Category: Uncategorized

Getting value for your money

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

~ Epictetus
senior couple with papers and calculator at home

Spending where you get best value for your life.

Are you spending on things that don’t really improve your quality of life?

Your car: if you have a car do you need it? Most people’s gut response is that they do, but that is because cars can become such a large part of our identity. A small car likely costs at least £150 a month to keep on the road, probably far more. For many this is a bit of an extravagance, and whilst renting a car seems expensive, for the very few times it is truly required it can be the best option.

Your home: if you are a home owner it is probably your biggest asset but you might want to consider whether it really serves your needs now. Many people become attached to their homes as they can hold so many memories but often moving on frees them to a new life, and they still have their memories.

Homes that are suitable for bringing up a family are more expensive to run in terms of bills and maintenance and though it might be nice to think of as a base for the family to visit the money freed by ‘downsizing’ might mean that you can share more weekends visiting.

Alternatively you could consider equity release. This is essentially selling your home, or a share of it, in advance. When you no longer have a use for it the future value belongs to the company that has given you the money. You could use the money to help you improve the property, have a trip of a lifetime, make life more comfortable or hand on to family members to help them get on the property ladder.

Equity release is a complex area as you are selling the future value of your property and you should take advice from a regulated financial advisor (see previous post).

Are you paying more than you have to for the things you do need?

Comparison websites are your friends. Many companies give competitive introductory offers but then increase prices. This is often true for insurance and utility companies and breakdown services too. There are lots of ways to compare, but if you’re not the most proactive then there are even services like that will automatically switch you to a new utility provider when it saves you money.

For more general tips on offers and savings is a go-to site and if you sign up for their monthly emails you will have loads of interesting money saving ideas delivered straight to your email inbox.

A ‘win-win’ with your food

Eat sensibly and be better off financially and in better health. Convenience foods are indeed convenient, and are packaged to look enticing – but often, fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses and the like are healthier and also cost less.

and with local transport

Even if you keep a car that doesn’t mean you have to use it. If there is suitable public transport you might be eligible to use it for free but it is also worth considering where you can comfortably walk to or even cycling. Both of these options have health dividends too.

Still not seeing how to make ends meet?

If after looking through all your options you still cannot see how to make ends meet then speak with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB). Sometimes it can be possible to reschedule payments when debts become overwhelming, and the CAB will be able to tell you whether this is possible and can often help by approaching lenders to ask them to make an arrangement with you to make your life a little bit easier.

Thinking ahead

No-one likes thinking about death but it will be reassuring to have done the work to make a will. Some charities will even do this for free or a donation. Age UK has a very helpful page which includes a video introduction to the topic.
Also consider creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, which would let someone whom you trust make decisions if you are not able to. The government has some very good information on this at

The next section gives tips helps you to keep safe in your home.

Healthy Active Ageing

This blog post is an excerpt from Healthy Active Ageing, a series of mini-guides that together cover most of what we can do as human beings to make the later stages of our lives as positive as they can be.
If you complete the details below we’ll email you one of the guides every until you have the full set. You will know a lot of the information but there is nothing wrong with a reminder every now and then; and there may even be some information which is new to you.


Eating well- part 2


“Take care of your body.
It’s the only place you have to live.”

~ Jim Rohn



Getting to an ideal weight

After the first part of ‘Managing your weight’ (in our previous post) you might have found your ideal weight range. If you’ve identified that you are either underweight or overweight – or even if you are trying to maintain your weight, you need to learn to calorie count.

You probably know the logic but here is a reminder:

  • If your body is processing food normally and you are regularly taking in more energy than you are using, your body will store this energy and you will put on weight.
  • If you take in less energy than you use you will lose weight and if you balance the energy in with energy out you will maintain weight.
  • The bigger you are the more energy will be used to perform the same activities as someone smaller than you.
  • As your weight changes your calorie need will change too and you can adjust for that.
  • Calories (with a capital C ) are the units of energy used in dieting; this information is available on all packaged food and drink and can be looked up for ‘fresh’ produce. Sometimes energy is also displayed in kilocalories (kc) or kiloJoules (kJ) where 1 Calorie = 1kc = 4.2kJ.

Know your maintenance calorie needs will tell you the calories needed to maintain your correct weight with your current lifestyle. You can then set your calorie goal as a variance from this. If you are underweight the chances are you have been taking in too few calories and if you are overweight too many calories. There is a danger that if you just cut down or add proportionately to your current diet you will feel hungry or bloated. But there are some low-calorie foods which are very filling and the converse is also true, so choosing carefully can mean you feel nicely full whilst still moving towards your target weight. Don’t eat on the run: sit and enjoy what you eat, if you focus on the act of eating you are likely to feel satisfied with less food.

The 500 Calorie rule

Now you need to set your calorie target. Keep your target to within 500 Calories of your daily maintenance calorie needs to make sure your body is not being too stressed by the change of weight. This will mean you will lose (or gain) 3,500 Calories a week which roughly equates to a pound (450g) weight change. You might like to think of that as losing a small packet of butter, if it helps.
Some diets advocate fasting days and combining foods which might mean there are days that are far less, or more. Just bear in mind over a week that the calories should balance out.

All calories count!

Don’t forget drinks. Allow 100 Calories per glass of wine and 180 per pint of beer. Tea can have up to 50 Calories per cup with milk and sugar though semi-skimmed with no sugar will bring it down to about 15-20. Swapping to green tea reduces this to 1 or 2 calories.
Calories count even if:

  1. No one else is watching
  2. It’s from someone else’s plate
  3. You’re wearing training shoes (it does NOT make consumption into exercise)
  4. The date says it’s between Christmas and New Year
  5. There’s one bite left
  6. It’s your birthday
  7. You eat standing up
  8. You’re on vacation
  9. It’s free
  10. It would be rude not to

Do it anyway, occasionally. Enjoy the odd treat. But don’t give up, just try and adjust back to your target over the next few days.

The next article in this series explores ‘Managing your finances’.

    If you have a critical issue bothering you, click here for some information about what you can do now.

    How to get the latest Health Active Ageing

    If you are looking for some regular handy tips to help keep you shipshape, you have some choices:

    1. The simplest is to fill in your details below and click on the ‘Get Healthy Active Ageing’ button
    2. Bookmark our blogs and visit is regularly, you will be able to navigate through all our posts
    3. Follow us on Facebook

    Managing medication

    Senior man reading prescription label

    “The best doctors and medicine in the world can’t save you if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.”

    ~ Magic Johnson

    You might not like taking medications, very few people do, but not taking them can lead to medical problems. Medications fall into three main categories:



    Whilst not strictly medications, dietary supplements such as vitamins and fish oils are widely used. Whatever you read about the benefits of supplements but it is important to recognise they have not been tested to pharmaceutical standards. In general, supplements have no deleterious effects on your health as long as you follow the directions on the label, though for any beyond the most widely available, it would be wise to check with a dietitian.

    ‘Over the Counter’ remedies

    These medications are typically taken for the relief of pain or discomfort. They can be very effective as a short term remedy but should not be used to treat long term symptoms without prior consultation with your doctor. As with all medication, read the label before taking.
    If you have a symptom, speak to your local pharmacist. They are highly trained and can advise on a suitable medication.

    Prescription Medicines

    These medicines are prescribed by your doctor and are typically more ‘powerful’ (or expensive) than over the counter medicines and should be taken as prescribed.
    Here are five top tips to help your doctors to help you.

    • Always take your medications as prescribed. The label will give details of times and special conditions (such as before a meal).
    • Always discuss with your doctor any concerns you have about any medications you are taking. It is important to let your doctor know if you have decided, for whatever reason, not to take any of your medications or if you are taking additional over the counter medications.
    • If your medications are having any effect (either good or bad) make a note so you can tell your doctor the next time you see them.
    • If you are having a strong reaction call an NHS adviser direct on ‘111’ or visit and they will advise you what to do or to call an ambulance if they think it is that urgent.
    • If you have difficulty keeping track of your medications ask your pharmacist for your next prescription in blister packs. These are organised so that you pop the right pills out at the right time. There are also electronic pill dispensers that will sound an alarm when you should take your next medication.

    The next article in this series explores ‘Managing your weight’.


      If you have a critical issue bothering you, click here for some information about what you can do now.

      How to get the latest Health Active Ageing

      If you are looking for some regular handy tips to help keep you shipshape, you have some choices:

      1. The simplest is to fill in your details below and click on the ‘Get Healthy Active Ageing’ button
      2. Bookmark our blogs and visit is regularly, you will be able to navigate through all our posts
      3. Follow us on Facebook

      Food Table Celebration Delicious Party Meal Concept

      “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”

      ~ Virginia Woolf, A room of one’s own

      Further to our previous post here are some rules of thumb to judge your diet against.

      • Eat a wide range of foods
        Ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
      • Base your meals on rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and cereals.
        Try to keep it unprocessed by choosing wholegrain varieties – and don’t peel your potatoes.
      • Have lots of fruit and veg
        Try smoothies, augment cereals or porridge with a chopped banana, swap a treat for a piece of fruit.
      • Fish is a generally healthy option
        having a couple of portions of fish a week is good. At least one of these should an ‘oily’ fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, herring or sardines
      • Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
        We are all aware that these are bad for us but you need to be careful about what is in processed food. Sometimes food and drinks have large amounts of sugar that you would not expect . Check everything but especially look out for fruit juices, spaghetti sauces, soups and breakfast cereals.
      • Eat less salt
        Two tips here.
        Firstly try ‘low-salt’, it is a much healthier option when adding salt to food that you are preparing. Most people get on with it very well as a direct replacement for salt but for a small minority it will taste more bitter than salty.
        Secondly, check your processed foods. Pizzas, pasta sauces, table sauces (ketchup, etc) and processed meats can all be culprits but they do have to state the salt content on the label.
      • Drink (mainly water)
        Aim for 6-8 glasses a day and whilst all non-alcoholic drinks help, water is about the best. You should also have no more than 150ml (just under half a drinks can) of juice or smoothie.
        Dehydration, not having enough fluid intake, can lead to confusion and balance issues amongst other symptoms.
      • Get a good cookbook.
        Not everyone likes cooking but there are ways to make food tasty without using so much salt and fat.

      The NHS has a free downloadable ‘Eatwell guide’ at

      Next are 5 top tips to managing your medication.

      If you have a critical issue bothering you, click here for some information about what you can do now.

      How to get the latest Health Active Ageing

      If you are looking for some regular handy tips to help keep you shipshape, you have some choices:

      1. The simplest is to fill in your details below and click on the ‘Get Healthy Active Ageing’ button
      2. Bookmark our blogs and visit is regularly, you will be able to navigate through all our posts
      3. Follow us on Facebook


      Man crossing rickety string bridge.

      When everything you do seems like a challenge maybe it is time to ask for help to make things easy again

      If you are becoming less able to cope with everyday tasks, known professionally as ‘activities of daily living’ (ADLs), and you are having difficulty solving the problem yourself then you could look on reputable websites for guidance such as AgeUK or which are both charities.

      If you still have an unresolved issue you could speak with an Occupational Therapist (OT). OTs are not just for working life but have a mission to ‘overcome barriers preventing people from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them.’ OTs will be up to date with the latest aids and services that can make life more manageable.

      You can ask your local council or doctor for an assessment, but you are likely to find yourself on a waiting list which can be quite substantial and any support will probably be means tested. If you can afford it, go to (website of the OT’s Royal College) and click ‘find an occupational therapist’.

      Continue reading

      Stopping drift into decline

      Leaves showing the changing colors of the seasons.

      A lot of the changes are so gradual that they don’t even qualify as news, or even as interesting: they’re so mundane that we just take them for granted. But history shows that it’s the mundane changes that are more important than the dramatic ‘newsworthy’ events.

      ~ Robert D Kaplan

      A good way to make the gradual changes more perceptable is to record snapshots against a date and we have designed a checklist for you to download, print, record and keep.

      You can dowload your one page simple health checklist by clicking here.

      Continue reading

      Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when we look back everything is different.

         ~ C S Lewis

      Optometrist examines eyesight of woman
      A regular eye exam

      A child’s growth is far more noticeable if you don’t see them every day. Likewise a drift from energy and health is far more noticeable if you look at information which is separated by time. The imperceptible changes that happen every day become perceptible over time and once you have perceived a change, often you can do something about it.

      Make sure you have the right checks scheduled

      You should be seen by health professionals in the proper timescales.

      Health checks with a GP

      If you haven’t been seeing the doctor for any other reason which would

      Continue reading

      The assure has a unique combination of qualities which together bring significant benefits to our wearers.

      Personal Alarm for the Elderly

      Let’s get who the Assure won’t work for out of the way first and then we’ll let you know why we are a great solution for anyone else who spends significant time alone.

      Though we have made the Assure as easy to use as possible it does need the wearer to interact with it. So if you are looking after someone who cannot remember to squeeze both buttons together if they want help, or to confirm they are OK by pressing a single button when the band buzzes then the Assure is not for you. In this case you may want to consider a system that monitors the home rather than the person. Such systems are typically more expensive than the Assure and require active interaction from the carers and are somewhat less effective at calling for timely help1 , but they can work around the person rather than with them.

      If you have read this far it means you are thinking about the Assure for someone who can interact with it and whether it is for yourself or someone else the Assure is different for the following reasons.

      The Assure is truly designed to be worn all the time. This is known in the trade as ‘fit & forget’ and is important because no one knows when an emergency will happen including high risk times when showering or an overnight visit to the bathroom.

      There are several attributes designed into the Assure that mean it can be worn for a full year without taking it off.

      • We have built in an extraordinary 1 year battery life, so no recharging2. It is worth checking on some solutions that say they ‘can be worn’ 24 hours a day as they may also say they need to be re-charged
      • Waterproof for showering and bathing
      • Made of comfortable medical grade silicone to fit wrist sizes from 12-21cm circumference.
      • Stylish enough to win international design awards so you will be comfortable wearing it wherever you go
      • Activated with a simple squeeze meaning it can’t accidentally be set it off in bed, unlike single button wristbands.

      So having designed a system that can be worn all the time we then considered if we could improve on the systems which had been around since the late 1980 and were still based on telephones. Using the latest in technology we realised we could do far more than basic SOS alerts and the wellness check-ins are unique to us.

      • SOS Alerts
      • Wellness check-ins. Choose the times for the band to buzz on the wrist and confirm you are OK by pressing a single button, wherever you are (You don’t have to go to the phone or alter your normal behaviour)
      • Fall monitoring. The band can listen for a ‘jerk’ pattern which is typical of a fall and then if there is little movement afterwards will again ask if you are OK by buzzing on your wrist. These settings can be personalised to suit frail or more active wearers
      • Household comfort zones. Put the Acticheck base somewhere representative of the household temperature (i.e. away from heat sources and draughts) and set a minimum temperature that will trigger an email. This can also be used as a frost monitor so even if the wearer is not at home responders can be warned if the pipes are in danger
      • Communication lost. If we don’t hear from the base for a period of time we will send an email to any administrators letting them know there may have been an internet outage. With traditional systems ‘No news is good news’ but with the Assure even if circumstances mean we don’t have you covered we’ll let you know.

      © Copyright Acticheck Ltd, 2020 | UK company registration: 08852416

      If you know something is wrong then please contact an expert immediately.

      Your doctor can help with medical problems, or if you are in an emotional crisis you could contact the Samaritans. You can call them free from any phone on 116 123, email or you may have a branch near you that you can visit (see

      If the cause of your crisis is feeling overwhelmed by a financial or legal issue then they may suggest a local legal centre or the Citizens Advice Bureau as a good first step to solving your issues.

      There is a Spanish phrase that says ‘Where there is a will, there are many ways’. Just because what you have tried so far has not worked does not mean there is nothing else to try and these people are expert at finding the right solution in a crisis, and they care.