I recently attended some ‘Falls and Frailty’ workshops run superbly by Marie Prior and Kerry Crowther from Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The main reason we are considered an ‘older’ person these days is because we are living longer but not necessarily in a healthier way.
So, by 50 we could, due to unhealthy life choices begin to develop certain conditions that may become quite complex if we don’t change our ways. I recently heard that the conditions that we, in the developing world are suffering with today such as obesity, diabetes, heart and lung disease are the diseases of the ‘Elite’ Although of course there are circumstances out of our control such as inherited conditions or diseases but if we make healthy life choices we can learn to manage these conditions and stay relatively healthy and strong. The whole point of the workshops was to raise awareness of care and prevention. Prevention being our personal life choices.
The workshop also bought to light the connection between poor health and loneliness and states in the ‘Shaping Our Future’ Frailty Toolkit:
- 59% of older adults who report poor health say they feel lonely some of the time or often compared with 21% who report excellent health.
- People who are socially isolated visit their GP more often, use more medication and have more falls.
- Lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is worse for our health than obesity and physical inactivity.
- Social isolation is one of the top five causes for admissions to care homes.
With this in mind CPFT are now working with Volunteer Cornwall to help tackle that isolation by looking at the Voluntary and Community Sector as a vital link for social support for those isolated and in poor health. We hope in the near future to provide social activities as ‘Social Prescriptions along side Medical Prescriptions or instead of!
We may be considered an ‘Older’ person but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves. The key factors for maintaining good health are, Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Social interactions. Are there changes that we could make now to improve our health and live a better quality of life?