Over 65s Health

Over 65s Health

As we get older there are some conditions and illnesses that we are more likely to develop. Find out more about them, their symptoms and how they can be diagnosed and treated.

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Our GPs are here to help and place an emphasis on preventative medicine focusing on risk factors for chronic disease, such as heart disease and diabetes, and try to address these risk factors before they evolve into a life limiting condition.

See our Healthier Living page for advice on how to improve your health, manage your weight, quit smoking or reduce your alcohol intake. 

Vaccines

We strongly recommend that those over 65 get their flu vaccine every winter and also a pneumococcal vaccine once 65 years of age.

For more information, see Vaccines & Immunisations. 

Common Conditions & Illnesses

Most of the below information is sourced from AgeUK, a fantastic organisation in the UK dedicated to supporting older people in the UK. Check out their website here for more information on these conditions and other advice. We have also linked the individual conditions - just click the underlined condition name. 

 

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition which causes joint pain and inflammation. If you have arthritis, there’s support available and things you can do to help make life easier.

 

Cancer

The risk for some types of cancer increases as you age. For example, women become more at risk for cervical or endometrial cancers, while men have a higher risk for prostate cancer. While preventing cancer altogether may not be possible, screenings to detect certain cancers in the early stages can help effectively treat them. Read more on our Cancer page.

 

Dementia

Dementia is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that occur when certain diseases or conditions affect the brain. Common symptoms include: problems with memory and/or thinking skills, disorientation, struggling to follow things, mood and personality changes.

 

If problems like these start to affect your daily life, it's worth making an appointment to discuss them with your doctor. If you're worried about someone else, try to encourage them to see their doctor. You could offer to go with them for support if they seem a bit reluctant. For more information see AgeUK page: How to have an open conversation.

 

Being forgetful doesn't necessarily mean you have dementia

As we get older, many people experience symptoms like these from time to time. Dementia-like symptoms can be caused by depression, vitamin deficiencies, stress, thyroid problems or urinary tract infections. If you're worried, you should see your GP.

 

See more resources on dementia below.

 

Depression and anxiety

Feeling down isn't a natural part of ageing, it's a sign that you're not feeling as well as you should be. Older people with depression usually experience more physical symptoms – such as tiredness, weight loss, and problems sleeping. These aren't trivial matters; they're crucial to your health.

 

If you've experienced some of these symptoms on most days for 2-4 weeks, you should speak to your GP. Talking about your mental health can be daunting, but your GP is used to having these conversations. We are here to help and will know what to do.

 

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that causes a person's blood glucose levels to become too high. There are two main types – type 1 and type 2. Read more on our Diabetes page.

 

Eye health

Vision problems can lead to a higher risk of falls, driving accidents, and incorrect use of medications. They can also make day-to-day life harder. The best way to make sure your eyes are healthy is to have regular eye checks. Many eye diseases can be treated successfully if they are detected early.

 

Hearing loss

Hearing loss is a reduced ability to hear. You may find you need the TV volume to be louder or that you can’t always hear people talking, especially in a crowd. Hearing loss is usually gradual and you may not notice any changes straight away. If you've recently noticed problems with your hearing, the first step is to talk to your GP and explain how these problems are affecting your day to day life.

 

High blood pressure

One of the simplest health checks, but also one of the most important, is your blood pressure level. Persistently high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a major cause of premature death and disability, because it can lead to strokes, heart attacks and heart disease. If left untreated it can increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease and dementia.

 

Incontinence

People of all ages can have a problem controlling their bladder or bowel, and this can have a real impact on their daily lives. Some people avoid going out or need to plan their activities around a toilet. People can be reluctant to talk about bladder or bowel problems, but in most cases the problem can be cured or managed so it doesn’t interfere with your everyday life.

 

Influenza (flu)

Flu is a highly infectious and potentially serious illness caused by influenza viruses. Each year the make-up of the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the influenza viruses that the World Health Organization decide are most likely to be circulating in the coming winter. If you're 65 and over, getting your free flu vaccination is a very important way to help protect your health.

 

Malnutrition

Malnutrition means that someone isn’t eating well enough to maintain their health and wellbeing. It is characterised by low body weight or weight loss. Being malnourished can mean more visits to the GP and longer recovery times from illness. Malnutrition can affect health and wellbeing, increase hospital admissions, and can lead to long-term health problems for otherwise healthy and independent older people.

 

Menopause

The menopause is a natural part of ageing, and occurs when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to have children. It’s a gradual process which happens over months or years. Read more here on our Female Health page.

 

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that leads to more fragile bones as you get older. Fragile bones are more likely to break easily, and bones in your wrist, hip and spine are particularly vulnerable. For women, the hormone oestrogen helps protect bone strength. The reduction in oestrogen in the years following menopause causes a rapid bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis.

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs particular seasons. It's more common in winter, as we adjust to the change in seasons and feel lower in mood and energy.

 

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

UTIs are infections of the bladder, kidneys, or tubes that carry urine. They are common in older people but are easily treated and there are steps you can take to prevent them.

Useful Links & Resources​​

​Health resources:

Dementia resources:
  • The Alzheimer Society of Ireland - is the leading dementia specific service provider in Ireland. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland works across the country in the heart of local communities providing dementia specific services and supports and advocating for the rights and needs of all people living with dementia and their carers.

  • Understand Together - is a public support, awareness and information campaign led by HSE, working with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Genio campaign. Their website has lots of resources.

  • HSE – Dementia information

  • AgeUK – Dementia information and resources

  • Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute – Nutrition and dining resources for carers of those with dementia.

  • Global dementia ambassador Helen Rochford-Brennan recently spoke with Tommy Tiernan about her work as a dementia advocate and about her short-term memory challenges and the strategies she uses to work around them. Watch on the RTE player here.

Other resources:
  • HSE - Services for Older People

  • HSE - Support & Services for Caring for Older People

  • Citizens Information - Health Services for Older People

  • Active Link - Older People Information

  • Age Action - provides services including Care and Repair, computer training and information, and also campaigns for older people at a national level.

  • ALONE - provides Housing with Support, Support Coordination, Befriending, BConnect training and technology, and Campaigns for Change to hundreds of older people every week, who are homeless, socially isolated, living in deprivation or in crisis.

  • Active Retirement Ireland - is a national membership organisation that aims to enable older people to lead a full, happy and healthy life through a range of opportunities organised by local older people themselves through local Active Retirement Associations.

  • Age & Opportunity - is the Irish national agency working to:

    • Challenge negative attitudes to ageing and older people.

    • Promote the participation of older people in all areas of society, and to encourage understanding between the generations.

    • They also run the Bealtaine Festival, which is Ireland’s national festival which uniquely celebrates the arts and creativity as we age. The festival brings together people from all over Ireland to foster and inspire creativity among older people and to promote the skills, experiences and exposure that can lead to a rich creative life for all older people. Bealtaine is increasingly recognised as a major innovator in the area of the arts, creativity and older people globally and as a result is also about supporting the arts community to continue to work and to inspire and train other artists to engage in the area of creative ageing and intergenerational work.

  • Friends of the Elderly - works hard to provide a wide range of social programmes for older people who would benefit from a friendly chat or a social outing. With the help of their many dedicated volunteers and donors they provide companionship, support, social engagement, inter-generational activities and community-based services.​​​

 

This content of this page (and links to other sites) is for general information purposes only and does not substitute medical advice. While we endeavour to keep this website up-to-date, errors may occur. We advise all patients to discuss their health concerns with their GP. If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.