Skip To Content

Your body

You and your body have been through a lot together. Look after yourself and live stronger for longer.

Feet - as we age our feet can change shape or lose some feeling. However, having painful feet is not a normal part of the ageing process.

  • wash your feet often to help prevent infections
  • dry your feet thoroughly especially between the toes
  • keep your toenails short – get some help if you need it
  • keep your feet warm, but avoid socks or tights which restrict your circulation
  • see a podiatrist or health professional if your feet are painful or swollen, or if you develop problems like bunions
  • choose well-fitting flat shoes with non-slip soles
  • tell your podiatrist or health professional if you have altered or loss of sensation in your feet.

Eyesight - as we age our eyesight can change too. Judging distances and depth gets harder, and glare and changes in light can play havoc with our eyesight. Make it easier on yourself.

  • get your eyes checked by a doctor once a year, and an optometrist at least once every two years. But if you notice a change, see your doctor or optometrist straight away
  • keep your glasses clean, and always wear the right prescription
  • give yourself time to get used to new glasses - especially bifocals. Bifocals can make it especially difficult to judge where to put your feet on steps and stairs
  • wear a hat and sunglasses on sunny days
  • if the light changes suddenly, stop and give your eyes time to adjust before moving on
  • eat lots of fruit and veges to maintain good eye health.

Hearing - hearing loss is normal, but it’s also gradual so you might not notice the change straight away.

If the TV is turned up very loud but it sounds perfectly normal to you, or, if you struggle to follow group conversations, you should get your hearing tested. 
Problems with ears can cause dizziness and affect your balance. The longer you leave it, the less effective treatments can be.

The Ministry of Health supports a range of Hearing and Vision Services. Go to their website for further information http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support/disability-services/types-disability-support/hearing-and-vision-services

Bladder control - people of all ages can experience bladder or bowel control problems. Don’t be embarrassed to discuss it with your doctor or health professional.

If you are having issues, also make sure you:

  • drink normally as cutting down on liquids usually makes urinary incontinence worse, not better
  • tea, coffee and some fizzy drinks contain caffeine. If you notice they make you go to the toilet more, cut down or try decaffeinated versions
  • ask your doctor whether any medicines you’re taking could be affecting your bowels and bladder.

Healthy eating - getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins is essential as you get older.

  • include a good range of foods in your diet like wholegrain cereals, milk and cheese for calcium, and five portions of fruit or vegetables each day. And don’t forget; frozen veges are just as good as fresh (and more convenient)
  • keeping your fluids up, especially on warm days, is just as important as eating well
  • Keep a glass of water within reach during the day as a reminder
  • if you’re worried about your weight or appetite, speak to your doctor.

Alcohol - as we get older, we become more sensitive to alcohol’s effects.

  • It can make some medicines stronger or weaker or make their side-effects worse
  • Drinking too much can cause health problems, or make existing health problems like diabetes and mental health problems, worse
  • Many people need to cut down how much alcohol they are drinking when they get older. Others need to stop drinking altogether.

It is never too late to change. For more information, go to www.alcohol.org.nz

Feet - as we age our feet can change shape or lose some feeling. However, having painful feet is not a normal part of the ageing process.

  • wash your feet often to help prevent infections
  • dry your feet thoroughly especially between the toes
  • keep your toenails short – get some help if you need it
  • keep your feet warm, but avoid socks or tights which restrict your circulation
  • see a podiatrist or health professional if your feet are painful or swollen, or if you develop problems like bunions
  • choose well-fitting flat shoes with non-slip soles
  • tell your podiatrist or health professional if you have altered or loss of sensation in your feet.

Eyesight - as we age our eyesight can change too. Judging distances and depth gets harder, and glare and changes in light can play havoc with our eyesight. Make it easier on yourself.

  • get your eyes checked by a doctor once a year, and an optometrist at least once every two years. But if you notice a change, see your doctor or optometrist straight away
  • keep your glasses clean, and always wear the right prescription
  • give yourself time to get used to new glasses - especially bifocals. Bifocals can make it especially difficult to judge where to put your feet on steps and stairs
  • wear a hat and sunglasses on sunny days
  • if the light changes suddenly, stop and give your eyes time to adjust before moving on
  • eat lots of fruit and veges to maintain good eye health.

Hearing - hearing loss is normal, but it’s also gradual so you might not notice the change straight away.

If the TV is turned up very loud but it sounds perfectly normal to you, or, if you struggle to follow group conversations, you should get your hearing tested. 
Problems with ears can cause dizziness and affect your balance. The longer you leave it, the less effective treatments can be.

The Ministry of Health supports a range of Hearing and Vision Services. Go to their website for further information http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support/disability-services/types-disability-support/hearing-and-vision-services

Bladder control - people of all ages can experience bladder or bowel control problems. Don’t be embarrassed to discuss it with your doctor or health professional.

If you are having issues, also make sure you:

  • drink normally as cutting down on liquids usually makes urinary incontinence worse, not better
  • tea, coffee and some fizzy drinks contain caffeine. If you notice they make you go to the toilet more, cut down or try decaffeinated versions
  • ask your doctor whether any medicines you’re taking could be affecting your bowels and bladder.

Healthy eating - getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins is essential as you get older.

  • include a good range of foods in your diet like wholegrain cereals, milk and cheese for calcium, and five portions of fruit or vegetables each day. And don’t forget; frozen veges are just as good as fresh (and more convenient)
  • keeping your fluids up, especially on warm days, is just as important as eating well
  • Keep a glass of water within reach during the day as a reminder
  • if you’re worried about your weight or appetite, speak to your doctor.

Alcohol - as we get older, we become more sensitive to alcohol’s effects.

  • It can make some medicines stronger or weaker or make their side-effects worse
  • Drinking too much can cause health problems, or make existing health problems like diabetes and mental health problems, worse
  • Many people need to cut down how much alcohol they are drinking when they get older. Others need to stop drinking altogether.

It is never too late to change. For more information, go to www.alcohol.org.nz

Next page Resources