Planning for a healthy retirement

The government has extended its pilot scheme offering health checks to
people finishing work

Three pilot schemes were launched by the Department of Health in March
offering people aged 50 to 65 advice on issues such as blood pressure, fuel and
heating, fitness levels, diet, immunisation and screening programmes.

Health minister Lord Hunt unveiled a further five pilot schemes in October,
with £800,000 to fund the pilots for a year. The pilots will be examining
different ways of targeting people approaching, or just past, retirement age.

The five new pilot sites are in Dorset, East Devon, North Staffordshire and
Southwark and Hackney in London.

Services will include an osteoporosis health check in Dorset and an
occupational health and lifestyle advice service through the primary care trust
in east Devon.

In Southwark, a pre-retirement health day and website with inter-active
e-mail will be developed, while in Hackney GP surgeries, employers and
community groups will be asked to carry out health checks.

In North Staffordshire, the pilot will look to raise awareness of the need
for health checks among older people as well as recruiting them as lay health
advisers.

Lord Hunt said, "We are moving away from the idea that the health
service for older people is just about treatment towards ensuring that people
have advice and help to prevent them from becoming ill in the first place.

"These health checks will give older people the chance to stay fitter
and healthier for longer and plan for a healthy retirement."

A study by the Health Development Agency for the DoH showed many
pre-retirement courses included some aspect of health, but there was potential
for expanding them.

It also found only a few specific pre-retirement health initiatives were
being developed and that people approaching retirement are rarely targeted by
existing health activities.

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