Physical health

Physical health

As we get older, our bodies naturally weaken. This may mean that any health conditions you had in the past gradually worsen, or it could mean that new problems arise. The most common problems experienced over the age of 70 are:

  • Frailty
  • Falls
  • Dementia
  • But there are many other conditions that can arise. To name a few:
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Delirium
  • Mental health problems
  • General health deterioration

What can my GP do to help?

Your GP can give you medical advice, treatment and prescribe medication for any condition you may have. They can also refer you to other healthcare professionals to diagnose or treat specific aspects of your condition. These other health professionals may visit you at home or hold clinics at a local practice, health centre or hospital.

As well as reviewing medicines and referring you, your GP can also work with you on plans for coping at home.

More tests

We may ask you to do some extra blood tests, check your plood pressure or check your heart rate (an ECG test)

Medicines you take

It is likely that you are taking a number of medicines. These may have been prescribed by the team at the GP surgery or elsewhere in the NHS. Our pharmacists may need a separate appointment to discuss this with you, to ensure that you have the best medicines and the right dose.


At this age you may be eligible for a number of vaccines such as for flu, pneumococcal and shingles. Discuss this during your appointment.

What if I have a long-term condition?

Your GP can help with understanding and managing your long-term conditions. This may involve drawing up a care plan to help you manage on a day-to-day basis as well as recognise symptoms that you should report to your GP if they occur.

A GP may also create an information prescription. This is a collection of information that your GP thinks is helpful to you at that time and will help you understand your condition, as well as ways to prevent any further complications.

What if I’m too ill to visit my GP?

If you can’t visit your GP surgery for medical reasons, you can ask for a home visit. Your GP might also be able to give you advice through a telephone or video consultation as an alternative.

What can I do to help my physical health?

Staying active

Keeping active is a great way to help any physical ailments. This doesn’t mean you have to be running marathons or anything extreme! But doing some easy exercises everyday in your own home can help strengthen your muscles and prevent deconditioning. Some of the exercises are so simple that all you need to do them is a chair. Give them a try and see how you feel!

Eating well

Sometimes people think that as they get older they do not need to eat as much because they aren’t using up as much energy. This could not be further from the truth! Even if you are not as active you still need to eat regular and nutritious meals.

Make sure your diet contains:

  • Protein
    – Meat, beans, and nuts
  • Calcium
    – Dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt), spinach, beans, lentils, and bony fish (sardines and mackerel)
  • Vitamin B
    – Green vegetables, grain products, fish, meat, eggs and dairy
  • Vitamin D
    – Oily fish (salmon, sardines and kippers), egg yolk, meat, milk and margarine

Good hydration

As you get older, you become more vulnerable to dehydration. This can be made worse by other diseases such as mental and physical frailty.

Dehydration is also linked to other poor health outcomes such as:

  • Increased risk of hospital visits and death
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Higher risk of falls
  • Higher risk of kidney infection

Therefore, it is very important to drink lots of water.

Tips to prevent dehydration

  • Aim to drink 6 – 8 glasses of fluids a day
  • Drink fluids you enjoy
  • Have a mix of hot and cold fluids
  • Have a full glass of fluids whenever you take your medications
  • Include more soups, yoghurts, tinned fruit in juice and jelly

Other tips for healthy ageing

Keeping active, eating well and staying hydrated are the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing but there are other things you should also be doing to take care of yourself.

  • Get your vaccinations when you are offered them
  • Talk about your medicines with your doctor
  • Look after your feet
  • Look after your eyes
  • Get your hearing tested
  • Keep your home a safe and comfortable place