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Healthy active ageing: Keep yourself safe

As you get older, there are a lot of things that you can do to keep yourself safe. By taking action to improve your health and lifestyle, you can stay independent longer. This section provides tips on keeping yourself safe as you age.

For more information or to assess your individual situation, download our comprehensive How to Stay On Your Feet® Checklist.

Things to think about

Your health conditions

Do you suffer from dizziness, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, depression or a heart condition?
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How they could impact your health
Many health conditions can increase your risk of falling, especially anything that reduces your level of activity or makes you feel unsteady on your feet.

Tips for keeping safe
Work with your health professional to develop a plan that suits you and helps you to manage any health conditions that increase your day-to-day risk of falls. Talk to your doctor and make regular appointments to check your progress.

Your medicines

Consider all medications you take, including those prescribed by a doctor or bought from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food store (eg. natural or complementary products).

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How they could impact your health
Taking certain types of medicines, or a combination of medicines, can have side effects that can make you dizzy or drowsy which can increase your risk of falls.

Tips for keeping safe
Manage your medicines safely and effectively, take them exactly as prescribed and have them reviewed by a health professional annually.

Find out more

  • Call 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424)
    Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm  
  • Visit the National Prescribing Service (NPS) which provides telephone advice about prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines

A Webster pack

A Webster pack can help you remember to take the right medicine at the right time

Your feet and shoes

If your feet are sore, aching or tired, it makes it difficult to stay active and independent.

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How they could impact your healthFoot problems and foot pain are not a natural part of the ageing process. Some foot problems can be the first sign of more serious medical conditions such as diabetes, circulation or nerve conditions. These problems may require treatment from a podiatrist or other health professionals.

Tips for keeping safe
Take care of your feet each day and have regular podiatry checks. Choose and wear shoes that are appropriate for your feet and suit the
activities you do.

Find out more

Your vision and eyesight

Do you suffer from cataracts, glaucoma or maculopathy? Do you wear bifocals?

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How they could impact your health
Many changes in vision are gradual and may go unnoticed. These changes begin at around 40 years of age and can make it difficult to judge distances, see the edges of stairs and objects on the ground or adjust to changes in light.

Tips for keeping safeHave your eyes checked by an optometrist every two years.

The Australian Government’s National Eye Health Awareness Campaign, encourages Australians aged over 40 years to get their eyes tested regularly. Early detection will improve eye health and reduce avoidable blindness, as 75 % of eye conditions are preventable or treatable.

Strong bones, muscles and healthy eating

Do you look after your bones? Do you eat healthy meals that keep you strong and active? Do you have difficulties preparing meals?

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How they could impact your health
A balanced diet and weight bearing exercise are important to maintain good health, strong bones and muscles as well as provide sufficient energy to undertake the day’s activities.

Tips for keeping safe
Eat well every day and enjoy sharing meals with others. Do weight bearing or resistance exercises to build and maintain strong bones eg. activities where you support your own body weight like brisk walking, dancing, hiking, stair climbing, jogging or exercises using resistance or weights. If you have been inactive for a while or have a health condition, check with your doctor before starting physical activity.

Find out more

Continence

Do you have to rush to get to the toilet in time? Do you have trouble going to the toilet during the day or at night time?
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How they could impact your health
Incontinence is a common problem. With help, you can manage incontinence and resume a healthy active lifestyle.

Tips for keeping safe
Problems with bladder and bowel control can be embarrassing; however, there are health professionals who deal specifically with this issue.

The Continence Foundation of Australia also has a National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66) which offers free, confidential advice about bladder and bowel control.

Find out more

Last updated: 12 March 2012