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emotions | Nevada Senior Guide

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.

Senior Citizens – Victims No More by Chris Bruno

May 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

Violent crime against senior citizens used to be unthinkable. It was rare that a street thug would target an elderly person; however criminals of today have a totally different mindset. They prey upon those they perceive to be weak and an easy target and who will offer the least resistance. In the mind of a street thug, seniors fit this category. This alone is why you need to become informed, and do whatever you can to keep yourself from becoming a victim.

Oftentimes senior citizens are led to believe that they have somehow lost the ability to defend themselves against criminals and crime in general. This belief is totally false and in fact there are many quick and easy things seniors can do to defend themselves.

The first thing you should do is find a senior self defense class in your area. Many organizations provide these free of charge. Check with your local police department, YMCA or seniors club in your area. Many community organizations offer these classes free of charge.

Many seniors are opposed to carrying weapons of any kind. This is a thought process that needs to change. Pepper spray or a stun gun are ideal choices and offer a level of protection that will not only boost your confidence but actually allow you to survive an assault by temporarily incapacitating your attacker. Each of these weapons are extremely easy to operate and take just a few minutes to learn.

Because many seniors are so opposed to carrying something such as pepper spray, if you do use it, the attacker will be caught off guard and the element of surprise will buy you the critical time you need to get to a safe location and notify the police. The effects of either weapon are temporary and will not cause permanent injury.

If you are not willing to carry a traditional weapon consider using a cane if you have one. Swing the cane in an “X” pattern, targeting the knees, elbows and other bony parts of the attackers’ body. These strikes will be effective but in very temporary way. They will probably only distract an attacker, so a secondary plan is definitely needed. I would suggest a Personal Alarm. They are a very small discreet device that you can carry in a pocket, purse or on your belt that when activated sound a very loud ear piercing noise which causes your attacker to flee and forget about attacking you. Many alarms are equipped with flashing strobe lights and a few even contain hidden pepper spray giving you the best of both worlds.

Of course, the best way to defend yourself is to not allow yourself to become a victim in the first place. I know this may sound like an obvious statement but simply by adhering to a few easy to follow best practices you can greatly lower your chances of becoming a victim. When you are going out, try and keep jewelry hidden or simply wear it discreetly. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Remain aware of what is going on around you. If you see or even sense something bad, adjust your actions accordingly. Changing the direction you are walking is far easier than recovering from injuries you sustain in an attack.

Senior safety at home is a whole different ballgame but equally as important. Do not keep large sums of money at home. Consider using a debit card and having any monthly payments due you directly deposited into a bank account.

Do not divulge any personal information over the phone or in person. DO NOT withdraw any money from a bank account unless you are absolutely sure you know who you are giving it to. There are a huge number of scams out there and many target seniors. In fact many seniors are scammed out of their life savings simply because they felt sorry for someone or had their emotions preyed upon. If something seems too good to be true, it most definitely is.

When it comes to defending yourself, anyone can improve their abilities. All it takes is the desire to take a stand, educate yourself, and practice some of the techniques mentioned here. With your new found confidence and some practice you will already have done a great deal to lessen your chances of becoming a victim.

Chris Bruno is a retired police officer and contributing author to Safety Products Depot. His certification as a Pepper Spray [http://www.safetyproductsdepot.com/pepper-spray.html] Instructor gives him unique insight into the effectiveness of this defensive weapon. Chris is offering you a 10% discount off any purchase at [http://www.safetyproductsdepot.com] Visit the site now to claim your discount coupon.

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

Senior Citizens – Burdened With Grief and Anger by Jessie Penn

April 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

Grief and anger often becomes a heavy burden for people as they age. Throughout life, people experience grief over many things. They grieve if there home burns down, lose a job or a pet. However, an area of loss that is not usually considered with grief is the physical decline during the aging process.

Grief can be detected, in seniors, by the comments they make about losing their youth. Many times, they speak with remorse at lost youth, decreased functionality, and body strength. When a senior citizen notices they are losing muscle strength, or begin experiencing arthritis, stiffness, and joint pain, it’s not unusual to notice anger. They become upset and wish to escape the betrayals of their bodies, and become very angry in the process.

No one asks to get old or feeble. Most likely, if we had a choice, most of us would vote to discontinue and ban getting old. A person might grieve when they are bestowed the title of “Senior Citizen.” At first, a senior citizen, might not notice the changes that are taking place in the physical aspects of the body or the mind. And, perhaps, as much as they hate the thought of getting old, family members also grieve about losing the ‘young’ mom or dad they once knew.

Unfortunately, getting angry about growing old has no escape; there’s no one to blame it on. So, sometimes the result is that seniors lash out at the ones closest to them. Anger and frustration with the aging body can cause tempers to rage or flare up unexpectedly. Many times, a senior lashes out at a loved one or caregiver because they are nearby and easily accessible. The aging person knows it isn’t fair, but may have a hard time explaining their actions.

Learning how to cope with anger about aging is necessary so you don’t hurt the innocent ones around you. But, it is also unhealthy to keep your grief bottled up inside you. If seniors are not allowed to vent and get rid of their anger, the body can decline at a faster rate.

It’s been suggested that people become angry because they feel a false sense of entitlement. This crops up when expectations do not line up with reality. A feeling of undo entitlement happens when we believe we do not deserve to get old.

There is just one way to confront getting older, and that is to recognize that we are not alone, everyone will get old, and we are not entitled to be exempt from the aging process. Recognizing this fact can help to eliminate anger from the arena as we cope with the affects of aging.

Attempting to deny the advance of life’s end, is probably the sole cause of midlife crisis’s. Trying to behave as if they are not getting older and hiding emotional responses to aging can cause devastating results. Avoiding the feelings about aging has caused many to act irresponsibility or make bad decisions.

By recognizing the problems that naturally happen through aging, some of the anger can be avoided. Instead of dwelling on declining abilities, senior citizens can minimize the impacts by living with a healthier attitude toward aging.

Focusing on your diet, exercise, keeping busy, and doing everything you can to stay rested and emotionally sound. Thinking about or getting involved with other people can help to create a healthier attitude toward aging and minimize its effects.

Try to keep your spirits up, be happy through achievements and seemingly small enjoyments. Keep a young at heart attitude and get in touch with the child inside you. You’ve come too far, traveled many winding paths, and you deserve to feel content and happy. Emotions about how you feel about yourself can play a major role in the person you choose to be as a senior citizen.

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

How Much Have You Changed? A Dilemma For Senior Citizens by Jerry Elrod

April 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

Now that you are 50 or 60 or 70 or so, how much have you changed? As a senior  citizen in retirement, do you still see yourself as you were 10 or more years  ago? What experiences, dramatic or subtle, have changed the mold you always saw  yourself fitting?

Here is an illustration giving proof that some people really don’t change  their patterns. A man in his early 70s is still acting out and living as if it  were 50 or more years ago. No change, no recognition of the need for it. Old  prejudices, bitter cynicism are the hallmarks of his life. Just as his outward  expressions reveal his inward retardation, he is being eaten alive by a terminal  illness. Is there anyway to get through to people who don’t even understand  themselves? How can exercise compassion and care and thoughtfulness for others,  if they don’t even see the need for those emotions within themselves?

This is an alert. It is time for aging senior citizens who have decided to  live in the boxed-in, never gonna change kind of existence, to either decide to  isolate themselves completely or change. Isolation is not desirable, at whatever  age. Punishing others by absenting yourself from the world going on around you  is only a punishment to yourself. It isn’t the rest of the world that has a  problem. It is you!

Resisting change is no indication of brilliance. It is instead, a sign of  insecurity, inability to cope, unwillingness to evolve. Do you really want to be  the way you have always been? Sounds comfortable, but at last it is an indicator  of disconnect. There are a lot of memories and joys from your past to which you  may cling. But, finally, one must admit they can’t remain forever a part of your  life and being. Right now, resolve to begin working hard on eliminating some of  the “things” which still hold you. There is a time for letting go.

It may be relatively easy, and certainly inevitable, to have to let go of  those “things.” It is more of a struggle to deal with the chains, as in Dickens’  Marley, which enslave us. Aging senior citizens may find a good read this Christmas in  “A Christmas Carol.” As you read it, reflect on how much like Marley or Ebenezer  you have become.

Article provided by Dr. Jerry D. Elrod. Dr Elrod, and his wife, Dr Sharon  Shaw Elrod, manage Senior Citizen Journal online. For information on retirement,  Baby Boomers and everything related to Seniors, please visit my blog at http://www.seniorcitizenjournal.com/. Links to  other Senior Citizen Journal pages can be found on the blog.

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

 

The Harrowing Medical Journey of a Cancer Survivor by Nina Kramer

April 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Las Vegas, Press-Media Releases 

The Harrowing Medical Journey of a Cancer Survivor by Nina Kramer

“‘You have cancer’ are three of the scariest words you will ever hear,”
says Nina Kramer, author of the new book, The Harrowing Medical Journey of
a Cancer Survivor. “But how you react after hearing those words can mean
the difference between thriving and deteriorating.”

Kramer’s journey through the world of cancer treatment began in 2000 when
she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Every year over 73,000 people are
diagnosed with the disease in the United States. Men are three times more
likely than women to develop it and about 5% will die from the disease, but
the death rate has been declining over the past twenty years.

Like many, Kramer’s journey began with a routine physical. What followed was
anything but routine.  Her first detour began with a trusted doctor. She liked him and
followed his instructions faithfully but, as she was to learn, he was not giving her the best and most advanced treatments. The number one rule when facing an illness as serious as cancer, she quickly discovered, is to do your research and seek out the best doctors and institutions that treat your disease.

The Harrowing Medical Journey of a Cancer Survivor is Kramer’s courageous
story as she copes with a severe illness that lasted more than a decade. It began with a diagnosis of low-grade bladder cancer, continued with the removal and/or reconstruction of vital organs, and ended with dialysis and a kidney transplant. Although the story is specific to bladder cancer and its aftermath, it covers aspects inherent in any serious,
and sometimes life-threatening, illness.

With candor, honesty and life-affirming messages, The Harrowing Medical
Journey of a Cancer Survivor shares:

* The impact of emotions on surviving a serious illness – fear, denial, anger, anxiety and depression can have devastating results
* The search for experts – the single most important thing you can do when
battling a severe illness is to find the best hospitals and doctors specializing in your disease
* The focus on other passions – engrossing yourself in activities other than the illness to relieve your mind from the constant anxiety of worrying about it
* The importance of cancer support groups and psychotherapy – talking to other people can help you explore your feelings so they don’t interfere with or hamper your recovery
* Spending time on what you love – do everything you can to fight your illness, but spend time doing the things that bring you pleasure and satisfaction
* Having sex – the human contact and intimacy, as well as the erotic pleasure, can be a wonderful antidote to pain and misery

“I wanted to share my story with other cancer victims,” adds Kramer. “As I travelled this frightening medical journey, I learned a lot about how to survive and even thrive under sometimes terrifying circumstances. I wanted to share this experience in the hope that it would help others undergoing frightening medical journeys.

Nina Kramer, is a published novelist and author of the new nonfiction ebook,
The Harrowing Medical Journey of a Cancer Survivor. She has held various
positions from journals manager to assistant vice president with medical,
scientific and technical publishers while pursuing her craft as a writer.
While undergoing cancer treatment, she made an arduous trip through some
remote locations in China—described in her Medical Journey book—as
research for her next novel set in the Middle Kingdom, Phoenix Rising; Tigers Flying. She divides her time between New York City and Stockbridge, MA.

Blog: http://ninaikramer.wordpress.com/cancer

The Harrowing Medical Journey of a Cancer Survivor is available in ebook format
through www.authorhouse.com. www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com,
and all online booksellers.

Review Copies Available Upon Request

No more “empty nest”: middle-aged adults face family pressure on both sides

February 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles, Press-Media Releases 

The “empty nest” of past generations, in which the kids are grown up and middle-aged adults have more time to themselves, has been replaced in the United States by a nest that’s full – kids who can’t leave, can’t find a job and aging parents who need more help than ever before.

According to a new study by researchers at Oregon State University, what was once a life stage of new freedoms, options and opportunities has largely disappeared.

An economic recession and tough job market has made it hard on young adults to start their careers and families. At the same time, many older people are living longer, which adds new and unanticipated needs that their children often must step up to assist with.
The end result, researchers suggest, are “empty nest” plans that often have to be put on hold, and a mixed bag of emotions, ranging from joy and “happy-to-help” to uncertainty, frustration and exhaustion.

“We mostly found very positive feelings about adults helping their children in the emerging adulthood stage of life, from around ages 18 to 30,” said Karen Hooker, director of the OSU Center for Healthy Aging Research.

“Feelings about helping parents weren’t so much negative as just filled with more angst and uncertainty,” Hooker said. “As a society we still don’t socialize people to expect to be taking on a parent-caring role, even though most of us will at some point in our lives. The average middle-aged couple has more parents than children.”

The findings of this research were just published in the Journal of Aging Studies, and were based on data from six focus groups during 2009-10. It was one of the first studies of its type to look at how middle-aged adults actually feel about these changing trends.
Various social, economic, and cultural forces have combined to radically challenge the traditional concept of an empty nest, the scientists said. The recession that began in 2008 yielded record unemployment, substantial stock market losses, lower home values and increased demand for higher levels of education.

Around the same time, advances in health care and life expectancy have made it possible for many adults to live far longer than they used to – although not always in good health, and often needing extensive care or assistance.

This study concluded that most middle-aged parents with young adult children are fairly happy to help them out, and they understand that getting started in life is simply more difficult now. Some research has suggested that age 25 is the new 22; that substantially more parents now don’t even expect their kids to be financially independent in their early 20s, and don’t mind helping them through some difficult times.

But the response to helping adult parents who, at the same time, need increasing amounts of assistance is not as uniformly positive, the study found – it can be seen as both a joy and a burden, and in any case was not something most middle-aged adults anticipated.

“With the kids, it’s easy,” is a general purpose reaction. With aging parents, it isn’t.

“My grandparents died younger, so my parents didn’t cope with another generation,” one study participant said.

Many middle-aged people said it was difficult to make any plans, due to disruptions and uncertainty about a parent’s health at any point in time. And most said they we’re willing to help their aging parents, but a sense of being time-starved was a frequent theme.
“It brings my heart joy to be able to provide for my mom this way,” one study participant said. “There are times when it’s a burden and I feel resentful.”

The dual demands of children still transitioning to independence, and aging parents who need increasing amounts of care is causing many of the study participants to re-evaluate their own lives. Some say they want to make better plans for their future so they don’t pose such a burden to their children, and begin researching long-term care insurance. Soul-searching is apparent.

“I don’t care if I get old,” a participant said. “I just don’t want to become debilitated. So I would rather have a shorter life and a healthy life than a long life like my mom, where she doesn’t have a life. She doesn’t have memories. Our memories are what make us who we are.”

An increasing awareness of the challenges produced by these new life stages may cause more individuals to anticipate their own needs, make more concrete plans for the future, reduce ambivalent approaches and have more conversations with families about their own late-life care, the researchers said in their study.
About the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences: The College creates connections in teaching, research and community outreach while advancing knowledge, policies and practices that improve population health in communities across Oregon and beyond.

The Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus Presents a Free Parenting Workshop from World-Renown Psychologist

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press-Media Releases 

The Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus Presents a Free Parenting Workshop from World-Renown Psychologist New York Times Best Selling Author Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. Provides a Practical Guide to Raising Healthy, Secure Children

Las Vegas – Jan. 8, 2012 –The Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus is offering a free Parenting Workshop hosted by world-renowned psychologist specializing in children and families, Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. On Sunday, Jan. 13 from1 – 3 p.m., 400 parents will have the opportunity to hear from this best selling author and sought after speaker who has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CBS 60 Minutes, ABC 20/20, Good Morning America, and The Early Show. Thompson’s workshop is titled Pressured Children, Worried Parents: A Conversation about Parenting in 2013: managing you and your child’s expectations and emotions with regards to adolescence, friendship development, popularity and social cruelty.

“This is Michael Thompson’s fourth visit to our school and he is back by popular demand,” said Paul Schiffman, head of school of Adelson Educational Campus. “As a celebrated psychologist, he provides parents with wisdom, guidance and humor through all the tough decisions they make. We look forward to hearing his insight on Jan. 13.”

Michael Thompson, Ph.D. is a consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked in more than five hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools in Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

He and his co-author, Dan Kindlon, wrote the New York Times best-selling book, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys (Ballantine Books, 1999). He is the author of Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow, Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions about Raising Sons Ballantine, 2000), and co-author (with Catherine O’Neill Grace and Larry Cohen, Ph.D.) of Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Worlds of Children (Ballantine, 2001) and Mom, They’re Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems (Ballantine, 2002.) About Best Friends, Worst Enemies the Publishers Weekly review declared, “Not since Dr. Spock and Penelope Leach has there been such a sensitive and practical guide to raising healthy children.” The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Achieve Success in School and in Life (with Teresa Barker, Ballantine, 2004) was written to help parents understand the complex journey of children through school, from Kindergarten through senior year. His third book on the psychology of boys, entitled, It’s a Boy!: Understanding Your Son’s Development from Birth to Eighteen, was published in 2008. It focuses on the importance of undirected, free play in the lives of boys. He is presently writing a new book about summer camps and schools trips entitled, Homesick and Happy: How Children Change and Grow When They Are Away from Their Parents.

A dedicated speaker and traveler, Michael Thompson has appeared on The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC 20/20, CBS 60 Minutes, The Early Show and Good Morning America. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Time and U.S. News and World Report and has been a guest on NPR’s “Morning Edition” with Susan Stamberg, “Talk of the Nation” with Ray Suarez and the Diane Rhem Show. He wrote, narrated and hosted a two-hour PBS documentary entitled “Raising Cain” that was broadcast nationally in 2006.

Dr. Thompson serves on the board of the American Camping Association and is on the Advisory Board of Parent Magazine. Dr. Thompson lives in Arlington, Massachusetts. He is married to Dr. Theresa McNally, a psychotherapist, and is the father of Joanna, 26, and Will, 20.

About The Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus
The mission of The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus is to instruct and inspire new generations of students who will draw strength from a rich Jewish heritage, use their knowledge, values and vision to fulfill their own potential, and build a better world. Adelson Educational Campus was originally founded in 1980 and now educates children from 18 months through 12th grade. Adelson Educational Campus accepts students of all faiths and affiliations and offers a drug-free commitment to its students and faculty. Adelson Educational Campus is located at 9700 West Hillpointe Road in Summerlin. For more information please call (702) 255-4500 or visit www.adelsoncampus.org or Facebook/Adelson Campus

Senior Dating On Today’s Dating Scene! (Nevada Senior Guide)

September 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

The world of senior dating has really experienced some changes in recent years. Perhaps there are those who do not envision the fact that seniors actually engage in the dating scene, but they do. The fact is senior citizens get lonesome too. Relationships that allow us to bond are important regardless of the age. To fully comprehend senior and baby boomers dating and the changes that have occurred one must first understand the emotions seniors must endure before they can even enter the dating competition. It is a huge step that must be approached with care.

Many seniors have lived full lives that included dating the love of their life, marrying that person and spending a lifetime with them. They have raised children, went on vacations, enjoyed the holidays and recorded a lifetime of magical memories in their minds. In addition, often this relationship ended because a partner has passed away. The combination of getting around those memories and the guilt associated with even considering another partner make the senior dating process a profound obstacle to pursue. The majority of the seniors in this generation married for life and never assumed they would ever be part of the senior dating scene. And to make it even more complicated, baby boomers seem to be a pretty emotional kind of persons

However, life has a way of altering the playing field and many seniors are thrown back into the game by fate. It is not easy to date again, whether the previous relationship was successful or ended in divorce. The fear of rejection and feelings of guilt make senior dating a frightening proposal. Other than just the emotional fears in senior dating some other concerns are apparent as well. Children often play a major role and interest in their parent hitting the dating scene again. Some are very supportive, while others are more cautious and protective. In addition, women live longer than men making the competition for the senior males that are available fiercer.

Medical technology has allowed seniors to live longer. Seniors today are often more energetic and physically able to pursue another relationship with vigor. In addition, it is safe to say that there are many more options for the senior community when it pertains to senior dating. There was a time not so long ago where those seniors entering the dating process were limited to church functions and senior centers. Although these locations are still offer superb opportunities; Internet technology has taken the process to an entirely different level. There are numerous dating sites for seniors online and many are very well done.

Some think the senior dating world has been enhanced by the increasing promiscuity. However, most seniors would quickly confess that there is much more to companionship than sexual encounters. It is certainly much easier to do background checks and screenings on prospective dates, which makes the experience safer for all involved. Modern technology has made pursuing companionship in the twilight years as rewarding and plausible as the first time around, as long as the heart is willing to partake on that journey.

Discover why seniors and baby boomers are best placed to reap the rewards of their life experience.
Find out how senior dating can bring new energy and excitement into your everyday reality!

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

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6541985

  • 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!