As the body ages, it becomes more susceptible to illnesses and infections; however there are ways to improve your general health and fight off illnesses in old age. The following paragraphs will offer advice on how to maintain a good standard of general health and keep yourself fit and healthy.

Diet

It is important to eat a healthy and well balanced diet which should include foods from all the major food groups; these include carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fruit and vegetables. You should try to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day; this can include juices, sauces and soups as well as the foods themselves. Eating a range of fruit and vegetables will ensure you take in all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need and will boost your immune system which will help you to fight off illnesses.

Keeping active

Try to keep as active as you can; this may involve taking light exercise such as walking or swimming but it will improve your health and keep your muscles and joints working effectively and efficiently. Exercise can also improve your mental health and enable you to get out and meet new people. Research has also shown that people who exercise also sleep better.

Keeping warm

It is important to keep warm, especially in the winter so try to wrap up when you go out and keep your house warm; there are financial benefits available from the Government for older people; you can contact your local authority or look at the DirectGov website for more details; some providers also offer fuel discounts for older people.

Supplements

It may be beneficial to take mineral and vitamin supplements in old age; these will help to keep your body running smoothly and ease any pains you may have. Common examples include calcium supplements to increase bone strength and cod liver oil to ease joint pain and improve mobility.

Social life and mobility

Having an active social life can boost your mental well-being and combat feelings of depression, loneliness and boredom. Try to get involved in the local community by getting involved in events or groups; most communities run a range of activities to suit young and old alike. If you struggle to get around and need assistance with transport, contact your local authority to see if there are any facilities or resources in the local community to help you out. You can also hire motorised scooters and wheelchairs from Shop mobility organisations, which are now located in most towns; these will make it easier for you to get around.

If you are having trouble coping at home it may be beneficial to consider making your home more accessible by installing ramps and equipment to make life easier, such as a chair lift and rails in the bathroom. If you feel you cannot cope at home, you should talk to Social services about the possibility of arranging some additional help or moving to a more manageable environment.

Dental care

Often dental health deteriorates as people age so it is especially important to take care of your teeth and visit the dentist regularly. If you have lost a number of teeth you may be offered a set of dentures or implants which will increase the aesthetics of your physical appearance and help with eating and speech; nowadays dentures are much lighter and look more natural. If you have trouble getting out and about your local Primary Care Trust may be able to arrange for a dentist to visit you in the local community.