Healthy living advice for elderly patients

Pharmacists, particularly community pharmacists, have much contact with the public, especially older people. I have read the book ‘Sod Seventy!’ by the senior medical figure Sir Muir Gray. SAGA magazine publicised his advice in January 2016. I suggest that pharmacists consider sharing with appropriate patients my take on the guidance from Sir Muir.

After checking with your GP, take sufficient exercise at least three times a week. Walk 30 minutes a day if possible. Try using dumbbells. If practicable, join a gym with a fitness instructor. Undertake stretching and suppleness exercises for ten minutes a day.

Keep your diet balanced, with correct number of calories, using the five-a-day rule for fruits and vegetables, and avoid excess alcohol consumption. Exercise your brain and learn something new e.g. DIY skills, or how to Skype. Be mindful and enjoy the present — you may be able to combine this spirituality with exercise (e.g. pilates or yoga). Interact with others socially (e.g. voluntary work or join a local society of your choice).

Use local health services (e.g. for vaccination). When seeing a GP or consultant, ask for absolute numbers such as: “If 100 people have this test or treatment, how many will have a good result and how many will suffer some harmful consequence?” Bear in mind that taking too much medication or undergoing too many tests may, on balance, reduce well-being. Also, fully use other health professionals (e.g. dentist, optometrist, pharmacist and physiotherapist).

It may seldom be useful to offer all this advice at once, but most of these pointers will be beneficial for elderly patients and customers that come into pharmacies. After all, pharmacists have an important role to play in promoting healthy living lifestyles.

Malcolm E Brown

Retired pharmacist

Beccles, Suffolk

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2016, Vol 296, No 7889;296(7889):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200983

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