Series exploring concerns about ageing. Fiona Phillips investigates why Britain's older population is twice as likely to die in house fire, and Bill Turnbull gets a bald makeover.
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Everything has an impact on your life.
Whatever your age.
From the type of house we live in...
Oh, this looks nice.
Yes, it's been completely renovated throughout.
To how much money we have to spend...
Your wage ends up being like a normal working wage, which is good.
..what we put in our bodies...
I don't think I've ever been fat fat, but I have put weight on.
..to the secrets of our genetic make-up.
You are going to live to be 140.
That'll do. I'll take everything I can get.
So, finding out about all those things and more
could help you mature brilliantly.
Or slow down the ageing process just a little.
We track down the very best tips and advice for holding back the years.
And, now, with the help of our team, we're going to pass them on to you.
To show you how to have the time of your life.
Whenever that may be.
Hello and welcome to the show that says you might not be able to stop
-But with our help, you can give it a blooming good try.
Here's what's coming up.
Alarming statistics show that over-60s are the most vulnerable
when it comes to house-fire fatalities.
So how do you get peace of mind for your loved ones and yourself?
I've been finding out.
The fact that you didn't have a working smoke alarm
-to give you early warning...
-That can make a real difference...
I know now. I know now. It's too late.
Our resident GP, Dr Rangan Chatterjee,
is here to encourage you to know your numbers
when it comes to blood pressure.
It is a tad high today.
But there can be many factors why we have high readings.
being pulled over by someone to have your blood pressure taken...
And male pattern baldness, is there a cost-effective cure?
Bill gets wiggy with it to find out.
Would you be attracted to a man who had no hair?
-Do you prefer men with hair or without hair?
If you're Bruce Willis, then that's different.
Making sure we're all safe in our homes
is obviously crucial to a long and happy life.
One of the dangers we fear most, though, is fire.
Which is why planning for the worst-case scenario is crucial.
But what does that look like?
Well, Fiona went to see for herself.
This is what the aftermath of a serious house fire looks like.
The prospect of being stuck in a scenario like that would be
terrifying at any age.
But statistics show that older people are more at risk than others.
Shockingly, fire deaths amongst the over-65s account for a third of
Even those that survive don't escape unharmed.
Sometimes it's the scars on the inside
that take the longest to heal.
Last year, 77-year-old Gemma McDaid from Londonderry was caught
in a fire that almost took her life.
Today, I'm meeting her at her sister's house.
I turned on my wee electric fire,
two-bar electric fire was on the ground,
-which I always do every night to heat up the room...
..for it's a cold bungalow.
And when I lifted the tea and toast to go out into my living room...
..the light has all went black.
And I saw some smoke coming from my bedroom.
And I thought it was somebody's chimney was on fire.
As I pushed the bedroom door open,
the flames just started then getting worse
and the whole place was on fire
and I was calling for my cat.
Gemma believes the fire may have started from clothes she'd
inadvertently left too near the electric heater.
The sleeves or something must've been hanging down...
to the ground and the fire...
It must've been on top of the fire.
And how quickly did this all happened?
Inside... Oh, it just took...
My bedroom's about seven seconds out into my kitchen.
-That's how quick it went.
But Gemma made an almost fatal mistake.
One that really could've cost her her life.
She went back in for her cat.
I thought he was in the bedroom.
But when I opened the front door, to call for help...
..he must have got out and, in the panic, I didn't see him going out.
And that's when I went back in again, looking for him.
..I was crying, I didn't know...
I thought he went up with the fire.
And how did you get out in the end?
A neighbour came up the footpath
when, she says, she'd seen it from her bedroom. The flames.
So she ran out and stopped a car and the fella...
Luckily, he was a neighbour, an old neighbour of mine.
And he came in and I wouldn't come out,
looking for the cat and the flames was going round me.
Gemma then tried to douse the flames with a bowl of water,
but within a matter of moments,
she was in danger of succumbing to the poisonous smoke.
Luckily, Gemma's neighbour reacted quickly and pulled her out of the
house. So, the nice gentleman got you out, the cat was already out...
-And I mean, how has that left you feeling now, Gemma?
You've got a lovely smiley face.
But you must have terrible memories.
Yeah, because I'd photographs of my mother and father,
you know and...
-They're the irreplaceable things, aren't they?
How vulnerable has it left you feeling now, Gemma?
It's the times when it comes back to me and I sit crying and...
-It's very much still with you, isn't it?
-And always will be.
And this is the house that Gemma escaped that fateful night -
burnt-out and boarded-up -
but, today, we've been given special access to see inside,
as a warning.
My guide is assistant chief fire officer Alan Walmsley
of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.
It's a sight that's all too familiar for him.
He believes this is a great example of how any of us
could get things very wrong.
The whole place went up, didn't it?
Yeah, just shows you how quick smoke will spread right through the
-You can see the different layers of smoke
throughout the different rooms...
-..tracing right back to where the actual fire started.
So, how common are fires like this one?
Accidental fires are very common right across the UK.
From our perspective in Northern Ireland,
last year, we had 826 accidental dwelling fires.
If you think about it, that's two or three everyday.
-And when you look at the main causes,
the fire we have seen here today,
if you look at the three main causes,
there's cooking and cooking appliances,
it's electricity and electrical appliances, just...
That we've seen here today.
And smoking. So, it is a very common fire.
Smoking's still a big cause.
-Still a big cause, too.
-So, where did Gemma go wrong, do you think?
We use a very simple message. It's called a stop message.
And if you think about this fire, S would stand for smoke alarm.
-And for testing it weekly. Gemma's...
-Testing it weekly,
-as often as that? OK.
it's a very simple thing we use, it's across the UK Fire Service now,
is Test It Tuesday. It's a really simple message.
And Gemma's been very brave and honest in telling us that she'd
taken her smoke alarm down a number of months ago,
so she'd no smoke alarm and it wasn't being tested weekly.
When you look at the O of stop, it's about obvious causes of fire.
And you've seen what caused the fire.
-That two-bar fire.
And Gemma wasn't aware of the dangers of using that fire.
And it was a genuine mistake on her part,
but that was the danger. And the most important part was the P,
the fire escape plan. When you think about what Gemma did on that
-evening, she had such a lucky escape.
I mean, you've seen the size of the bowl that Gemma tried to tackle that
fire with, which we would never recommend.
And, look, we all have pets and we all love our animals.
But Gemma went in to try and rescue a cat.
Really, what we want people to do is get out
-and be safe.
-So get out, don't try and tackle it,
-don't try and save animals, don't...
-Just get out.
Get out and stay out and call ourselves out.
But sometimes, for older people, this isn't as simple as it sounds.
Statistics show that in the UK,
you're twice as likely to die in a house fire if you're over the age
of 65, which leads me to one question...
-Why are they so vulnerable?
-It could be a range of issues.
It could be, you know, as they get older there could be, you know,
health issues, mobility issues,
you know, social isolation issues.
Two-thirds of our fire fatalities in the last two years have been people
-Again, if you look at Gemma's case, you know,
living here alone, you know, it just heightens the risk factors.
Yeah, so being over 50, being alone, that's the highest risk...
And that's why, as a Fire and Rescue Service right across the UK,
we're really trying to target that sort of group.
It's time to take Gemma back to the scene of devastation which destroyed
her home, consumed her belongings and very nearly stole her life.
And taking her back to sift through this wreckage,
it's clear the house is not the only thing to have suffered.
What's going through your mind now, seeing it again?
Just how stupid I was.
How clumsy and forgetful and I...
This is clearly very difficult for Gemma, but with the help of Alan
Walmsley, maybe lessons can be learned.
I can't imagine how you must be feeling, seeing it...
To be so stupid.
Well, you've seen the damage in the hall but you can see the extent of
the damage in here and, look, Gemma, you had such a lucky escape.
-You really, really did.
There's the fire.
-The offending fire.
And the chair that the clothes were on.
Oh, that's where the clothes were, yeah.
-And that's one of the bowls of water that
-I chucked out there.
-You can see the damage in this room.
You can even see how low the smoke layer has gone.
So the room would have been filled with black smoke,
-right the way down to like...here.
-Within seconds, as Gemma said,
she left the room and within seconds
that's what we were dealing with.
Smoke is the silent killer.
But a smoke alarm can provide precious seconds for people
to get out of a burning building.
Gemma, however, had forgotten to change the battery in hers.
The fact that you didn't have a working smoke alarm to give your
-You know, that's where we can make
-a real difference...
-I know now. I know now.
-It's too late.
-But you had a smoke alarm, didn't you?
I had a smoke alarm
and it needed a battery in it
and I kept forgetting...
-..all the time, that's about a few months ago.
-Oh, I can't believe how...
-And you just realised then how
-stupid it was in the first... You know...
It didn't even dawn on me at times.
Look, Gemma, we get fires all the time caused by things like this,
so it's not stupid.
This happens every single day in Northern Ireland, fires,
and the main thing's to try and learn from this. I mean,
-you really did have a lucky escape.
-I did. I know I did.
Gemma was clearly very lucky to survive this house fire,
but we don't want you to rely on luck alone,
so, later in the programme, we'll be looking at smoke alarms...
All the manufacturers generally give you a little map on the back
-where to put them.
-..how to plan an escape route...
It's almost impossible not to breathe in the smoke.
..and making Gemma feel safe again with a free gift that most Fire And
Rescue Services in the UK offer.
Time for the doctor on your doorstep and, today,
GP Rangan Chatterjee is tackling the subject of blood pressure -
in particular, why it could be a life-saver to know your numbers.
Modern life can put us all under pressure.
And it's the impact that it has on our health that I see every day
working as a GP.
Luckily, there is one simple noninvasive procedure that can give
us some idea about what's going on inside our bodies.
When it comes to my job as a GP,
one of the commonest and easiest procedures that I have to
do on a daily basis is take people's blood pressure.
Now, the gold standard for doctors used to be these things,
which actually I got from my own dad, who was a doctor.
But actually these are very much being phased out now
and what we've got are these newer digital devices.
But despite blood pressure measurements being cheap, quick,
easy and available to so many of us,
a surprising few of us actually know our numbers.
The numbers I'm referring to are the readings you get when you have your
blood pressure taken by whatever device.
The top number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during
contraction of your heart muscle.
This is called systolic pressure.
The bottom number refers to your blood pressure when your heart
muscle is between beats. That's the diastolic number.
Guidelines say that you're looking for a reading as close to 120/80
as possible. But as I'm about to show you, that varies -
-Have you had your blood pressure taken before?
-Have you had your blood pressure checked recently?
About six months ago.
It used to be 120/80 but it's going up a bit.
It's a tad high today, actually.
-We've just come on the train from Halifax.
-Was it busy?
-Quite busy, yes.
-Oh, it is high.
-Are you feeling quite relaxed today?
So it's 139/100.
Which is higher than we would want. It is a tad high today.
But there can be many factors why we have high readings.
being pulled over by someone to have your blood pressure taken.
-Well, you are a bit stressed today, aren't you?
-A little bit.
We want to see it around 120/80,
-..but I will say that you are rushing around.
-I can see you're picking up lots of things for a wedding.
That will absolutely impact it.
-What we want to check is that this is a one-off isolated reading.
-..and not what's happening every time.
-At some point when you're relaxed...
-worth checking again.
-Go and have it check with the GP.
What I like to hear as a doctor, that you're looking after yourself.
-Well, that's some people who now know their numbers
a little bit better. But what do they actually mean for our health
and holding back the years?
Joining me is blood-pressure expert Professor Anthony Hegarty from
Manchester University's School of Medical Sciences.
Why would you say it's important that the general public actually
know their numbers?
The problem with blood pressure is that if you have high levels of it,
it increases your risk of developing diseases of the heart and blood
vessels in later life.
Your risk of developing a stroke goes down by half almost immediately
-that your blood pressure comes down.
The benefit that we could have on the nation's stroke rate would be a
reduction of 45% if we could detect
and treat all the high blood pressure
in the adults of the United Kingdom.
When blood pressure rises,
blood vessels become narrow and blood flow is reduced.
Some activities, such as exercise, will raise our blood pressure
temporarily, but it's when it stays up consistently that it's a problem.
Now, I mentioned earlier that the ideal figure you're looking
for is 120/80.
However, it's another number that is actually considered what we call
high blood pressure or hypertension.
So, what do you consider to be high blood pressure?
We have a basic blood pressure of 140/90,
and if your blood pressure is above that, then the Nice guidelines will
tell us that you have high blood pressure or hypertension.
Which is why it's all the more important you know your numbers.
Not everyone, of course, relishes a trip to their GP,
which is why over the last few years
these home-testing blood pressure kits have become more popular.
But they vary in price and how you use them.
I've been going round the shopping centre now for about an hour or so
and I've seen there's a whole variety of different
blood pressure monitors that people can now buy.
I've got this one here which is a bit like the standard blood pressure
cuff you might get in your GP surgery.
This was 25 quid. Then you've got something a bit more nifty.
It's a bit more expensive. It's around 40, 45 quid, this one.
But it's a wrist monitor.
You actually pop it on like this and you'll get a reading on your wrist.
Now, the final one I picked up was this one here.
This was around 45, 50 quid.
Again, it's a bit more like the standard blood pressure monitor
you'd see at your GP practice.
Look, if you can get to your practice, that's fantastic,
or your pharmacist,
but you know what, many people aren't even doing that,
so I think this is a really good thing cos it allows people to
actually get their own readings.
Now, I will add a note of caution.
Some of my patients get a bit stressed out with home readings,
they check them twice a day, if the reading's a little bit high,
they check it again and that anxiety in itself raises their
So that's just something for you to be a little bit careful of.
The big question for home testing monitors of course is how they
compare with the sort of readings I get as a GP on my own trusty blood
pressure monitor. So that's what I'm going to test now,
with Mary and Jeff Heathcote,
for whom knowing their numbers is crucial.
So, Mary, Jeff, you two are both very concerned
about your blood pressure.
Can you tell me why that is?
Well, I've had a stroke.
Did anyone identify that you had a raised blood pressure before you had
No? Had you been to the doctor before that and had they checked it?
-Before the stroke,
we were both very lucky,
we were both quite fit,
so we very rarely went to see our doctor.
-Understandably, I mean, if you're feeling well...
..I understand, why would you go and see your doctor?
Since that time, Jeff has also been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
and now the couple believe it's important for them to regularly test
their own blood pressure.
What I thought we might do today, with these devices I was going to
measure your blood pressure, see what it's like now...
-..and then compare it with the one that I take with me
in my doctor's bag and that I'm using day in, day out
and see, actually, if it's comparable or not.
First, I take a reading with my own device...
..before taking comparisons with the three shop-bought monitors.
Bit worried with that one.
Let's just put that one on.
First, I take a reading with my own device.
The reading I got with the machine that I use with my patients
Next, it's the cheapest, the £25 monitor.
But then the next one, it's shot up to 168/87.
Then it's the wrist monitor, costing around £40.
Came back down to 149/87.
And lastly, the most expensive,
the £50 one.
But it is such a high variation from the first one to the last three.
It's worth saying that blood pressure readings can vary.
-But that's quite a lot of variation.
I trust the one that I'm using day in, day out.
But again, that's a digital device, just like these.
But I think the key thing is to use the same device and if it is
registering as high,
and let's say that device is causing a higher reading,
we would absolutely want you to go and see your doctor.
-So we can actually determine,
do you have high blood pressure or not?
If there is confusion around your blood pressure numbers,
then it's likely that your GP will offer you what's known as a 24-hour
ambulatory blood pressure measure.
That's a device that you wear for a whole 24 hours that
takes readings twice every hour.
It's able to work out a more accurate average reading
and where the fluctuations might be happening.
If the numbers remain high, then further tests can be done to see
what might be causing the hypertension.
But, remember, if you do get an abnormal reading, don't panic -
there are plenty of things that you can do.
So what treatment options are available for people who have a high
-Well, we've got some lifestyle measures.
They increase physical activity.
For some patients, if they reduce the salt content of their diet,
their blood pressure will fall.
If they increase the potassium content of their diet,
a diet rich in vegetables and low in saturated fat, that may also help.
Interestingly, if we're going to increase our potassium and have more
fruit and veg, like bananas for example,
we're probably going to actually reduce how much processed food
we have and that's where a lot of the salt and sodium lies
-in the first place.
-You're absolutely correct.
If you take out processed food, take out your daily loaf of white bread,
you've taken a lot of salt out of your diet.
If you just take the salt off the table, you won't do anything.
If you aren't controlled as a result of the lifestyle changes,
we have a large number of nontoxic drugs which people can take,
they're cheap, they take them once a day,
and they're very effective to control blood pressure.
And if the patient doesn't like them,
there are plenty of alternatives, so it's drug therapy.
But, of course, prevention is always better than cure,
so get your blood pressure checked regularly.
If you think it might be high, go and see your GP. And, finally,
when it comes to blood pressure, know your numbers.
Ooh, it's time now for a daily dose of nostalgic quizzing
designed especially to exercise your brain.
All you have to do is watch these clips and work out what was the year
Here's how the game works -
we're going to show you a few key events that all happened in
the space of a year. But which year?
And here's why you should play along -
psychologists have said that nostalgia can promote
a sense of wellbeing and vitality in us all,
so this could help you hold back the years.
MUSIC: Hot Love by T.Rex
What would be the result if there was a quick change to full decimal
currency, say, overnight?
-Absolute chaos, I should think.
-Don't give me that
-bloody new money cos I don't want it.
-What's wrong with it?
No, I want the old.
-No, I don't want it.
It's all the same.
Hello, again. Welcome along to Whistle Test,
joining myself and the audience here live as always.
Now, we're going to look forward into the future, to the year 2000.
In the year 2000,
we do hope that Blue Peter will still be continuing.
Val, John and I almost certainly won't be in it because we'll
be far too old, so we thought we'd like to leave souvenirs of what we
were like and of what the programme was like here in 19...
Stay tuned to the end of the show to find out the answer.
Now then, it's a condition that affects 30% of 30-year-olds,
50% of 50-year-olds and 80% of 70-year-olds.
But not Bill Turnbull.
-Yes. I refer, of course, to male pattern baldness.
-Well, thank you and thank goodness
because, as I've been finding out,
the cost of trying to reverse going thin on top can be positively
In the old days, if a man wanted a cure for his baldness,
it was a case of toupee or not toupee.
-Sorry about that.
-Take the advice of an expert.
He should know.
Today, for the 50% of men affected with thinning hair by the time they
reach the age of 50, there is a lot more choice out there.
Some men are even willing to pay thousands of pounds at a time for
Men like Brian Beacom, who I'm meeting today.
-You're all right. You've got a good head of hair.
-Ten years ago, Brian was a lot thinner on top and looked like this.
He'd had enough, which is why he took the decision to have a full
hair transplant that left him looking the way he does today.
So, Brian, coming to this salon costs £25 to get your hair cut,
but your journey actually cost a lot more, didn't it?
Probably cost around about £8,000, I would imagine,
which sounds a little bit expensive,
but the big delight for me is to be able to come to a salon like this
and have my hair cut, because I thought my barbering days
were long gone, Bill.
Lots of men are bald, aren't they, and they sort of just embrace
the bald look. You weren't tempted to do that.
There are some people who can look great with bald heads,
but when you're five-foot eight, Scottish and blue-eyed,
you don't look great and you just look like a criminal.
At the age of 52,
Brian booked himself into a hair transplant clinic
he found online and the transformation began.
There's a scar that runs all the way across
-but you wouldn't be able to see it.
-No, not at all.
-The most popular
type of hair transplant is the strip
technique where they take a strip of hair from the back of your head, and
this is hair that's programmed still to live on, to continue,
they take that strip of hair, dissect it up into follicular units,
make a little insertions into the top of your scalp
and put those hairs in, so it basically is planting it
like planting seed.
And how many seeds, so to speak, do they have to plant?
Well, I think in my case, I think, it was 3,250.
That'll take a long time to plant.
It was about 12 hours in the chair.
But I was quite lucky, the hair started coming through
in about three months' time and, as I say, it was exciting.
It was like Christmas every single day when you feel these new little
hair chaffs coming through.
Brian is just one example of what is fast becoming
a nationwide trend.
Latest figures suggest that, since the turn-of-the-century,
the number of men who've had hair transplants may have risen
by as much as 444%.
So if you're thinking of going for it yourself,
you'll no doubt want to know the answer to my next question.
-Was it worth it, then?
I was walking down the road in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow,
I was on the way to an awards ceremony.
I passed myself, looking in the window, and what I realised at that
point in time, had I not had a hair transplant,
I wouldn't have gone to that ceremony.
I wouldn't have stood up there in front of 300 people because I was
What the hair has given me is a new degree of added confidence,
the confidence that I had when I was 25.
And that to me is absolutely immeasurable.
So I wonder what you think of that.
Do you think Brian was right to pay so much for something that made him
feel so much better?
Or is the price just too high?
Well, if it is, don't worry,
there's plenty of consumer choice out there and it needn't involve an
expensive invasive medical procedure.
Nonsurgical mid-price options include shampoos, sprays, serums,
creams and lotions.
You can even get, would you believe, hair in a can.
Well, right at the bottom end of the price spectrum are these,
£1 anti-baldness pills, launched last year by Asda,
which it's claimed have also been taken by a certain President Donald
Trump. Well, who wouldn't want hair like that?
But before you head out to get a head of hair,
it might be worth considering the bald truth about all the possible
downsides of these treatments,
so I've come to meet one of the country's most successful hair loss
experts, Dr Bessam Farjo, to comb over a few facts.
It's a multi-billion pound industry.
Why do you think it's growing so fast?
People nowadays are very much into lifestyle solutions,
so it's not just hair transplants, anything that improves the way one
feels about themselves.
Now, as we've seen with Brian,
the upside to getting a hair transplant is a renewed confidence,
but there are side-effects that are less positive,
which brings us back to that £1 anti-baldness pill.
What does the doctor think of that?
It's probably the best solution to hang onto your hair and maybe
thicken it a little bit, but the way the pill works,
it works by blocking the male hormone that is the main culprit
in losing your hair, so we're talking about men getting...
having the desire to have sex or getting erections,
that's the responsibility of this particular hormone who happens to
make you lose hair, so if you block that hormone systemically,
then there's a 2 or maybe 3% possibility
it may affect those other functions.
So I suppose you pay your money and you take your chances.
But as well as potential side-effects,
it should be remembered that hair replacement therapies can be hit
and miss. The scientific proof is, well, patchy, at best.
Even at the top of the range,
at highly reputable clinics like this one,
there are no guaranteed cures,
as the doctor himself admits.
Doctor Farjo, we couldn't help noticing that you are yourself
rather follicly challenged.
Why haven't you had a hair transplant?
So, a transplant is not a magical solution just like that.
It depends on sufficient supply of donor hair at the back
and suitable-sized area.
So the bigger the bald area, the less hair you've got available
and there comes a time when you run out of options
with hair transplants,
so patient selection,
the right candidate and the one with the correct expectations,
are the ones we can do as much as we can.
It was interesting to meet Doctor Farjo,
who was reassuringly honest about the realities of hair loss remedies.
Hearing about the costs, the side-effects
and the hit-and-miss nature of the treatment,
it is perhaps not surprising to note that the NHS does not offer any
therapies for male pattern baldness.
Still, with the global anti-baldness market now worth an incredible
£2.7 billion, obviously
a lot of men feel it's a price that's worth paying out of their own
pocket. So now I want to get into their heads a bit more,
and that'll involve a bit of a makeover.
So, Alex, you're a make-up artist here at the theatre school.
You are going to make my hair disappear.
Yes, we are. That's what we're going to be doing today.
We're using a Baldiez bald cap
and blending it out with acetone.
-Do I need to worry?
-No, you do not need to worry.
-And you've done this before?
Safe hands. Good.
I'm kind of comfortable and it's easy to nod off.
You take as long as you like, ladies.
Are you ready for this? Three, two, one.
HE GASPS Oh, my lord!
Oh, my goodness!
That's an amazing job!
I look like something out of Star Trek.
I'm not as good-looking I was.
-You're rocking it, though, Bill.
Well, so far, this has been a bit of theatrical fun,
but I'm hoping that looking like this and going out will help me
experience what it's like for many men
who go bald and will help to explain why lots of them feel it's worth
a lot of money to get their hair back.
And I'll be honest, walking around with the camera crew hidden,
it did make me feel a bit different.
Definitely more self-conscious.
What I really wanted to know, though, was did anyone else care?
See there, that's me when I had hair
and this is me without the hair,
-so which is the better look?
-You look all right like that.
-Which do you think looks better?
-With the hair on, I think.
-With the hair on.
-I think it suits you, without the hair.
I think the natural look is the better look
but you can rock that look.
Would you be attracted to a man who had no hair?
-Do you prefer men with hair or without hair?
If you're Bruce Willis, then that's different.
THEY LAUGH How important is your hair to you?
Ten out of ten. 100%.
-So, you wouldn't want this look?
-No, no, no, no, no, no.
If you started losing your hair, would you think about doing
-something about it?
-Yeah, I'd be lost without my hair.
No, not at all. I embraced it.
I used to look like this.
-So did I.
I did too!
Would you be prepared to pay money to get your hair back?
Oh, no. Bald is beautiful.
So the top tips when it comes to hair treatment, know the risks.
Like any treatment,
hair loss therapy may not always work for you
and there could very well be side-effects.
Budget - completing the treatment is key,
so make sure you can afford it in the first place.
And, finally, don't be embarrassed by being a baldie.
It's a good look. Trust me,
I've tried it.
And I might just keep it.
I've been investigating how over-60s are the most vulnerable
when it comes to home fire risk.
So far, we've looked at the causes and effects.
Now it's time to focus on prevention and what we can all do to make
I'm spending the day in Northern Ireland with Gemma,
who, last year, was lucky to escape a house fire with her life.
But had she had a working smoke alarm,
she may not have needed to rely upon luck alone.
I had a smoke alarm and the battery was finished
and I left it on the table.
Always forgot for to get a new one
and I never dreamt for a minute
that something like this was going to happen.
It's only when it happens, you realise that you must
have a fire alarm.
Especially elderly people.
With a third of all fire-related fatalities being amongst
the over-65s, it's so important to get a smoke alarm.
Fire Service statistics for the UK show you're more than twice as
likely to die in a house fire with no smoke alarm
than in a house that does have
a smoke alarm. But which alarm do you go for?
A recent test by consumer experts Which?
suggests there's a wide variation in terms of how well different
alarms work - up to a shocking 9.3 minutes between some models.
I'm meeting fire safety consultant Kevin Howlette
to help me choose an alarm that gives you the best chance of
escaping a fire with your life.
-There are a variety of different types out there.
But the most common ones are ionising, which is...
This is your ionising detector,
which is basically works on flaming fires.
So when you have a fire that is very flame-orientated, paper,
-you know, cardboard...
that's going to alarm very, very quickly.
And we have the optical, which again, this is a really,
really good one.
The optical will work on smouldering fires,
where there is, you know, a cigarette that has dropped into
a settee or there is electrical items in bedrooms and areas like
-that that are smouldering.
And they're not flaming.
So, we have ionising alarms,
which are good for detecting flames, and optical alarms, which are good
for detecting smoke.
But what if that smoke is just me burning my toast?
Which, by the way, happens more often
than I'm usually willing to admit.
A good thing with some of the modern-day smoke detectors,
they will have anti-toast built into them, so when a toaster basically
goes off, it understands cos of the circuitry involved
and it won't go off.
All very reassuring, but if you're in any doubt whether to get
an ionising alarm or an optical alarm, don't worry,
you can buy detectors that do both.
You have a combined, where you have optical and ionising built into it
and, you know, those probably are the best.
All right, then. Then that begs the question,
-where do you put these smoke alarms?
-Yeah, so all the manufacturers
generally give you a little map on the back where to put them.
So, ionising, that would be in the likes of garages,
where you would have fuels,
areas where you would have a lot of paper and stuff.
Kitchens more going for optical,
where having a lot of smoke come off chip pans and stuff like that
will alarm very, very quickly.
And you should have them in hallways, strategically placed.
Particularly outside bedrooms where children...
You know, children's bedrooms are becoming charging stations now.
-Cos we have our iPads, phones,
we have a lot of electrical equipment in there,
so we've got to make sure that they're in the places where there's
-a high risk.
-And there's one crucial thing you have to get right.
You want to check them weekly because some of the older
or some of the cheaper ranges will have a battery in them,
so you need to make sure that battery's still working.
And basically, just thumbs-up
for Monday and just... ALARM BEEPS
And with elderly people more at risk than others,
there are fire and smoke detectors that don't just rely on sounding
-We have detectors out there for the hard of hearing
as well and we have smoke detectors that are pulsating,
just like a mobile phone,
and that will alert those who are visually impaired to get out of a
building as well.
All great advice, but there's even more good news,
because most Fire And Rescue Services throughout the UK offer
a free smoke alarm and they'll fit it, too.
To tell me more about what's on offer in Northern Ireland,
I'm meeting Geoff Somerville,
group commander with the Fire and Rescue Service.
We're at the Construction Industry Training centre in Crumlin.
Anybody over 60 years old in Northern Ireland,
contact the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and we'll come
out and fit a free smoke alarm in your house, but not only do that,
we will do a complete home fire safety check
and give you a lot of advice by walking around the house with you,
looking for the obvious dangers in your house and telling you how you
can stop a fire from happening, and there's very similar schemes
operating right across the United Kingdom - and it's really a case
of contacting your local Fire and Rescue Service and they'll come
out and give that service to you.
As Gemma is now so painfully aware
following that fire that practically gutted her home,
there's a responsibility for the householder to have a prepared plan
should the unthinkable happen.
The main thing to think about is what can potentially start a fire,
putting a fireguard at night,
making sure an ashtray and cigarettes are fully extinguished
and unplug any electrical appliances that are not designed
to be left on overnight
and particularly closing all your doors at night is really important.
Cos it contains the fire.
It does and it'll stop smoke spreading into your escape route.
You've done that pre-planning phase, you know where your keys are,
you keep a phone by the side of your bed
and you know what route you're going to take before you leave the
property, and if you do those simple things and think about that in the
night-time, have a night-time routine,
the chance of a fire starting is much, much, much reduced.
Right, so if everyone's taken your advice and followed it,
but the fire does start, my smoke alarm's gone off,
the room is full of smoke, what do I do next?
Well, the really important thing is to stop any more smoke getting into
that room, so closing the bedroom door, stay right down low,
try and put something along the bottom of the door to stop any more
smoke getting in. If you can get out and it's safe to do so,
make your way out of the property.
But you'll have rehearsed your plan in advance,
so you'll know that route out, and then stay down low
and feel along the side of the wall and make your way towards that door.
Smoke is the cause of most deaths and injuries in fires
and I have to admit the prospect of finding myself in a smoke-filled
room is absolutely terrifying,
which leaves me to wonder whether it's actually possible to recall
the basic rules of escape when faced with a real situation.
Geoff assures me it is - and is so confident,
he's going to put me into a simulated smoke-filled room here
at the training centre, from which I have to escape.
Oh. I'm already not liking this. I...
It's really... I can hardly see in here now.
I'm really shaking.
With the smoke getting thicker,
it's time for me to remember Geoff's tips.
Step one, crouch down.
Step two, feel my way along the wall towards the exit.
And step three, try and cover my nose and mouth.
The smoke fills the room really quickly, and if you breathe it in,
that is the killer. It's the smoke that can kill you.
If there's one word I can think of to describe this experience,
it would be, well, simply scary -
Leaning against the wall,
so at least I know where I'm going cos I can't see anything else.
It's almost impossible not to breathe in the smoke.
I think if I was in a real fire, I might well have gone by now.
SHE GAGS AND COUGHS
Trying to get out. I think I'm near the door.
It's full of...
Well, that was a lot harder than I thought.
I really... I mean, Geoff's advice was brilliant. I think if I hadn't
have dropped to the floor on my knees and felt my way around,
I wouldn't have got out of there.
On the other hand, it was really,
really hard trying to keep the smoke from going up my nose and into
my mouth. I know I would have breathed smoke in in there,
so who knows whether I'd have come out or not.
But if I hadn't have followed Geoff's advice,
I'd still be in there now.
Well, it's been a really interesting day and one that's opened up my
eyes about the dangers of fire.
But, before I go, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley
and myself have one last visit to make, to Gemma's,
and we come bearing gifts.
-Hey, we're back.
Doing a good job there, Alan.
Can you just come here a minute? Look. Look.
-Now we're keeping you safe while you're in your sister's
-..but when you go back home, what are you going to do?
First thing is get the fire alarms out.
Get your smoke alarm fixed
-Now the moment you've been waiting for,
the answer to our what was the year that was archive quiz, Fiona?
The year that was was...
1971, the year the Open University was formed.
Well done and we'll be open for business at the same time tomorrow.
MUSIC: Hot Love by T.Rex
Everything has an impact on how well we live, whatever our age. From the type of house we live in, to how much money we've got to spend, what we put in our bodies, to the secrets of our genetic make-up. So finding out about all those things - and more - could help you mature brilliantly. Or slow down the ageing process, just a little. We've tracked down the very best tips and advice for holding back the years, and now, with the help of our team, we're going to pass them on to you. To show you how to have the time of your life - whenever that may be.
Hosted by Bill Turnbull, Fiona Phillips and Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Holding Back the Years is a lifestyle magazine looking at how to stay well, live longer and be healthy - whatever age you are.
In this episode, Fiona Phillips investigates why Britain's older population is twice as likely to die in house fire, Dr Ranan Chatterjee encourages us to 'know our numbers' when it comes to blood pressure, and Bill Turnbull gets a bald makeover as he looks into how much men will spend to get a full head of hair.