Can playing computer games be good for older people’s health?

One third of people over 65 will suffer a fall at some point and this figure rises to one half for people over the age of 85. Falls frequently lead to severe injuries and the problem is expected to increase as the UK’s population ages.

Certain physical exercises can prevent falls by at least 40%, but many older people find it difficult to maintain activity at the levels needed. So to get older people to do their exercises properly Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust has been testing out a series of computer games called Exergames that make staying active more fun.

Exercise can be fun
Exercise can be fun

The Exergames are played using a Microsoft Kinect sensor to monitor body movements. They can be programmed by doctors to suit an individual’s ability, and include activities such as squatting to control the movement of objects on a TV or computer screen.
Playing Super Mario on your Wii might take on a whole different meaning in the future.

NHS goes transparent

MyNHS is a new site on NHS Choices where you can look up the performance of your local NHS hospital, care services and local authority.

father and son playing on a computer

MyNHS includes simple, searchable data on topics as diverse as hospital food quality, staffing, patient safety and consultant outcome data. From early December you will also be able to see the Care Quality Commission’s individual risk rating your GP practice. Over time, more data will be added, including 1-year and 5-year cancer survival rates for NHS trusts.

Last month it was also announced that integrated health and early years reviews for 2 to 2-and-a-half-year-olds are to rolled out next year, with the aim of giving parents a more complete picture of their child.

Age 2 is a key development point where problems such as speech delay and behavioural issues emerge. Integrating these assessments will help avoid duplication and work towards giving parents the support they need, says the government.

Getting men to shed the pounds…

The overweight male is the target of the latest guide from the Men’s Health Forum. It highlights that almost two thirds of men are overweight or obese, compared with just over half of women. Despite this, only 10%–30% of participants on weight-management programmes are male.

Men prefer exercise to rigid diets

For those ladies wishing to encourage the man in their life to lose a few pounds please note that men prefer weight loss programmes that include physical activity, and dislike “strict” diets.

Although men are significantly less likely than women to join weight-loss programmes, once recruited they are less likely than women to drop out. Middle-aged men in particular are more motivated to lose weight once they become aware that they have a problem with their health. Knowing that weight loss may prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes – or improve erectile function – seems to have an effect!

It’s a question of knowing which button to press. Our pharmacies offer advice on weight management, or can signpost you to local services if you are not sure where to start.

What is a unit of alcohol?

With the festive season upon us it’s about time we reminded ourselves of just how much alcohol we should be drinking!

All alcoholic drinks carry details of how much alcohol they contain, but it is not always easy to relate that information to how many units of alcohol the bottle or can contains, or how much it is safe to drink. So, here are some simple guidelines:

One unit of alcohol in the UK is defined as a drink containing 10mL (8g) of ethanol.

To calculate the units of alcohol…

…multiply the volume of the drink in litres – for example, 500mL of beer (is 0.5 litres or just under a pint)
…by the alcohol percentage – for example, 5% alcohol by volume (abv)

So, 0.5 litres multiplied by five equals 2.5 units.

Here are some useful guidelines:

one unit of alcohol is equivalent to:
• half a pint of average strength beer, lager, or cider (3–4% abv)
• a standard pub measure (50mL) of fortified wine (sherry or port at 20% abv)


one and a half units of alcohol is equivalent to:
• a small glass (125mL) of average strength wine (12% abv)
• a standard pub measure (35mL) of spirits (40% abv).

The recommendations are that weekly alcohol intake should be no more than 21 units for men and 14 units for women – and pregnant women should avoid drinking during the first three months of pregnancy.

Getting enough sleep?

Getting enough sleep?

Boost you chances of quitting smoking from 3% to 20%

Looking to stop smoking in the New Year? Do you want to boost your chances of success from 3% to 20%? Here’s how.

Just 3% of people are successful when they rely on will power alone. Add in some support and nicotine replacement therapy and this increases to 20%.

Call into one of our pharmacies and ask one of our specially trained expert advisers about our Stop Smoking services.

It’s important to plan now for a New Year’s Day quit date.

Make your New Year a good one.

Make your New Year a good one
Know someone over 60 under the weather?

People often don’t seek advice for wheezes, coughs and sneezes because they don’t think it’s serious enough, or they don’t want to waste their pharmacist’s time. But no problem is too small for your local pharmacist, who is a highly trained and trusted source of health advice.

Leaving it until it’s a problem may lead to a visit to A&E that could have been avoided.


This new campaign aims to reduce hospital admissions among the over 60s
Are you getting your vitamin D?

Vitamin D is important for keeping bones and teeth healthy. A lack of the vitamin can lead to deformities such as rickets in children, and a condition known as osteomalacia in adults which causes pain and tenderness.

Young woman at winter
Are you getting enough winter sun?

In England, around a fifth of adults and a sixth of children – around 10 million people –may have low vitamin D status. This is partly because the main source for vitamin D is from natural sunlight, and from mid-October to the beginning of April there is no sunlight at the correct wavelength for skin to create vitamin D.

Certain groups of people in the UK are also more likely to have lack of vitamin D. These include pregnant women, children and older adults. People with darker skin or who cover up when outdoors are also at risk of having low vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is found in foods such as oily fish and fortified breakfast cereals, but if you think are missing out you can always buy a vitamin D supplement from your pharmacy. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the dose – adults should not exceed 0.025mg a day.

Welcome to our new website

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website. Ackers are committed to helping patients and are focused on investing in technology to provide information to best help patients of the Ackers pharmacy group.

We hope you enjoy browsing the website and find the information we offer to be useful.