serious, the earlier you get treatment the better the likely outcome.
In addition to visiting your doctor, you should also get regular dentist and optician check-ups.
Older men’s health issues
The above healthy tips will help you feel healthier and happier, however, some health issues affect older men in particular. If you have any symptoms that you are concerned about then be sure to visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Prostate problems are quite common in older men. These include benign prostate enlargement, prostatitis, and prostate cancer. Many prostate conditions can be treated with antibiotics or lifestyle changes. The symptoms for many prostate conditions are similar so you should see your doctor if you experience symptoms such as:
- Needing to pee more frequently, often during the night
- Difficulty in starting to pee
- Straining or taking a long time while peeing
- Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
- Blood in urine or blood in semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs
Heart disease is all too common in older men, but there is a lot you can do to reduce your risk.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease so you should get your blood pressure checked regularly. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure. Your doctor can also prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure if necessary.
High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack so it is important to get your cholesterol levels checked. If you have high cholesterol, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help. If lifestyle changes fail to reduce your cholesterol levels your doctor can prescribe medication.
Emotional health problems
Many men experience some emotional health problems at some point in their lives. It can be difficult to talk about problems such as depression and anxiety, however, there is help and support available. If you have been experiencing anxiety, depression or low mood, talk to someone you trust such as a family member or health professional. It might be difficult at first but you will feel much better when you have some support and a plan to improve your emotional wellbeing.
There are also things you can try yourself to improve your moods, such as getting outside each day if possible, trying new things, taking some exercise or phoning a friend or family member.
Mumby’s is here to help
We hope you have found this guide to older men’s health useful. If you need any support caring for an older person, we can help.
Our fully trained carers tailor their support to meet individual needs and requirements ensuring that your loved one stays as independent as possible and continues to live a fulfilling life.
Our carers can help make sure your loved one gets the nutrition they need to stay healthy while continuing to enjoy food and mealtimes. They can also support your loved one with fun, safe and effective ways to be more active. Our staff will stay on top of your loved one’s health needs and make sure they get the regular checks and treatments they need to stay healthy.
When it comes to staying connected, our staff will do all they can to support your loved one’s social and emotional life. This may be by taking them to visit others or attend clubs or activities. However, in these uncertain times, it can also involve helping them use technology such as video calling to stay in touch with friends and family.
At Mumby’s you can rest assured that we can provide the right support as required for older men’s health.
Speak to a member of our team today on freephone 0800 505 3511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how a member of our care team can assist you or your loved ones with their home care needs.