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Planning Retirement Online

Taking Remedial Action

Introduction

Inevitably, some of us will become ill or injured as we get older, no matter what steps we take to stay healthy and fit. Arthritis, for example, can hit even the fittest person so we are all susceptible to becoming ill sooner or later.

If we do become ill, then we can do something about it. If we have been proactive, we may have already taken some steps along the way to becoming better. People who are fitter do have a better chance of recovering quicker and more completely than those who are not fit; maybe we have our own 'fighting fund' for paying for prompt health care. Have a look at our Being Proactive page by clicking the link in the box to see how you can be proactive.

Whether you have been or not, once we do get ill there are things that we can do and organisations that we can use. We look at some of them on this page.

Healthwise

We have a comprehensive Health section on the website, which will provide you with a wealth of information on health matters in general and which has links to many other sites that can help with specific issues. If you want to look for something specific, you can use the site search facility (top right of every page) and type in the word or phrase that you wish to search for. If you add the word 'Healthwise' it will search only in the Health section; if you don't, you will get a search of the complete site, which might provide you with further information.

Arthritis

Many of us will develop arthritis as we get older. Indeed, rheumatoid arthritis most commonly occurs when people are in their thirties and beyond. It can be very mild or extremely painful; either way, you should seek treatment at the earliest possible sign of it.

Staying Fit and Healthy links

As well as reading Healthwise (see above) there is more information on arthritis at www.netdoctor.co.uk. The site also has links to other web pages that list the medicines available and so on. Many people take glucosamine, which can help relieve the symptoms, and there are other products that may help at Maxavita.

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists can play a big role in helping alleviate arthritis, but initially you should go to your doctor if you are having problems.

Heart Problems

There are many forms of heart problems but, needless to say, if you feel that there is anything wrong with your heart, you should consult your doctor immediately.

It might help you to have confidence in treatment and cure if you know a little more about how heart conditions are treated, what drugs are used and so on. To find out more, go to The British Heart Foundation website and discover the facts about heart treatment.

Back Pain

As we get older many of us, particularly men, will suffer from back pain. It's often said that we should still be walking on all fours and that we haven't evolved sufficiently yet to walk on just two! It can be very debilitating and, as with everything else, the first thing to do is to go to your doctor.

Treat Your Own BackHowever, the doctor may well refer you to a physiotherapist or osteopath, for example, and if you don't want to wait for a long time, which you very often have to on the NHS, you might want to find your own specialist. If one is recommended to you, that's good. However, if you don't have anyone who can recommend a good practitioner to you, you might find one through the Health Professions Council (see below for the link).

Memory

We all feel that, as we get older, our memory gets worse. We all get those 'senior moments'! As with physical illness, if we are proactive and keep the mind exercised, we can reduce our memory deterioration. Taking some continuing education or having hobbies that keep the brain active will help to keep our memory functioning. There are now a number of computer games, such as the Nintendo Brain Training, which are specifically aimed at keeping our brain and our memory in good working condition.

Living Aids

If you become disabled there are many mobility aids, disability aids and living aids on the market. If you go to our own Living Aids section, you can see a huge range, from stair lifts to showers, special beds and mattresses. There are hearing aids, aids for bad backs and incontinence products. Almost every kind of disability is catered for.

It's reassuring to know that there is help available and that you can obtain aids to help you - whatever your disability happens to be. You are not alone.

Health Professionals

It is likely that, at some stage, you will need the services of a physiotherapist, chiropodist or some other health professional. Indeed, it is a good idea to see a professional at an early stage in an illness or injury; many people (especially men) are reluctant to see someone and then wonder why they are not getting better. However, it is always reassuring to know that the person you are seeing is recognised by a professional body and has proper qualifications. You can check this through the website of the Health Professions Council.

Prevention is better than cure and if you do some of the things that we talk about on the other pages of this Guide, you can take some steps to avoiding illness as you get older. However, the sad fact is that, inevitably, some of us will become ill in one way or another. If you do, remember that there is remedial action that we can take. Knowing that there are things we can do will, hopefully, make us more positive in our attitude to fighting illness; that in itself can be a huge help to us.

So now read the other pages to see what steps you can take to staying fit and healthy as you get older.

This Guide is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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