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The Development of Old Age and Related Issues

April 18, 2016 by · Comments Off on The Development of Old Age and Related Issues
Filed under: General 

In traditional Chinese and other Asian cultures the aged were highly respected and cared for. The Igabo tribesmen of Eastern Nigeria value dependency in their aged and involve them in care of children and the administration of tribal affairs (Shelton, A. in Kalish R. Uni Michigan 1969).

In Eskimo culture the grandmother was pushed out into the ice-flow to die as soon as she became useless.

Western societies today usually resemble to some degree the Eskimo culture, only the “ice-flows” have names such a “Sunset Vista” and the like. Younger generations no longer assign status to the aged and their abandonment is always in danger of becoming the social norm.

There has been a tendency to remove the aged from their homes and put them  in custodial care. To some degree the government provides domiciliary care services to prevent or delay this, but the motivation probably has more to do with expense than humanity.

In Canada and some parts of the USA old people are being utilised as foster-grandparents in child care agencies.

SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS

What is Aging?

Aging: Aging is a natural phenomenon that refers to changes occurring throughout the life span and result in differences in structure and function between the youthful and elder generation.

Gerontology: Gerontology is the study of aging and includes science, psychology and sociology.

Geriatrics: A relatively new field of medicine specialising in the health problems of advanced age.

Social aging: Refers to the social habits and roles of individuals with respect to their culture and society. As social aging increases individual usually experience a decrease in meaningful social interactions.

Biological aging: Refers to the physical changes in the body systems during the later decades of life. It may begin long before the individual  reaches chronological age 65.

Cognitive aging: Refers to decreasing ability to assimilate new information and learn new behaviours and skills.

GENERAL PROBLEMS OF AGING

Eric Erikson (Youth and the life cycle. Children. 7:43-49 Mch/April 1960) developed an “ages and stages” theory of human development that involved 8 stages after birth each of which involved a basic dichotomy representing best case and worst case outcomes. Below are the dichotomies and their developmental relevance:

Prenatal stage – conception to birth.

  1. Infancy. Birth to 2 years – basic trust vs. basic distrust. Hope.
  2. Early childhood, 3 to 4 years – autonomy vs. self doubt/shame. Will.
  3. Play age, 5 to 8 years – initiative vs. guilt. Purpose.
  4. School age, 9to 12 – industry vs. inferiority. Competence.
  5. Adolescence, 13 to 19 – identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity.
  6. Young adulthood – intimacy vs. isolation. Love.
  7. Adulthood, generativity vs. self absorption. Care.
  8. Mature age- Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Wisdom.

This stage of older adulthood, i.e. stage 8, begins about the time of retirement and continues throughout one’s life. Achieving ego integrity  is a sign of maturity while failing to reach this stage is an indication of poor development in prior stages through the life course.

Ego integrity: This means coming to accept one’s whole life and reflecting on it in a positive manner. According to Erikson, achieving integrity means fully accepting one’ self and coming to terms with death. Accepting responsibility for one’s life and being able to review the past with satisfaction is essential. The inability to do this leads to despair and the individual will begin to fear death. If a favourable balance is achieved during this stage, then wisdom is developed.

Psychological and personality aspects:

Aging has psychological implications. Next to dying our recognition that we are aging may be one of the most profound shocks we ever receive. Once we pass the invisible line of 65 our years are bench marked for the remainder of the game of life. We are no longer “mature age” we are instead classified as “old”, or “senior citizens”. How we cope with the changes we face and stresses of altered status depends on our basic personality. Here are 3 basic personality types that have been identified. It may be a oversimplification but it makes the point about personality effectively:

a. The autonomous – people who seem to have the resources for self-renewal. They may be dedicated to a goal or idea and committed to continuing productivity. This appears to protect them somewhat even against physiological aging.

b.The adjusted – people who are rigid and lacking in adaptability but are supported by their power, prestige or well structured routine. But if their situation changes drastically they become psychiatric casualties.

c.The anomic. These are people who do not have clear inner values or a protective life vision. Such people have been described as prematurely resigned and they may deteriorate rapidly.

Summary of stresses of old age.

a. Retirement and reduced income. Most people rely on work for self worth, identity and social interaction. Forced retirement can be demoralising.

b. Fear of invalidism and death. The increased probability of falling prey to illness from which there is no recovery is a continual source of anxiety. When one has a heart attack or stroke the stress becomes much worse.

Some persons face death with equanimity, often psychologically supported by a religion or philosophy. Others may welcome death as an end to suffering or insoluble problems and with little concern for life or human existence. Still others face impending death with suffering of great stress against which they have no ego defenses.

c. Isolation and loneliness. Older people face inevitable loss of loved ones, friends and contemporaries. The loss of a spouse whom one has depended on for companionship and moral support is particularly distressing. Children grow up, marry and become preoccupied or move away. Failing memory, visual and aural impairment may all work to make social interaction difficult. And if this then leads to a souring of outlook and rigidity of attitude then social interaction becomes further lessened and the individual may not even utilise the avenues for social activity that are still available.

d. Reduction in sexual function and physical attractiveness. Kinsey et al, in their Sexual behaviour in the human male, (Phil., Saunders, 1948) found that there is a gradual decrease in sexual activity with advancing age and that reasonably gratifying patterns of sexual activity can continue into extreme old age. The aging person also has to adapt to loss of sexual attractiveness in a society which puts extreme emphasis on sexual attractiveness. The adjustment in self image and self concept that are required can be very hard to make.

e. Forces tending to self devaluation. Often the experience of the older generation has little perceived relevance to the problems of the young and the older person becomes deprived of participation in decision making both in occupational and family settings. Many parents are seen as unwanted burdens and their children may secretly wish they would die so they can be free of the burden and experience some financial relief or benefit. Senior citizens may be pushed into the role of being an old person with all this implies in terms of self devaluation.

4 Major Categories of Problems or Needs:

Health.

Housing.

Income maintenance.

Interpersonal relations.

BIOLOGICAL CHANGES

Physiological Changes: Catabolism (the breakdown of protoplasm) overtakes anabolism (the build-up of protoplasm). All body systems are affected and repair systems become slowed. The aging process occurs at different rates in different individuals.

Physical appearance and other changes:

Loss of subcutaneous fat and less elastic skin gives rise to wrinkled appearance, sagging and loss of smoothness of body contours. Joints stiffen and become painful and range of joint movement becomes restricted, general mobility lessened.

Respiratory changes:

Increase of fibrous tissue in chest walls and lungs leads restricts respiratory movement and less oxygen is consumed. Older people more likelyto have lower respiratory infections whereas young people have upper respiratory infections.

Nutritive changes:

Tooth decay and loss of teeth can detract from ease and enjoyment in eating. Atrophy of the taste buds means food is inclined to be tasteless and this should be taken into account by carers. Digestive changes occur from lack of exercise (stimulating intestines) and decrease in digestive juice production. Constipation and indigestion are likely to follow as a result. Financial problems can lead to the elderly eating an excess of cheap carbohydrates rather than the more expensive protein and vegetable foods and this exacerbates the problem, leading to reduced vitamin intake and such problems as anemia and increased susceptibility to infection.

Adaptation to stress:

All of us face stress at all ages. Adaptation to stress requires the consumption of energy. The 3 main phases of stress are:

1. Initial alarm reaction. 2. Resistance. 3. Exhaustion

and if stress continues tissue damage or aging occurs. Older persons have had a lifetime of dealing with stresses. Energy reserves are depleted and the older person succumbs to stress earlier than the younger person. Stress is cumulative over a lifetime. Research results, including experiments with animals suggests that each stress leaves us more vulnerable to the next and that although we might think we’ve “bounced back” 100% in fact each stress leaves it scar. Further, stress is psycho-biological meaning the kind of stress is irrelevant. A physical stress may leave one more vulnerable to psychological stress and vice versa. Rest does not completely restore one after a stressor. Care workers need to be mindful of this and cognizant of the kinds of things that can produce stress for aged persons.

COGNITIVE CHANGE Habitual Behaviour:

Sigmund Freud noted that after the age of 50, treatment of neuroses via psychoanalysis was difficult because the opinions and reactions of older people were relatively fixed and hard to shift.

Over-learned behaviour: This is behaviour that has been learned so well and repeated so often that it has become automatic, like for example typing or running down stairs. Over-learned behaviour is hard to change. If one has lived a long time one is likely to have fixed opinions and ritualised behaviour patterns or habits.

Compulsive behaviour: Habits and attitudes that have been learned in the course of finding ways to overcome frustration and difficulty are very hard to break. Tension reducing habits such as nail biting, incessant humming, smoking or drinking alcohol are especially hard to change at any age and particularly hard for persons who have been practising them over a life time.

The psychology of over-learned and compulsive behaviours has severe implications for older persons who find they have to live in what for them is a new and alien environment with new rules and power relations.

Information acquisition:

Older people have a continual background of neural noise making it more difficult for them to sort out and interpret complex sensory input. In talking to an older person one should turn off the TV, eliminate as many noises and distractions as possible, talk slowly and relate to one message or idea at a time.

Memories from the distant past are stronger than more recent memories. New memories are the first to fade and last to return.

Time patterns also can get mixed – old and new may get mixed.

Intelligence.

Intelligence reaches a peak and can stay high with little deterioration if there is no neurological damage. People who have unusually high intelligence to begin with seem to suffer the least decline. Education and stimulation also seem to play a role in maintaining intelligence.

Intellectual impairment. Two diseases of old age causing cognitive decline are Alzheimer’s syndrome and Pick’s syndrome. In Pick’s syndrome there is inability to concentrate and learn and also affective responses are impaired.

Degenerative Diseases: Slow progressive physical degeneration of cells in the nervous system. Genetics appear to be an important factor. Usually start after age 40 (but can occur as early as 20s).

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE Degeneration of all areas of cortex but particularly frontal and temporal lobes. The affected cells actually die. Early symptoms resemble neurotic disorders: Anxiety, depression, restlessness sleep difficulties.

Progressive deterioration of all intellectual faculties (memory deficiency being the most well known and obvious). Total mass of the brain decreases, ventricles become larger. No established treatment.

PICK’S DISEASE Rare degenerative disease. Similar to Alzheimer’s in terms of onset, symptomatology and possible genetic aetiology. However it affects circumscribed areas of the brain, particularly the frontal areas which leads to a loss of normal affect.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE Neuropathology: Loss of neurons in the basal ganglia.

Symptoms: Movement abnormalities: rhythmical alternating tremor of extremities, eyelids and tongue along with rigidity of the muscles and slowness of movement (akinesia).

It was once thought that Parkinson’s disease was not associated with intellectual deterioration, but it is now known that there is an association between global intellectual impairment and Parkinson’s where it occurs late in life.

The cells lost in Parkinson’s are associated with the neuro-chemical Dopamine and the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are associated the dopamine deficiency. Treatment involves administration of dopamine precursor L-dopa which can alleviate symptoms including intellectual impairment. Research suggests it may possibly bring to the fore emotional effects in patients who have had psychiatric illness at some prior stage in their lives.

AFFECTIVE DOMAIN In old age our self concept gets its final revision. We make a final assessment of the value of our lives and our balance of success and failures.

How well a person adapts to old age may be predicated by how well the person adapted to earlier significant changes. If the person suffered an emotional crisis each time a significant change was needed then adaptation to the exigencies of old age may also be difficult. Factors such as economic security, geographic location and physical health are important to the adaptive process.

Need Fulfilment: For all of us, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, we are not free to pursue the higher needs of self actualisation unless the basic needs are secured. When one considers that many, perhaps most, old people are living in poverty and continually concerned with basic survival needs, they are not likely to be happily satisfying needs related to prestige, achievement and beauty.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Physiological

Safety

Belonging, love, identification

Esteem: Achievement, prestige, success, self respect

Self actualisation: Expressing one’s interests and talents to the full.

Note: Old people who have secured their basic needs may be motivated to work on tasks of the highest levels in the hierarchy – activities concerned with aesthetics, creativity and altruistic matters, as compensation for loss of sexual attractiveness and athleticism. Aged care workers fixated on getting old people to focus on social activities may only succeed in frustrating and irritating them if their basic survival concerns are not secured to their satisfaction.

DISENGAGEMENT

Social aging according to Cumming, E. and Henry, W. (Growing old: the aging process of disengagement, NY, Basic 1961) follows a well defined pattern:

  1. Change in role. Change in occupation and productivity. Possibly change in attitude to work.
  2. Loss of role, e.g. retirement or death of a husband.
  3. Reduced social interaction. With loss of role social interactions are diminished, eccentric adjustment can further reduce social interaction, damage to self concept, depression.
  4. Awareness of scarcity of remaining time. This produces further curtailment of activity in interest of saving time.

Havighurst, R. et al (in B. Neugarten (ed.) Middle age and aging, U. of Chicago, 1968) and others have suggested that disengagement is not an inevitable process. They believe the needs of the old are essentially the same as in middle age and the activities of middle age should be extended as long as possible. Havighurst points out the decrease in social interaction of the aged is often largely the result of society withdrawing from the individual as much as the reverse. To combat this he believes the individual must vigorously resist the limitations of his social world.

DEATH The fear of the dead amongst tribal societies is well established. Persons who had ministered to the dead were taboo and required observe various rituals including seclusion for varying periods of time. In some societies from South America to Australia it is taboo for certain persons to utter the name of the dead. Widows and widowers are expected to observe rituals in respect for the dead.

Widows in the Highlands of New Guinea around Goroka chop of one of their own fingers. The dead continue their existence as spirits and upsetting them can bring dire consequences.

Wahl, C in “The fear of death”, 1959 noted that the fear of death occurs as early as the 3rd year of life. When a child loses a pet or grandparent fears reside in the unspoken questions: Did I cause it? Will happen to you (parent) soon? Will this happen to me? The child in such situations needs to re-assure that the departure is not a censure, and that the parent is not likely to depart soon. Love, grief, guilt, anger are a mix of conflicting emotions that are experienced.

CONTEMPORARY ATTITUDES TO DEATH

Our culture places high value on youth, beauty, high status occupations, social class and anticipated future activities and achievement. Aging and dying are denied and avoided in this system. The death of each person reminds us of our own mortality.

The death of the elderly is less disturbing to members of Western society because the aged are not especially valued. Surveys have established that nurses for example attach more importance to saving a young life than an old life. In Western society there is a pattern of avoiding dealing with the aged and dying aged patient.

Stages of dying. Elisabeth Kubler Ross has specialised in working with dying patients and in her “On death and dying”, NY, Macmillan, 1969, summarised 5 stages in dying.

  1. Denial and isolation. “No, not me”.
  2. Anger. “I’ve lived a good life so why me?”
  3. Bargaining. Secret deals are struck with God. “If I can live until…I promise to…”
  4. Depression. (In general the greatest psychological problem of the aged is depression). Depression results from real and threatened loss.
  5. Acceptance of the inevitable.

Kubler Ross’s typology as set out above should, I believe be taken with a grain of salt and not slavishly accepted. Celebrated US Journalist David Rieff who was in June ’08 a guest of the Sydney writer’s festival in relation to his book, “Swimming in a sea of death: a son’s memoir” (Melbourne University Press) expressly denied the validity of the Kubler Ross typology in his Late Night Live interview (Australian ABC radio) with Philip Adams June 9th ’08. He said something to the effect that his mother had regarded her impending death as murder. My own experience with dying persons suggests that the human ego is extraordinarily resilient. I recall visiting a dying colleague in hospital just days before his death. He said, “I’m dying, I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it”, and then went on to chortle about how senior academics at an Adelaide university had told him they were submitting his name for a the Order of Australia (the new “Knighthood” replacement in Australia). Falling in and out of lucid thought with an oxygen tube in his nostrils he was nevertheless still highly interested in the “vain glories of the world”. This observation to me seemed consistent with Rieff’s negative assessment of Kubler Ross’s theories.

THE AGED IN RELATION TO YOUNGER PEOPLE

The aged share with the young the same needs: However, the aged often have fewer or weaker resources to meet those needs. Their need for social interaction may be ignored by family and care workers.

Family should make time to visit their aged members and invite them to their homes. The aged like to visit children and relate to them through games and stories.

Meaningful relationships can be developed via foster-grandparent programs. Some aged are not aware of their income and health entitlements. Family and friends should take the time to explain these. Some aged are too proud to access their entitlements and this problem should be addressed in a kindly way where it occurs.

It is best that the aged be allowed as much choice as possible in matters related to living arrangements, social life and lifestyle.

Communities serving the aged need to provide for the aged via such things as lower curbing, and ramps.

Carers need to examine their own attitude to aging and dying. Denial in the carer is detected by the aged person and it can inhibit the aged person from expressing negative feelings – fear, anger. If the person can express these feelings to someone then that person is less likely to die with a sense of isolation and bitterness.

A METAPHYSICAL PERSPECTIVE

The following notes are my interpretation of a Dr. Depak Chopra lecture entitled, “The New Physics of Healing” which he presented to the 13th Scientific Conference of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Depak Chopra is an endocrinologist and a former Chief of Staff of New England Hospital, Massachusetts. I am deliberately omitting the detail of his explanations of the more abstract, ephemeral and controversial ideas.

Original material from 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

In the lecture Dr. Chopra presents a model of the universe and of all organisms as structures of interacting centres of electromagnetic energy linked to each other in such a way that anything affecting one part of a system or structure has ramifications throughout the entire structure. This model becomes an analogue not only for what happens within the structure or organism itself, but between the organism and both its physical and social environments. In other words there is a correlation between psychological conditions, health and the aging process. Dr. Chopra in his lecture reconciles ancient Vedic (Hindu) philosophy with modern psychology and quantum physics.

Premature Precognitive Commitment: Dr. Chopra invokes experiments that have shown that flies kept for a long time in a jar do not quickly leave the jar when the top is taken off. Instead they accept the jar as the limit of their universe. He also points out that in India baby elephants are often kept tethered to a small twig or sapling. In adulthood when the elephant is capable of pulling over a medium sized tree it can still be successfully tethered to a twig! As another example he points to experiments in which fish are bred on

2 sides of a fish tank containing a divider between the 2 sides. When the divider is removed the fish are slow to learn that they can now swim throughout the whole tank but rather stay in the section that they accept as their universe. Other experiments have demonstrated that kittens brought up in an environment of vertical stripes and structures, when released in adulthood keep bumping into anything aligned horizontally as if they were unable to see anything that is horizontal. Conversely kittens brought up in an environment of horizontal stripes when released bump into vertical structures, apparently unable to see them.

The whole point of the above experiments is that they demonstrate Premature Precognitive Commitment. The lesson to be learned is that our sensory apparatus develops as a result of initial experience and how we’ve been taught to interpret it.

What is the real look of the world? It doesn’t exist. The way the world looks to us is determined by the sensory receptors we have and our interpretation of that look is determined by our premature precognitive commitments. Dr Chopra makes the point that less than a billionth of the available stimuli make it into our nervous systems. Most of it is screened, and what gets through to us is whatever we are expecting to find on the basis of our precognitive commitments.

Dr. Chopra also discusses the diseases that are actually caused by mainstream medical interventions, but this material gets too far away from my central intention. Dr. Chopra discusses in lay terms the physics of matter, energy and time by way of establishing the wider context of our existence. He makes the point that our bodies including the bodies of plants are mirrors of cosmic rhythms and exhibit changes correlating even with the tides.

Dr. Chopra cites the experiments of Dr. Herbert Spencer of the US National Institute of Health. He injected mice with Poly-IC, an immuno-stimulant while making the mice repeatedly smell camphor. After the effect of the Poly-IC had worn off he again exposed the mice to the camphor smell. The smell of camphor had the effect of causing the mice’s immune system to automatically strengthen as if they had been injected with the stimulant. He then took another batch of mice and injected them with cyclophosphamide which tends to destroy the immune system while exposing them to the smell of camphor. Later after being returned to normal just the smell of camphor was enough to cause destruction of their immune system. Dr. Chopra points out that whether or not camphor enhanced or destroyed the mice’s immune system was entirely determined by an interpretation of the meaning of the smell of camphor. The interpretation is not just in the brain but in each cell of the organism. We are bound to our imagination and our early experiences.

Chopra cites a study by the Massachusetts Dept of Health Education and Welfare into risk factors for heart disease – family history, cholesterol etc. The 2 most important risk factors were found to be psychological measures – Self  Happiness Rating and Job Satisfaction. They found most people died of heart disease on a Monday!

Chopra says that for every feeling there is a molecule. If you are experiencing tranquillity your body will be producing natural valium. Chemical changes in the brain are reflected by changes in other cells including blood cells. The brain produces neuropeptides and brain structures are chemically tuned to these neuropeptide receptors. Neuropeptides (neurotransmitters) are the chemical concommitants of thought. Chopra points out the white blood cells (a part of the immune system) have neuropeptide receptors and are “eavesdropping” on our thinking. Conversely the immune system produces its own neuropeptides which can influence the nervous system. He goes on to say that cells in all parts of the body including heart and kidneys for example also produce neuropeptides and neuropeptide sensitivity. Chopra assures us that most neurologists would agree that the nervous system and the immune system are parallel systems.

Other studies in physiology: The blood interlukin-2 levels of medical students decreased as exam time neared and their interlukin receptor capacities also lowered. Chopra says if we are having fun to the point of exhilaration our natural interlukin-2 levels become higher. Interlukin-2 is a powerful and very expensive anti-cancer drug. The body is a printout of consciousness. If we could change the way we look at our bodies at a genuine, profound level then our bodies would actually change.

On the subject of “time” Chopra cites Sir Thomas Gall and Steven Hawkins, stating that our description of the universe as having a past, present, and future are constructed entirely out of our interpretation of change. But in reality linear time doesn’t exist.

Chopra explains the work of Alexander Leaf a former Harvard Professor of Preventative Medicine who toured the world investigating societies where people  lived beyond 100 years (these included parts of Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Southern Andes). He looked at possible factors including climate, genetics, and diet. Leaf concluded the most important factor was the collective perception of aging in these societies.

Amongst the Tama Humara of the Southern Andes there was a collective belief that the older you got the more physically able you got. They had a tradition of running and the older one became then generally the better at running one got. The best runner was aged 60. Lung capacity and other measures actually improved with age. People were healthy until well into their 100s and died in their sleep. Chopra remarks that things have changed since the introduction of Budweiser (beer) and TV.

[DISCUSSION: How might TV be a factor in changing the former ideal state of things?]

Chopra refers to Dr. Ellen Langor a former Harvard Psychology professor’s work. Langor advertised for 100 volunteers aged over 70 years. She took them to a Monastery outside Boston to play “Let’s Pretend”. They were divided into 2 groups each of which resided in a different part of the building. One group, the control group spent several days talking about the 1950s. The other group, the experimental group had to live as if in the year 1959 and talk about it in the present tense. What appeared on their TV screens were the old newscasts and movies. They read old newspapers and magazines of the period. After 3 days everyone was photographed and the photographs judged by independent judges who knew nothing of the nature of the experiment. The experimental group seemed to have gotten younger in appearance. Langor then arranged for them to be tested for 100 physiological parameters of aging which included of course blood pressure, near point vision and DHEA levels. After 10 days of living as if in 1959 all parameters had reversed by the equivalent of at least 20 years.

Chopra concludes from Langor’s experiment: “We are the metabolic end product of our sensory experiences. How we interpret them depends on the collective mindset which influences individual biological entropy and aging.”

Can one escape the current collective mindset and reap the benefits in longevity and health? Langor says, society won’t let you escape. There are too many reminders of how most people think linear time is and how it expresses itself in entropy and aging – men are naughty at 40 and on social welfare at 55, women reach menopause at 40 etc. We get to see so many other people aging and dying that it sets the pattern that we follow.

Chopra concludes we are the metabolic product of our sensory experience and our interpretation gets structured in our biology itself. Real change comes from change in the collective consciousness – otherwise it cannot occur within the individual.

Readings

Chopra, D. The New Physics of Healing. 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

Coleman, J. C. Abnormal psychology and modern life. Scott Foresman & Co.

Lugo, J. and Hershey, L. Human development a multidisciplinary approach to the psychology of individual growth, NY, Macmillan.

Dennis. Psychology of human behaviour for nurses. Lond. W. B.Saunders.

[http://www.psychologynatural.com/DepressionBroch.html]

Dr. Victor Barnes is an Adelaide psychologist and hypnotherapist. He has also had three decades of experience in adult education including serving as Dean of a Sri Lankan college (ICBT) teaching several Australian degrees. His overseas experience includes studies and consulting experience in USA, PNG, Poland and Sri Lanka.

Nevada Senior Guide – Visiting Angels Reno

April 26, 2014 by · Comments Off on Nevada Senior Guide – Visiting Angels Reno
Filed under: Health and Home Care, Homecare, Reno, Support Services 

www.visitingangels.com/reno

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Visiting Angles, serving Reno, Sparks and the surrounding communities

 

Why Elderly Care by Visiting Angels

At Visiting Angels, we realize it is never easy bringing someone into your home to provide elderly care services.  That’s why we strive to make staying at home a positive experience.  We do this by allowing you to select your caregiver from a group of experienced  elderly care providers, allowing you to maintain your schedule and providing you or your loved one with personalized elderly care services.

 

You Are In Charge – We’re On “Your” Schedule

With Visiting Angels, you’re in charge of everything.  Your Visiting Angels elderly care provider will not dictate to you what your schedule is to be (i.e. what time to get up, when to bathe, meal schedules, etc.).  It is our job to adjust to your schedule and to see to it that you remain comfortable in your home.  Visiting Angels – Senior Home Care at its Best!

 

Bonded, licensed and insured

Your locally owned and operated Visiting Angels office is licensed by the state of Nevada and is insured and bonded.  This can give you the peace of mind that a trustworthy elderly care provider will be in your loved one’s home.

 

Monitoring is essential

At Visiting Angels’ we continually monitor our elderly care providers through our system of continued personalized contacts.  Through telephone check-in’s and home visits, we will be checking regularly with your loved one.  We want to ensure that our elderly care recipients receive the best possible care.

 

Tailor your care to your needs

No two people are the same.  Therefore their elderly care needs are going to be very different.  Whether you need respite care, in home care, part time or full time care, or care at an assisted living facility, Visiting Angels can provide an experienced elderly care provider that is right for you.  Our agency tailors your program of elderly care based on your needs.  Your elderly care program is flexible and you can change the program as different needs arise.  We will also work along with any home health agency or nursing agency that may be assisting your loved ones after a recent hospital stay.

 

Visiting Angels Reno

The Visiting Angels office located in Reno Nevada is locally owned and operated by Monica and Robert Pence.  For additional information on how we can help you or a loved one, please contact our office at 775-852-4663 or visit our website at www.visitingangels.com/reno.  We look forward to assisting you with your care needs.

Animal-Senior Citizen Companionship Leads to Improved Overall Health

November 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

 The mental and physical benefits of animal companionship have been praised across the world, from seeing-eye dogs to therapy dogs to household pets. According to the US Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, there are approximately 70 million pet dogs and 74 million pet cats in the United States. Of this number, about 63 percent of pets are considered to be members of the family. Now, pet adoption companies are utilizing the health improvements to better the quality of life for senior citizens.

“The pairing of seniors with calm, manageable adult dogs and cats has yielded amazing vitality and unparalleled effects, the feeling of loneliness dissolves and a reason to be active arises,” affirms Will Post, CEO of Hound & Gatos Pet Food, whose mission is to provide the public with high-quality pet food options for dogs and cats. “The simple presence of animal companionship can provide amazing health benefits that truly lift a senior’s mental and physical state because they have someone to depend on and someone who depends on them.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that pets can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, in addition to increasing social interaction and physical activity. Add unconditional love, purpose, and that special something to care for and nurture, and you have an elixir for senior citizens.

According to Pet Partners, seniors with pets experience fewer minor health issues when visiting their doctor, and overall better health and mental well-being.  Pets are also praised for reducing loneliness and depression, two major factors that can lead to an unhealthy body and mind. Since dogs live in the present, their focus on ‘today’ tends to rub off on their owners, resulting in managing anxiety levels.

“These positive results of animal companionship for seniors is one more reason to encourage the ownership and nurturing of pets for the seniors of today. We are only beginning to document these facts determining the health benefits of pet ownership for the elderly, though animal lovers have always suspected it. Their contribution to a better quality of life being recognized can only lead to happier and healthier seniors, something we can all be excited about,” says Post.  “The importance of love proves to be a major force in life no matter what age one might be.”

Research continues to show that pets help people of all ages enjoy a much fuller and rewarding life, and the mission of Hound & Gatos Pet Food Corporation is to try to create cat and dog formulas that can ultimately improve our beloved pet’s vitality and longevity. Dubbed as the original Paleolithic pet food company, their recipes are 100 percent protein and zero percent plant protein, with the number-one ingredient being meat. To learn more about Hound & Gatos, including where to buy products, visit their site at: www.houndgatos.com.

About Hound & Gatos Pet Foods Corporation

Hound & Gatos Pet Foods Corporation is based in New York. Their mission is to provide the public with high-quality pet food options for dogs and cats. Their line of pet foods focus on quality ingredients that provide maximum nutrition, and avoid all bi-products and other ingredients that would generally be unnatural to a pet’s diet. For more information on Hound & Gatos visit the site at www.houndgatos.com.

 

# # #

Source: American Veterinary Medical Assocation. US Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook.https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-Pet-Ownership-Demographics-Sourcebook.aspx

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Benefits of Pets.http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health_benefits.htm

Pet Partners. Health Benefits of Animals for Seniors. http://www.petpartners.org/page.aspx?pid=312

Ways You Can Get a Senior Citizen Up and Active Again by Kristie Brown

August 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

Expert Author Kristie Brown

Ask almost any senior citizen if they prefer to just sit around and take things easy, and they’re going to tell you “no way”. Mistakenly many of us equate an advanced age with lack of vitality and interest in the world around them, but as people are living longer, they’re retaining these characteristics well into their golden years. It’s possible you may know a senior who is somewhat limited in mobility or crippled up with arthritis, but you’ll find that if you suggest an activity, they’ll be more than willing to go with you. Here are some ideas for getting them up and active again:

1. If the person is lonely and enjoys company, you might be able to interest them in going to a local senior center or joining some type of club. Here they can find the companionship they seek, meet new friends, and enjoy activities with peers. In the beginning it may be difficult to get the person to go, because something new can be a challenge to anyone. Talk to the director of the center or club and find out when a good time to visit might be. Maybe there’s a time when the center isn’t very busy so that your senior wouldn’t be intimidated by a whole room full of strangers. You could invite them to go to dinner with you at a center potluck, or entice them with some of the activities you know they’d particularly enjoy. Once you get them involved, it’s a sure bet they’ll want to go back again and again.

2. Volunteering offers unique experiences for willing seniors. The different types of jobs abound, and your loved one will be sure to find something out there that he or she enjoys doing. Not only do these activities involve working as productive members of the community, but they can also come with perks, such as free dinners, small gifts, and service recognition awards. A senior who has been busy their entire lifetime doesn’t like to feel that they aren’t able to be an active part of the work community any longer. They can begin feeling depressed and worthless. Volunteering will demonstrate to them that they still have plenty to give and that their efforts are appreciated.

3. With the help of your senior, plan a get-together for others in the age group who live nearby in order to establish friendships. This is especially important when the person reaches an age where they are losing friends and need to find other people to share their world. Make sure to allow the senior to help with everything from planning to clean up. You may have to modify tasks to their abilities, but you also might find them working rings around you, because older folks have strong work ethics. Plan a simple menu and a few “get to know you” games to break the ice. They will have a lot to talk about, because they have shared similar experiences, such as the Great Depression, health problems, parenting,and other events from their lifetimes.

Need additional information on home care Maple Grove? Get high quality, customized home care that fits your needs here: home care.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kristie_Brown

Senior Citizen Abuse by Jessie Penn

May 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

News headlines report of senior citizen abuse, most everyday. Long gone are  the values and moralities of our grandparent’s generation. Time was when a  handshake, or your word was all that was necessary to honor commitments. Gone  are the days on an unlocked house, open windows, or sitting out back alone.

The elderly in today’s society can, unfortunately, encounter many traumatic  events for no cause of their own. Predators watch and learn learn an old  person’s schedule, like, when they leave their homes and when they are likely to  return, what times they get up or go to bed, and if they are handicapped or ill  by the comings and goings of a visiting nurse.

Many in the society of today appear to have lost all respect for other  people’s property. It seems these people are without limits, with nothing more  important than self-serving tactics. Who cares if an old person is lonely, in  pain, or needs assistance?

Many times, the media tells us about a kid that brutally beat elderly  parents, grandparents, or elderly strangers. Without any motivation, other than  pursuing what they want, senior citizens can become their prey. And, if they  want something you have in your home, you could be their next victim.

But, not all attackers are strangers, and the elderly person might not be  beaten, robbed, or brutally murdered by the hands of an unknown person.  Sometimes, the attacker is a family member, relative, or friend.

When elderly people are attacked or threatened, how are they to protect  themselves? Many don’t possess the strength or agility to fight back or run.  They can fall down stairs, against door jams, or be trapped in a wheelchair.  Many times they do not understand what or why this is happening to them, because  the person doing them harm is someone they trusted.

Perhaps a friend or relative lives in the senior citizen’s home to provide  assistance and/or companionship. This person might get angry because they don’t  want the responsibility of caring for an older person. Perhaps they feel as if  their freedom has been taken from them. If the elderly person has adequate  finances, the one that is supposed to be looking out for the well-being of the  senior begins to feel that they should be compensated or rewarded  excessively.

An elderly person who refuses to give money or sign over their property,  risks being violently attacked by a family member or friend. It could be an  adult son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, or a friend. Most elderly  people hesitate to report abuse from a relative or friend. Many are in failing  health, and don’t know who to turn to for help. Or, perhaps, they fear the  attacker will retaliate and things will get much worse, if they report the  abuse.

Aging can be a lonely and painful experience. Some senior citizens were  attacked and left alone to endure the pain and shame. Many could not get to  their phone to call for help. But, if they would have had an emergency alarm,  the help they needed could have been summoned.

A small device, disguised as a pendant or wristwatch can save lives,  literally. There is no need to get to a phone. Help and assistance is no further  away than the end of the finger. As easy as pushing a button on the device calls  an emergency operator, and help can be on the way.

Many times, long-term injuries or death can be the result of not being able  to get the care when it is needed. A personal security device can provide peace  of mind, and is a true friend in need. Senior citizens can live independently  knowing they have the ability to get help whenever they need.

Get free information to protect your loved ones when a medical emergency or  security treat happens. Go to http://personalsecuritydevices.walkinsarewelcome.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jessie_Penn

 

Senior Citizens and Pets by Kay Catlett

April 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

As baby-boomer pet parents reach retirement age it is common to think about  putting aside the dog collars, pet clothing and dog harnesses and retire from  being pet parents. This is especially common as a beloved pet may die. The usual  questions of a grieving pet owner are magnified by older pet owners. The only  real questions with younger owners concerns whether or not they miss the joy of  pet ownership and whether they still possess the desire to take on the  responsibility of another pet. As the pet parent ages, more questions have to be  asked. The age and health of the human along with whether or not the needs of  particular pets can be managed are the most important questions for aging pet  parents.

The primary question concerns whether or not a pet is beneficial for aging  people.

Many seniors crave and miss nurturing. Often, a lifetime of nurturing has  defined a person, first as a parent, friend, spouse or grandparent. With  children and grandchildren growing older, nurturing may no longer required on a  personal basis. Senior citizens may find the circle of friends narrowing as  interests change, people retire and move, and activities lessen. Having a pet to  nurture, and providing that pet with food, comfort, exercise, toys, play and  companionship can fill the void in a changing life.

As the years pass, people may find their lives boring and lonely. Having a  pet cat or dog can fill this void. Taking care of a pet can provide meaning and  provide positive feelings of caring for another being. A pet can provide  structure missed by people following the routine of working outside of the home.  Caring for a pet provides some structure: time to eat, time to play and go  outside, time to be combed, time for naps. At the same time, the pet parent has  a role: to take care of the pet. This sense of responsibility provides structure  as well as a sense of being needed.

Another plus for seniors to have dogs, is for the protection a dog can give.  Seniors are often prey for intruders since the resistance of a senior citizen is  perceived as being lower and often it is known that there are less people living  in the home. However with a dog, the fear of barking or being bitten inhibit the  activities of intruders to that home. Research shows that homes with barking  dogs are violated fewer times than homes without dogs. Dogs provide safety to  seniors.

Another benefit of a senior owning a dog is that it makes them more active.  Owning a dog will compel the senior to live a more active lifestyle then if they  are by themselves. The dog will need to go outside to use the bathroom; feeding  and grooming must take place. These simple activities will give the owner  exercise. Matching the activity needs of the pet to the activity level of the  owner is an important factor to consider in deciding what kind of pet or breed  is best for both the senior and the pet.

Aging pet parents need to think about the future of their pets as time goes  on. A plan for pet care should be arranged so that if a hospitalization is  necessary, or a period of recovery in the home should occur, the needs of the  pets need to be met in those circumstances. Pet care in the home of another,  kennel care or acquiring the assistance of others to provide assistance in the  home are all necessary elements of a pet care plan. Pet parents of every age,  but especially senior citizens need to investigate alternatives in the dire case  of having to give up the pet. This author strongly suggests that “no-kill” pet  shelters need to be listed in the plan in the direst situations.

Overall, a senior owning a pet is an excellent idea. Dogs and cats provide  excellent companions and safety to senior citizens. Studies show that seniors  with pets are happier and live longer then seniors without pets. Preparing the  home properly with crates, dog collars, cat harnesses and pet beds coupled with  preparing plans for all contingencies will make for happy seniors and their  happy pets.

Kay Catlett [http://www.PetCollarStoreAndMore.com]

I believe that as we are humane to our pets, they make us more human. My  online pet store has carefully selected products at competitive prices.

I welcome your input on what products you like and want me to  carry.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kay_Catlett

 

Online Dating For Senior Citizens – Find Love and Companionship by David N Kamau

April 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

The subject of dating for senior citizens has proven to be one that has  experienced something of a dramatic change. This change is the result of the  development of online dating websites. Many of these websites cater to seniors  which opens doors for them previously closed.

Now, it is possible to find someone new through the simple internet access.  Clearly, that makes the ability to expand one’s dating horizons dramatically.  But, some may have concerns about dating for senior citizens in terms of how to  get the best experience dating online.

It is understandable to be somewhat curious – if not outright skeptical – of  such a process. So, in order to get the most out of your dating experience, here  is a look at some of the helpful ways of improving the experience:

First and foremost, you do not want to rush into this new dating for senior  citizens experience. Instead, it is best to take things slow and allow them to  develop properly over time. Far too often, people look at online dating  personals’ profiles as a sort of collection of classified ads. This is certainly  not what they are!

You are not “ordering” a date; you are using the profiles as the gateway into  meeting someone new. So, do not try to rush into things and press your meetings  with the object of your affection. Takes things slow and your dating experience  will improve greatly.

It also does not hurt to take things slow for the purpose of gaining  familiarity with the operation of the dating site. This can take a bit of time  to get the hand of and those that may need a study curve – so to speak – to  learn how to handle the site are advised to do so. This will enhance your  overall dating for senior citizens online experience a great deal.

One issue that can be considered a subset of sorts to taking things slow  revolves around the wise concept of not giving out personal information online.  Far too often, people will become trusting with someone they “meet” online and  start to give out contact phone numbers, personal emails, and other such  identifying items.

Rather than rush into this, it is advisable to avoid this until you have  developed somewhat of a familiarity with the person through online messaging.  Many instant messengers also have headset based phone capabilities. Employing  this type of device for phone contact may be the best option.

And you will need a solid profile in order to make your online dating for  senior citizens experience work out well. If you are not good at devising your  own profiles, there is no need to worry. There are more than a few automatic  profile creators online that can help you with the process.

The final analysis here is pretty basic: dating for senior citizens online is  easy and worth pursuing. That is why so many employ it to such great  success.

Now find reputable senior dating sites and choose the right one for you. David  Kamau is offers dating service  reviews at his website and blog.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_N_Kamau

 

Activities For Senior Citizens – How Hobbies and the Mind Body Connection Work By Diane Carbo

April 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

Hobbies have a mind body connection, they are important activities for  senior citizens and are an important part of healthy aging. Active seniors  are proof that you can enjoy better health and have fun doing it.

Research studies have shown that leisure time and physical activity promote a  healthier lifestyle. Our bodies are meant to be active and move. Many, as they  age, tend to become increasingly inactive, preferring to watch TV to help pass  the time away. Finding fun activities for senior citizens can change that.

Some good activities for senior citizens

Active seniors are involved and participate in what life has to offer.  Hobbies give an individual a reason to get out and share with others. Whether it  is painting, building model airplanes or playing cards the benefits of a hobby  can be an increase your chances for improved physical, social and emotional well  being.

It is important to have regular leisure time physical activity. Anything that  promotes moving and being active will benefit you as you age. The health  benefits of staying active are a delay or prevention of a chronic disease such  as: heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and arthritis. Physical activity also  promotes brain fitness. This can help delay or prevent dementia or  Alzheimer’s.

Participating in a variety of hobbies helps many cope with the stressors of  life. How you react and respond to different situations in life affects your  health. Stress and anxiety can lead to poor health. Active seniors are involved  and lead a more balanced life.

Hobbies allow active seniors to socialize, find companionship and  camaraderie. Making connections with others that have the same interests can  often open an individual to new found friendships.

Many individuals that participate in similar hobbies find themselves with  other individuals that have similar situations and experiences in life. As we  age, we experience losses that affect our emotional health. Active seniors that  are involved in hobbies have a pool of other individuals that they can draw  emotional support and comfort. There are times when they can also learn from  shared experiences. Sharing our feelings with others is a way to connect with  others as well as relieve the stress and anxiety we may be feeling.

More Hobbies and the Mind Body Connection: How Active Seniors are Having  Fun and Enjoying Better  Health …

Hobbies as activities for senior citizens are a way to calm their  minds and relax. It is a way to belong, have something to look forward to  doing.

For many, their hobbies are a tool that releases stress and helps bring their  emotions back into balance again. It is a time when we get an attitude  adjustment and feel right with the world again.

Leisure time physical activity is important to healthy aging. Moving our  bodies and using our minds affect how we age. The mind body connection benefits  of participating in hobbies are improved mental clarity, enhanced immune system,  improved self esteem and self confidence.

Hobbies are a way to have fun, enjoy and stay regularly involved in leisure  time physical activity. Consistency and regular involvement is the key to  maintaining healthy aging.

Having a variety of hobbies during the week can keep an individual busy,  interested and involved. Participating in a hobby with a group can be  motivating. Knowing that the expectations of others are anticipating your  participation in the day’s activity may give one the boost to go when they feel  down. Even to know that you have others that depend on you to be there, may give  you an extra boost to participate when you don’t feel like it. Feeling a sense  of commitment to others, a sense of belonging is important to healthy aging.

Hobbies give many a sense of connection to others, when there are no other  connections in an individual’s life. Connections to others, a sense of  belonging, a sense of community gives many active seniors the reason to  participate in life to their fullest ability.

Hobbies are a way for many to stay physically and mentally stimulated. Trying  new things, meeting new people and sharing your knowledge, experience and  sometimes your creative side with others can keep an active senior challenged  mentally, as well as, physically.

Hobbies are a safe way to get out and meet people with like minded interests.  It is a great ice breaker to meeting new people and a way to stay active, no  matter how old you get to be.

Any activity that gets an aging senior moving and involved with others is a  step towards healthy aging. It is important to get busy and stay active. Take up  dancing, gardening; join a walking club or travel.

Hobbies have a mind body connection. Active seniors are having fun and  enjoying better health as they regularly participate in things they enjoy. It is  never too late to start enjoying yourself now. Take time to find your own  activities for senior citizens to help your loved ones and  yourselves.

Diane Carbo Registered Nurse has more than thirty five years in the nursing  field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified  to help those who want to live out their lives in their own homes. Diane has  developed a web site to make people aware of issues and options. You will find a  mountain of helpful information that will be continually updated. Please visit:  http://www.aginghomehealthcare.com/activities-for-senior-citizens.html for more information on hobbies and senior activities Sign up for The Caring  Advocate Ezine her free newlsetter and receive a complimentary copy of  the Home Health Care Planning Guide.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Diane_Carbo

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2183928

Nevada-Senior-Guide Lakeview-Terrace-Boulder-City

www.lvterrace.com

Welcome to Lakeview Terrace of Boulder City Assisted Living Community

Boulder City Assisted Living

Lakeview Terrace of Boulder city is a close, intimate assisted living community, located in a small, friendly historic town outside of Las Vegas.  We enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Mead, the grandeur of the mountains, and the views of the big horn sheep in our front yard.  The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas is only minutes away!

Whether you are a Boomer seeking the best for your parent, a senior interested in securing your own future care, or someone who values the companionship and wisdom of elders—you have started in the right place. Our mission guides us in creating a senior services environment where elders direct their lives. We support each individual’s choices and desires to be healthy, embrace life-long learning, and experience elderhood to its fullest.

At Lakeview Terrace, we believe in the power of the team, families, and elders working together to create a real sense of community. We invite you to visit Lakeview Terrace of Boulder City to experience the joy and security we can help provide.

Boulder City, NV Senior Care Options

Lakeview Terrace of Boulder City provides a full range of exceptional senior living options. Our  community offers all of the comforts of home with the added benefit of a  team of experienced, caring professionals dedicated to providing you or  your loved one with quality service.

Senior Care Boulder City Services & Amenities

Welcome  to your new home at Lakeview Terrace of Boulder City in Boulder City, NV. As soon as you step  foot into our beautiful senior living community, you’ll  feel right at home.

Lakeview Terrace of Boulder City offers the finest senior living in Boulder City, including daily  activities, organized outings, nutritional meals, a variety of exercise  programs and much more. Our programs are individually designed for each  senior living option. Whether you are seeking specialized memory care, or a more independent or residential care style of living, we’d love to welcome you or your loved  one home at Lakeview Terrace of Boulder City.

 

 

 

  • Senior Industry Network Group Events

    Monthly SING Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at our NEW location below:

    Desert Canyon - HealthSouth
    9175 W. Oquendo Rd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89148

    S.I.N.G. Agenda:
    - Coffee and bagels will be served
    - A time to show gratitude by thanking those who have sent you referrals
    - Announcements around the room
    - One minute commercials
    - Open Discussion on topics of Self Empowerment

    * When? The 1st Thursday of every month. Networking starts at: 8:00am | Meeting starts at: 8:30am

    * How Much? It’s free!