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How to Stay Healthy This Winter

elderly couple in snow

With the long evenings and cold days looming upon us, it is important to keep yourself as healthy as possible this winter. As we get older, changes to our body mean that cold weather and winter illnesses may affect us more than it used to.

Read on to discover some helpful tips on how to stay healthy this winter.

Eat a Balanced Diet

During winter, it is more important than ever to eat well and boost your immune system. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. During the colder months, it is recommended to eat at least one hot meal a day.

Although most people receive all the vitamins and minerals they need through eating a balanced diet, sometimes you may need some extra help through taking supplements. During winter, the reduced daylight hours can make it difficult for our bodies to produce enough vitamin D. Vitamin D can be found in oily fish, eggs, margarine, yoghurt etc. However, it may not be enough to rely on diet alone. Age UK recommend that over 65s take 10 micrograms of vitamin D supplements daily to help maintain healthy vitamin D levels.

If you are elderly or looking after someone who is, Age UK have a great healthy eating guide. Discover their tips for maintaining a balanced diet here: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/isleofwight/our-services/information-and-advice/staying-healthy-this-winter/healthy-eating-guide/

Make Sure Your Home is Warm

Your home should be kept warm during the winter to prevent your home from getting damp. Make sure to wrap up well and try to steadily heat your home throughout the day. The NHS recommend ensuring a minimum of 18 degrees.

If you are elderly, you may find it more difficult to keep warm. From about 55 we lose around 1% of our muscle mass each year, which is what helps to keep us warm. Try to keep as active as possible by moving your arms and legs and try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time to keep the blood pumping around your body.

Elderly couple in blanket

Get Your Flu Jab

If you are aged 65 or over, you are eligible for the free flu jab from a doctor or pharmacist. This will help boost your immune system’s response to the virus to help protect you and others around you. There is also a vaccine for pneumonia. It is worth checking to see if you are also eligible for this when receiving your flu jab.

Get Your NHS Health Check (if eligible)

An NHS Health Check is a free health check up for people in the UK aged 40 to 74. It tests for illnesses that are more likely to occur in this age bracket, such as stroke, cardiovascular problems, heart disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and more. Through having your NHS Health Check, you are more likely to spot these conditions early and it aims to lower the risk of complications occurring.

You are eligible for an NHS Health Check if you are aged 40 to 74 and you have not been diagnosed with certain pre-existing health conditions including:

  • Heart disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Inherited high cholesterol
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Diabetes
  • Transient ischaemic attack
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Stroke
  • Being prescribed statins to lower cholesterol
  • A previous check which revealed a high risk (20% or above) of getting cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years.

To see the full list, please visit: https://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/

If you are eligible and are wondering how to get an NHS health check, you should automatically receive a letter from your GP surgery or local council inviting you to an appointment every 5 years. Alternatively, if you have misplaced or haven’t received a letter, you may call your surgery to arrange your Health Check.

If you are worried that something doesn’t feel right or you have found yourself feeling more tired than usual or losing weight this winter, it is important to seek an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. Getting an early diagnosis can often prevent conditions from worsening, so early treatment is always advised.

If you already have a health condition or disability and you are seeking some impartial advice on products, equipment or services, our OTs at Disabled Living will be more than happy to help! Please contact us on 0161 214 4590 or email us at info@disabledliving.co.uk

As part of our charity, we also have Bladder & Bowel UK who provide a free helpline for individuals with bladder or bowel issues. For more information visit: https://www.bbuk.org.uk/

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