Maintaining Health

Older people need to have optimal health, to ensure they can be as active and independent as possible. This is just as it is for younger people.

Show transcript

What I like to do to keep active is to exercise every morning, almost every morning, to do a little bit around the house and then the garden, do all the odd jobs and you know just to continue doing that. Get in the game of tennis whenever possible or cricket or something with the grand childen, something like that.

Being physically active I think is very important to an older person’s emotional state, perhaps more so than when you are younger because it makes you feel a whole person again and I think that this is perhaps the one difference between the older people and those who are younger. You do tend to lose a part of your strength, you do tend to lose a part of your flexibility and so if you keep exercising then you tend to keep those qualities.

Well I think when nurses are talking to older people about exercise they really should, first of all begin to treat them as individuals, in other words they should know the particular circumstance of the person and then give them exercises which they think are reasonable for this older person to do, maybe in consultation with a physio, for instance.

Having had a big sickness recently I’ve been through a lot of rehabilitation, so the exercises I now do are exercises that I was given, first of all by a physio and these are augmented by those things called resistance tubes, rubber tubes with handles that you do all sort of things with and that’s the sort of thing I do every morning.

I recently enrolled in a yoga class. Now this is quite good because I am one of the few blokes in a class made up of sheilas mainly, and you know it is quite nice to see how these flexible younger women can move around much more flexibly than I can, and you know what I mean. Everyone thinks that yoga might just be for women but it’s bloody hard you know and it really does stretch you, really does exercise you quite a bit to do yoga properly and if ever I master the downward dog, well then I’ll just keep going and do two downward dogs or something like that.

Nurses are community educators. One of their roles is to promote healthy lifestyles and behaviours, to assist people to achieve optimal health in older age.

A nurse discussing dietary requirements with two patients

Thinking Challenge

In the video, Harry talks about the importance of ensuring that older people are encouraged to engage in physical activities that they can realistically manage and that suit their individual tastes.

  • What does the notion of older people being "active and independent" mean to you?
  • What limitations are there, if any, to older people living independently for as long as they wish?
  • What mix of strategies would you suggest for assisting older people to live independently in the community for as long as possible?