April 18, 2016 by Leigh St John
· 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.
- Infancy. Birth to 2 years – basic trust vs. basic distrust. Hope.
- Early childhood, 3 to 4 years – autonomy vs. self doubt/shame. Will.
- Play age, 5 to 8 years – initiative vs. guilt. Purpose.
- School age, 9to 12 – industry vs. inferiority. Competence.
- Adolescence, 13 to 19 – identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity.
- Young adulthood – intimacy vs. isolation. Love.
- Adulthood, generativity vs. self absorption. Care.
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Social aging according to Cumming, E. and Henry, W. (Growing old: the aging process of disengagement, NY, Basic 1961) follows a well defined pattern:
- Change in role. Change in occupation and productivity. Possibly change in attitude to work.
- Loss of role, e.g. retirement or death of a husband.
- Reduced social interaction. With loss of role social interactions are diminished, eccentric adjustment can further reduce social interaction, damage to self concept, depression.
- 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.
- Denial and isolation. “No, not me”.
- Anger. “I’ve lived a good life so why me?”
- Bargaining. Secret deals are struck with God. “If I can live until…I promise to…”
- Depression. (In general the greatest psychological problem of the aged is depression). Depression results from real and threatened loss.
- 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.
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.
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.
August 12, 2013 by Leigh St John
· Comments Off on Fullfilling Your Dreams, As a Senior Citizen by Eva Fry
Filed under: Articles
Today there are 30 million seniors. In 2030 there will be 70 million. The senior years can be an opportunity to fulfill dreams. Think of how happy those 70 million seniors will be if they believe they still have time to live their dreams. Think of how much happier and better our world will be when it is filled with people who are productive, doing good and living fulfilled lives, in their latter-years.
When we were young, we each had dreams of what we wanted to do with our life. Unfortunately many of us have never realized those dreams.
Why? We may have had parents who didn’t provide the opportunities we needed, when we were young. We may have married young, had children and the responsibilities of life took over. Before we knew, it we were seniors and believed we were too old to live our dreams.
I’m happy to report I am not one of those who live with regret or wish they had done more with their lives. Today, I am 67 years old and I am living my dreams.
I had three dreams when I was a young girl. My first, to be married, have children, and be a good mother with a happy family. My second, to be an entertainer and my third dream was to be a missionary.
Thankfully I have accomplished all three of my dreams and I’m starting on new ones.
My husband and I have been married for 48 years. We have three wonderful grown children and nine grandchildren. Why was this dream so important to me? My father was alcoholic and my mother emotionally ill. My childhood was sad and troubled. I desperately wanted a happy family like some of my friends. I was blessed to have that dream come true because I worked hard to make it come true.
Through the years, I never forgot my dreams to become an entertainer and a missionary. I just put them on hold. These dreams took a long time coming, but today my dreams have come true.
How have I accomplished my long-awaited dreams, in my senior years?
Change is the answer! Life doesn’t always stay the same. One door to our life may close but a new door always opens and we must be ready for it. When my children grew up and started their own lives, it left me in an empty nest. I was smart enough to use it as a launching pad to direct me toward my life-long dreams. I now had time to pursue them.
It began with me going back to college and taking a speech class. I took it to overcome my shyness and to learn to be more outgoing to I would have a chance at being an entertainer. You must know that I had no musical training and could not play an instrument so I had big dreams.
The class was a big step toward my dreams. I discovered I was a pretty good speaker and was asked to be on the college speech team. I traveled all over the USA competing with my speeches with intelligent teenagers. It was so much fun and I won a national speaking award. I joined Toastmasters and became president of my club. I took a stand-up comedy class. For many years I spoke for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, because I had been a victim of a drunk driver when I was a teenager. These all helped me gain confidence in myself and encouraged me to see what I could do as an entertainer.
I began to learn words to old songs and entered a talent contest for the city of San Diego and won another award. For several years now, I have been the master of ceremonies for the same talent show and for their variety show at the San Diego Fair.
At the age of 60 I began entertaining at senior residences and to learn to play the piano and guitar. I began to write my own music. I have produced 60 songs and had my music played on 150 radio stations. For several years now I have entertained with my own show using my own music at many functions.
I feel I have actually accomplished my second dream to become an entertainer. I wrote a book to encourage others to do the same called “You Must Have a Dream.”
Accomplishing my third dream, to become a missionary, has been a wonderful blessing to me. Because I spoke for MADD, I was asked to speak at Juvenile Hall in San Diego. Because of my involvement with incarcerated kids, I began my own program called “Be a Winner in Life.’ which I presented for ten years to over 10,000 young people. From this I wrote two books to help the kids “Be a Winner in Life” and “Letters From Juvenile Hall, Kids Helping Kids.”
This work has helped me be a missionary to these children teaching them true values and principals of life. My books help me share the message of The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the joy that it brings.
I am a senior citizen now and very thankful to God that I was able to fulfill the dreams of my heart.
We can all live to be 100 years old. How will your life turn out? I hope that when your life is over you will have no regrets and you will never have to say “I wish”, “if only”, but rather you will say, ” I fully lived my life and I have no regrets. I loved my life because I lived my dreams! This is how I feel about my life. I am so thankful. The Lord has truly blessed me. I pray He will bless you too.
My books can be purchased at http://www.evafry.com . I hope they will encourage you to live your dreams.
Eva Fry’s mission is to help others become better and happier. She is an inspirational author, singer/songwriter/ motivational speaker and seminar leader. Eva has published three books – “YOU MUST HAVE A DREAM” -for seniors, “BE A WINNER IN LIFE”-for good kids, troubled kids and their parents. “LETTERS FROM JUVENILE HALL, KIDS HELPING KIDS” (Actual letters from kids at Juvenile Hall, intended to save other kids from destroying their lives) She invites you to use the FREE ARTICLES she has written for: at- risk kids Also FREE ARTICLES of inspiration to help meet life’s challenges. http://www.evafry.com She has produced 7 Music CD’s
Remember (new music for seniors), Oh What Joy Christmas The Little Things (inspirational country), I Love Living The Teachings of The Lord (Gospel/Christian) Savior of Mine (Christian) God Gave You Intelligence (for children)
Classical Style (instrumental)
Her music and books can be purchased at http://www.evafry.com Her books can also be ordered at any bookstore. Her articles have been published, all over the world.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Eva_Fry
It was my first time speaking at Juvenile Hall, I was terrified! I had seen enough movies to know I didn’t want to be there. As I hurried through the metal detectors, and pushed through the big metal doors, my heart was pounding and I was filled with fear. I wondered if I would get out of this place alive.
I passed the holding tanks, rooms with big windows containing kids who had just been arrested. In there were kids pacing, fighting addictions, fearfully waiting to be assigned to a unit. Some kids were right at home. They knew this place! They had been there before.
When I stepped into the inner sanctum I heard sounds that confirmed my fears. Angry kids were screaming, using profane language. I heard loud pounding on the doors, which dotted the narrow hallways. Juvenile inmates were communicating through the thick cement walls. As I scurried along, I saw empty eyes piercing out at me through the small, eye level windows of their rooms. I passed through more metal doors and hallways, until I came to the unit I was to speak in. Inside sat fifty young men, of all nationalities. I knew from their varying hair color. Their backs were toward me. They were juveniles from the age of 15 to 17.
As I slowly walked to the front of the room, I made sure there was a guard on either side, in case one of them grabbed me. I took a deep breath and turned toward them. My heart stopped! I was shocked! They were just kids! I expected them to look like criminals, but they looked like they could be one of my nine grandkids.
Although some did appear tough, and others rough, there was something about them that touched me. At that moment, my life changed! A still small voice inside me said, “you must try to help them!”
Thus began my continuing, nine-year mission, to help kids who are in trouble with the law. These are my kids. “The Forgotten Kid.” The children we think we can lock up, throw away the key, and forget. The ones who learned most of the bad things they have done, from us, the older generation. They are kids, paying the price for the sins of society. Our scapegoats
There are up to 600 kids locked up, in this facility, at any time. The Hall houses kids from the age of 10 to 18, although I saw a nine-year and ten-year-old carrying blankets and pillows. Were they going camping?
No! They were headed to their rooms, to be locked up, for armed robbery.
BE A WINNER IN LIFE IS MY PROGRAM. I help the kids believe they can still be WINNERS. I teach them they have potential to do amazing things with their life. In fact, I believe God sent them to this earth to do good with their lives. I tell them each one is a genius, in their own way, and can do something better than anyone else can do. They must find their genius. They must go to school, obey the law, obey their parents, be honest and work hard. My goal is to share with them the same truths I taught my kids: the basic truths of right and wrong.
I hope to support the parents who are good parents, but their kids got on the wrong track. I try to teach the ones with bad parents, or no parents, values they were never taught: basic principals of good and bad.
How did I start speaking at Juvenile Hall? It began a long time ago, when I was a little girl, the daughter of an alcoholic father who emotionally damaged my mother and us kids. I grew up in circumstances similar to some of these young wards.
I speak to them because I would have loved to have had someone, who cared, talk to me when I was young.
Some of these kids, like me, are the off spring of parents who didn’t care how their actions affected their kids. We were from homes full of contention caused by parents with addictions. Sick parents who were unable to control their own lives, let alone parent a child. So-called parents, who lived in their own hell and created havoc in the lives of their children. Parents who abandoned their kids.
When I talk to the kids, I relate to the ones who hope to fix their parents, and those who must care for their siblings. I relate because I remember pouring my Dad’s alcohol down the drain, thinking it would fix our problems but instead, I got myself into lots of trouble. I remember taking money from my Dad’s pocket, after he passed out, to give to my Mom. Money for food.
I remember the day I realized that whatever I did at home would change nothing. I would never have the loving family I longed for. Like many of these kids, I turned to friends for the family I needed. Like them, they were usually the wrong kids of friends, peers who were doing bad things. I remember drinking alcohol, even though I hated it, so I could fit in.
I hear my same story, over and over again, at Juvenile Hall.
To help them I share a profound truth, which I discovered in my young life. “Bad things happen for a reason!”
My bad thing: after a wasted life, at the age of 57, my Dad died an alcoholic. His drink of choice was 100% over proof rum. The good thing: My Dad’s death led to me realize I didn’t want to end up like him, or give my kids the life he gave me. I eventually made a commitment to stop drinking and change my life. Thankfully I was young and not an alcoholic, like my Father and Grandfather.
My commitment worked! I share with them how wonderfully my life has turned out, because of one small choice. I used my Dad’s mistakes to choose a better life for myself. I now have the life I dreamed about. My husband and I have been happily married for 45 years and with our children and grandchildren, are a close knit, happy, non-drinking family.
I tell them, “you can turn the bad things which have happened in your life into motivation for a better life too.” I help them believe they still have time to change.
Another reason I speak at Juvenile Hall is because I was a victim of a drunk driver. At the age of 17, the car I was riding in was hit head-on by a drunk driver. My head went through the windshield. My nose and part of my ear was torn off. Thankfully doctors put me back together, but I came to realize the terrible carnage alcohol could cause. I’ve had a mission all my life to teach the evils of alcohol use. I was a speaker for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving for several years. In fact, they were the ones who first sent me to speak at Juvenile Hall.
I teach the kids to abstain from alcohol and drugs. I have commitment cards, which I encourage them to sign and honor. I know if I can help them make a commitment not to drink alcohol, or use drugs; they will have a better chance at changing their lives and reaching their potential. They don’t need alcohol or drugs in their life. Most of the kids are locked up because of their first drink of alcohol, which lead to drug use and criminal behavior.
One of the questions people always ask me is “what is it like to talk to young criminals? Do they listen to you?”
My answer is, “at first it took a little time to know what to say and how to say it, so they would accept me. It took me time to overcome my fear of knowing how to communicate with them and have them accept me.”
One night, one of them asked, “why do you come to Juvenile Hall?” I answered, “why do you think?” His response, “for the money!” I replied, “no one pays me, in fact the first time I spoke, someone stole the hub caps from my car.” His mouth fell open and then he really listened to my program.
I’m happy to say I do very well with them! The kids are very attentive. They know I care. I don’t judge them. In most cases, I don’t know what their crime is. I don’t want to know. I tell them that what they have done is wrong and they must pay the price. On the other hand, I hope to stop them from getting deeper into crime. If I can stop them from hurting someone in the future, I feel my time is worthwhile.
I know I won’t get through to all of them, but I hope to plant seeds, which may take root someday when they have choices to make. My dream is to save as many as I can.
It is very gratifying when I feel I have gotten through to them and when they thank me. One boy said. “You told me bad things happen for a reason. Your right!” I never would have gotten an education if I hadn’t come to Juvenile Hall. I just got my GED. I applied to a college and was accepted. I will be going to school to be come an engineer when I get out.”
I am happy when I feel I have helped them look at life in a more positive way.
I try to help them turn their mistakes and bad experiences into something good. My greatest success is that I encourage the kids at Juvenile Hall to write letters to save other kids from the consequences they are experiencing. They have written incredible letters. Their letters have great impact on other kids because they come from their peers. My latest book “Letters from Juvenile Hall, Kids Helping Kids contain the letters.
Here are inserts from some of the letters:
Addiction controlled my life. Don’t let it control you! I wish for all you guys to be safe, and I pray for you kids that don’t know what life is really about, because after that second when you make the bad decision, it goes down hill from there. Only you can change your future. I hope you all understand that there’s a number in prison with your name on it, if you don’t change. Now’s the time to change. Not later. Not when you get out, but now! If you don’t change now you never will.
Gang banging was my worst thing I ever gotten into. If I could take it back, I would. I repeated my Dad’s cycle.
Now I sit here in a one-room cell, facing 25 years to life. I want you to look around and see what kind of situation you’re in. Open you eyes and your minds and soak as much education as you can. I’m 17 years old in a couple of weeks. I will be graduating from high school (in Juvenile Hall). Education is the key to life.
I’m in the Hall, Unit 800. Why? Because I committed a sin while I was on drugs. At the age of 13, I started using drugs because my best friend was asking me to try some. At the age of 16, my charges are DUI, evading a peace officer, driving at an unsafe speed with no license, a firearm in the car and 187 murder.
All the violence that is going on in our community is not solving nothing. The only thing it’s doing is killing us off, one by one. Before you know it the human race will be extinct. Because we are the last of the dying breed. I’m only telling you this so you guys can make the right decision. Your homies probably say they are down for you, but they be faking, and that’s real. The only people that’s going to stick by you is your mama and your family. I seen too much in my life young homies and it’s not what you are thinking. I lost my little homie and that really hit me. All that was on my mind was retaliation but when I thought about it, I knew it wouldn’t bring him back so I thought of another game plan. I prayed!
Eva, I want to thank you for all the help that you have given me. All the little words you’ve spoken in your groups have helped me so much along the way. I have changed in ways that people wouldn’t believe. I have done a whole 360. Without the help of you, I see the change being 100% more difficult. I wish my family was around to see my new life.
As you can see, my experience with my kids, at Juvenile Hall, has been emotionally rewarding and very satisfying to me. These kids give my life meaning. I feel I am making a difference.
I continue to try to help kids. I have written a book called “BE A WINNER IN LIFE”, which I hope to get into the hands of every child in Juvenile Hall’s, all over the country. Also, I want to get it into the hands of parents. I hope to get to kids before they are locked up.
Yes I’m a grateful to be a senior citizen at Juvenile Hall! I’m grateful my senior years have value and that I am doing something with my time, which is worthwhile.
I now know that every senior citizen can use the wisdom they have gained throughout their life to make a difference. We can all do something. I encourage you to find a way to help a child. Our kids need you!
Eva Fry is an author, singer/songwriter and motivational speaker. She had a ten year volunteer program at Juvenile Hall called “Be a Winner in Life” She has three books “You Must Have a Dream” for seniors, “Be a Winner in Life” for kids, troubled kids and their parents, and Letters from Juvenile Hall, Kids Helping Kids” – for all kinds, especially those who are locked up and to help kids from being locked up. She started writing and songwriting at the age of 60. Her goal is to encourage seniors to reach their potential and help kids do the same. She has many free articles on her web site to help young and old. She has six CD’s which are spiritually based and inspire young and old. She is avilable as a speaker or performer. Her work is available on her web site Eva Fry – email@example.com http://www.evafry.com ( She has many free articles on her web site)
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Eva_Fry
The other day, I was talking to a mobile detailing entrepreneur in the state of Florida. He been doing business an awful long time, but he also noted that unemployment in the state just hit 8.8%. It wasn’t like this in the past where he could go to any office building, and all the workers were flush with cash and paid him for an executive $20 wash, and a $125.00 detail every other month. Today, he is busy trying to find any customer he can, and he asked me a very interesting question.
He told me that many of the customers in the retirement resort gated communities were asking him for a senior citizen discount. I told him that would be rather tough because almost everyone in those facilities, living between the fairways and the golf courses was a senior citizen. You might as well just lower the price and give it to everyone, or raise the price and let everyone get the discount, either way the concept of a senior citizen discount in Florida is rather silly.
Further, retired folks like to talk a lot, and they have nothing better to do but sit there and watch you detail the car, this could actually slow you down, and then they want to tell you all about their grandchildren, like you have time, you need to get to the next car to make some more money so you can afford to put gas in your mobile detailing rig because even that is up to four dollars a gallon now. Of course, the seniors do like to get a discount or least feel they are getting a discount, so maybe it is time that you rearranged the prices on your menu flyer, perhaps raising them 10 or 15%, and then giving the senior citizens a 20% discount.
Another issue that you may not have considered is that the baby boomers are retiring in record numbers, and they’re all hitting age 55 or 60. It might even be possible now to tell people that if they are only 65; “hell you are still young, you could probably wash and detail your own car, so I can’t give you the discount, I only give the senior citizen discounts to people 90 years old or older.” They might get a laugh about that, but maybe you can set your senior discount age at 70 or 75. If you are in the state of Florida like my acquaintance, you’ll still have plenty of customers take you up on the offer.
Well that’s all for now, if you have other questions or concerns you may shoot an e-mail. Until then I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.
Lance Winslow has launched a new series of eBooks on the Mobile Detailing Business. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a The Detail Guys, a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lance_Winslow
Physical fitness for senior citizens is more important than ever in today’s society. Decades ago, everything was done manually.
Although technology has brought us many incredible things, it has also made us a much more lazy society. No longer do we have to use our bodies to do yard work, clean around the house, or even work on our own car.
There are now gadgets for virtually everything that lets us do it while using minimal body strength.
But negative consequences come with the luxury we’ve been given. When manual labor is no longer needed and our muscles aren’t getting used on a daily basis – they start to weaken. Combine that with the fact that as every year goes by your muscles get weaker and you’ll understand why physical fitness for senior citizens is so important.
By strength training you will dramatically reduce your risk of osteoporosis, sore joints and broken bones. Many doctors and health companies try to make you buy Vitamin C and “drink a lot of milk” to overcome these problems, but in reality they simply don’t work. Supplements can help in a small way, but strength training has been proven time and time again to have a much more positive effect with muscle, bone and joint problems that most senior citizens face – even arthritis!
Isn’t It Dangerous To Exercise As I Get Older?
Unfortunately, many senior citizens are afraid to exercise due to fears of injuring themselves. However, there are a few simple precautions you can take such as:
- Perform low-impact exercises such as pushups, bodyweight squats and other bodyweight exercises.
- If lifting weights, do it for 10 or more reps and keep it at a manageable weight.
- Don’t over-exert yourself. Stop or briefly rest if you get uncomfortably tired.
Be smart and think about the injury-potential of each exercise before you perform it.
For example, instead of jogging, consider using stationary exercise bikes. Pro form exercise bikes are a great piece of equipment to try out. The Schwinn 231 recumbent exercise bike is also a great choice to have if you want to keep one in your own home.
Besides the simple precautions you should take, there are a few other things to consider. Physical fitness for senior citizens is a much more delicate situation than physical fitness for younger individuals.
- Take Things Slowly At First – Because of the weakening of bones, joints and muscles you need to take things slowly at first. Don’t simply start a program and push yourself to exhaustion. It’s also important to go to a doctor who knows your medical history beforehand. They may even be able to help you decide what type of exercise you should be doing.
- Exercise Slowly – You should also perform the actual exercises slowly. Don’t make jerky or bouncing movements or you’ll risk injuring yourself. The slower you perform the exercise, the less risk you have of getting hurt.
- Warm Up Properly – Warming up is very important to anybody, especially senior citizens. Lack of blood flow as well as tight joints and muscles performing less efficiently are all factors contributing to injuries. By properly warming up before your actual workout, you significantly reduce your risk of getting injured.
Although physical fitness for senior citizens is a bit more complicated due to more things that can possibly go wrong, it’s also just as or more important than exercising at a young age. By taking the right precautions and making sure you’re exercising correctly, you can enjoy injury-free and pain-relieving exercise for a long time to come.
Jeremy Reeves is a certified personal trainer devoted to helping you get in the best shape of your life. His website – [http://www.fitness-product-reviews.com] – reviews the 4 most effective weight loss products on the market today.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeremy_Reeves
Traveling is an interesting way of enjoying and spending time especially for the senior citizens who are confined to their homes and do not have much of physical activities. Older members of the family can have a lot of benefits by taking small and big trips to various places. There are numerous advantages of senior citizens travel. The best thing to do is to join one of the travel clubs for seniors in the locality. This will allow you to spend time in useful travel pursuits.
First, find out about the local clubs in the particular area. Search the internet or find out from friends and acquaintances about such clubs. Beware of scams and choose reputable ones. Be very careful and join a senior travel club that has been there for quite a long time and that has a reputation. The greatest benefit of joining such travel clubs is discounts on travel. Travel to various places for a cheaper rate than traveling alone. This is very beneficial for people who are living on a fixed monthly income and would like to travel.
Another benefit is that the club can help to plan the trip in a better way. Many people do not have the time or resources to plan the trip. For such people this is a very helpful. Most of these clubs have regular meetings for discussing various things including the travel plans. Be active in the meetings and suggest various things that are interesting for the group. A good idea can be better executed when it is shared and planned by a group of people belonging to the travel club.
Another thing is that many senior citizens are lonely at home. When they travel with the other members of the club, they can have a wonderful time socializing with each other and making new friends. They can get rid of their loneliness and enjoy life in a whole new way. Such clubs also have many volunteers who take care of the seniors and their needs. So people who are on their own can be benefited greatly.
Since the senior citizens club volunteers are well-trained, they know about all the requirements of these people and take them to places that are really meant for relaxing and enhancing the mood of the seniors. In order to enjoy all these benefits find the best club from the locality and enroll in it. After becoming a member it is easy to enjoy the various benefits offered by the senior citizens travel club.
Next, now you are better informed on Senior Citizens Travel are you ready to get traveling? Read more information concerning Senior Citizen Travel here.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_Redder
“Arthritis” does not mean only that someone has stiff, aching joints. Many types of arthritis exist, each with its own symptoms and treatments. Most types are chronic, meaning that they can be a source of discomfort for an extended period of time. Arthritis can afflict joints almost anywhere in the body and may cause changes you can see and feel, including swelling, warmth, and redness in the joints. It can last for a short time but be very painful or continue for a long time with less pronounced results while still damaging the joints.
Arthritis is extremely common in the United States, especially among senior citizens. Still, there are many steps they and those providing care for the elderly can take to relieve the different types of arthritis. The most common types in this population are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in senior citizens and begins when cartilage, the type of tissue that pads joints, begins to wear away. This can eventually cause all the cartilage between bones to wear away, forming painful rubbing of bones against each other. This type of arthritis is most common in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, and hips.
Symptoms of OA can range from stiffness and mild pain that accompanies exercise or bending to severe pain in the joints even in times of physical rest. OA can also cause stiffness during times in which you haven’t used specific joints in a while, like when you’re on a long car ride, but this stiffness usually goes away when you move your joints again. OA can eventually lead to problems moving joints and sometimes to developing a disability if the areas affected are the back, knees, or hips.
Aging is often the greatest risk factor for developing OA. Other factors depend on the area of the body afflicted-for instance, OA in the hands or hips may be caused by genetic factors; OA in the knees may be caused by being overweight; and injuries or overuse of joints in the knees, hips, and hands may lead to OA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) differs from OA in that it’s an autoimmune disease, meaning that your immune system attacks and damages the lining of a joint as if it were an injury or disease. RA leads to inflammation of the joints, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling, sometimes in multiple joints at once. It may be severe enough to prevent you from moving a certain joint. Senior citizens with RA may often experience fatigue or fever. You can develop RA at any age, and it’s more common in women.
RA can afflict almost any joint in the body and is often symmetrical, meaning that if you have RA in a specific joint on one side of your body, you probably experience RA in the same joint on the other side of your body. RA can damage not only joints, but also the heart, muscles, blood vessels, nervous system, and eyes.
Senior citizens with gout experience the most severe pain relative to many other arthritis patients. An attack begins when uric acid crystals form in the connective tissue or joint spaces, leading to swelling, stiffness, redness, heat, and pain in the joint. Attacks often follow eating foods like shellfish, liver, dried beans, peas, anchovies, or gravy. Drinking alcohol, being overweight, and taking certain medications may worsen the symptoms. In senior citizens, using certain medications to lower blood pressure may also be a risk factor for a gout attack.
Gout is most common in the big toe, but it can occur in other joints such as the ankle, elbow, knee, wrist, hand, or other toes. Swelling may cause discoloration and tenderness due to skin stretching tightly around the joint. If you see a doctor during an attack, he or she may take a sample of fluid from the affected joint.
Other forms of arthritis.
Other forms include psoriatic arthritis in patients who have psoriasis; ankylosing spondylitis, which mainly affects the spine; reactive arthritis, which occurs as a reaction to another illness in the body; and arthritis in the temporomandibular joint, the point at which the jaw attaches to the skull.
Arthritis Symptoms and Warning Signs.
Senior citizens and those providing their elder care should look out for the following symptoms as they may be indications of arthritis:
- lasting joint pain
- swelling in a joint
- stiffness in a joint
- tenderness or pain when touching a joint
- difficulty in using or moving a joint normally
- warmth and redness in a joint
Any of these symptoms lasting longer than two weeks should be addressed by a physician. If you experience a fever, feel physically ill, have a suddenly swollen joint, or have problems using a joint, a doctor should be contacted sooner. You will have to answer questions and go through a physical exam. Before suggesting treatment options, your doctor may want to run lab tests and take X-rays.
Some common treatment options exist even though each type of arthritis is treatedsomewhat differently. Rest, exercise, eating a healthy diet, and becoming educated about the right way to use and protect the joints are key to minimizing the effects of arthritis. Proper shoes and a cane can minimize pain the feet, knees, and hips while walking, and some technology exists for helping open jars or bottles, turn doorknobs more easily, and otherwise improve quality of life in senior citizens with arthritis.
Additionally, some medications can lower the pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (in Tylenol) and some NSAIDs are sold over-the-counter and can ease pain. Other NSAIDs must be prescribed. It is important for senior citizens and those providing their in home care to pay attention to the warnings on both prescribed and over-the-counter drugs and to ask a doctor about how to properly and best use over-the-counter medicine to treat arthritis. The FDA also has information about many medications.
Some treatment options are specialized for individual types of arthritis.
There are medicines to help senior citizens with pain associated with OA, and rest and exercise may ease movement in the joints. Managing weight is also important. If one experiences OA in the knees, a doctor can provide shots in the knee joint, which can help to move it without as much pain. Surgery may also be an option to repair or replace damaged joints in senior citizens.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments.
Treatment can diminish the pain and swelling associated with RA and cause joint damage to slow down or stop. One will feel better overall, and it will be easier to move around. On top of pain and anti-inflammatory medications, a doctor might prescribe DMARDs, which are anti-rheumatic drugs that can slow damage from RA. Corticosteroids, including prednisone, can minimize swelling while waiting for DMARDs to kick in. Additionally, biogenic response modifiers block the damage inflicted by the immune system and help people with mild to moderate RA when other treatments have failed to work properly.
If you’ve gone through a gout attack, talk to a doctor to discuss possible causes and future prevention of attacks. Work together with your doctor and other elder care providers to plan and execute a plan for prevention. Commonly, NSAIDs or corticosteroids are recommended for an acute attack. This treatment diminishes swelling, allowing you to feel better fairly shortly after treatment. Usually, the attack fully stops within a few days. If one has experienced multiple attacks, a doctor may be able to prescribe medication to prevent further attacks.
Exercise can help Arthritis.
In addition to taking the proper medication and allowing your joints to rest, exercise can help senior citizens to stay in shape, maintain strong muscles, and control symptoms of arthritis. Daily exercise like walking or swimming keeps joints moving while lessening pain and strengthening the muscles around joints. Before starting any new exercise program, it is important to discuss options with your physician.
Three types of exercise are the best for senior citizens with arthritis:
- Range-of-motion exercises reduce stiffness, improve flexibility, and keep joints moving. Activities like dancing fit into this category.
- Strengthening exercises strengthen muscles, which improves support and protection to your joints. Weight training fits into this category.
- Aerobic or endurance exercises improve health in the heart and arteries, prevent weight gain, improve how your body works overall, and may decrease swelling in some joints. Riding a bike fits into this category.
Other things to do to manage Arthritis.
On top of exercise and weight control, a number of other methods may help senior citizens ease the pain around joints. Applying heat or cold to joints, soaking in a warm tub, or swimming in a heated pool may help you feel better and move your joints more easily.
Surgery may be an option when damage has become disabling or when other treatment options have not adequately diminished pain. With surgery, joints can be repaired or replaced with artificial ones. Commonly, arthritic knees and hips are replaced.
Many senior citizens with arthritis try treatments that have not been tested or proven to help. Some are harmful, like snake venom, while others are harmless yet unhelpful, like copper bracelets.
Here are a few ways to determine whether a treatment is unproven:
- The remedy is said to work for all types of arthritis and other diseases
- Scientific support is from only one research study
- The label doesn’t include directions or warnings of use
Areas for further research.
Studies suggest that acupuncture could ease OA pain in some senior citizens. Dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin are also under investigation and may reduce OA pain. More research is needed to determine whether these types of treatments actually work to reduce symptoms and damage to joints.
Talk to your doctor and others involved in your elder care.
Try not to make light of your symptoms by telling yourself that joint pain or stiffness is simply caused by aging normally. Your doctor and other elder care providers can discuss possible treatment options with you to safely minimize your pain and stiffness and prevent more serious joint damage.
The Caring Space http://www.TheCaringSpace.com
David Crumrine at the Caring Space We are an organization that connects caregivers and care seekers, providing an easy and affordable resource for families seeking care for friends/loved ones and caregivers seeking employment.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Crumrine
Because of improved health and the desire to stay active more and more senior citizens are looking for job opportunities. Certainly because of this the job market for those that are now over 50 is improving. Certainly projections are showing that by 2010 senior citizens will make up 1/3 of the entire workforce in the United States. So just what types of senior citizens job opportunities are there available to them?
In this article we take a look at a number of different opportunities that are available for senior citizens. Although it can be quite intimidating for anyone who has been out of work for sometime finding a new job there are now employment resources specially dedicated to helping senior citizens make the transition back into the job market. There are many Governmental, private and public organizations which provide assistance to senior citizens in relation to career guidance, education, job training, job placement and resume and interview skills.
However there are some job opportunities available for senior citizens which need little or no qualifications in order to do them.
1. Baby Sitting
Unfortunately there are lots of children out there who do not have Grandparents. Certainly more and more parents would be happy to leave their children with a more experienced and mature senior than a 14 year old. It is quite easy to get set up just place an advert on your local supermarket bulletin board, home owner’s association newsletter or at your church. You will soon be amazed at the responses you will get.
2. House Sitting
Many people are now traveling to see their children or friends. So these people will spend long times away from their home and there are plenty of opportunities now for senior citizens to offer their services as house sitters. Many people will know that their homes will be well cared for by such people.
As you can see from above no longer do senior citizen’s need to stay at home and wile away the hours doing nothing. There are plenty of senior citizens job opportunities available. So why not contact your local senior citizen group or one of the employment resource centers that have been specifically set up to find employment for those senior citizens who want to do more with their lives.
For more information to seniors living [http://seniorselderly.com], please visit [http://seniorselderly.com]
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_Chua
Untreated Flat Feet in Children Can Result in Chronic Pain, Reduced Mobility
and an Increased Risk for Obesity
Parents keep a close eye on their growing children, watching for proper development and alert for any sign of a problem because small problems can have big implications. Surgeons at the Annual Conference of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) this week are conferring with one another on Pediatric Flatfoot, a childhood condition that, if left untreated, can result in permanent deformity in adulthood. Flatfoot deformity makes mobility and exercise painful, increasing the risk of reduced cardiovascular health and obesity.
“Parents never want their child to undergo a surgical procedure,” says Mary Crawford, DPM, FACFAS, an Everett, Washington foot and ankle surgeon and conference presenter. “But uncorrected symptomatic flatfoot can lead to chronic pain and instability as the child ages into adulthood. Children will be on their feet for a long time to come. It’s vital to keep those feet healthy. A foot and ankle surgeon can help parents understand the options – surgical and non-surgical – for treating pediatric flatfoot.”
Not all children have symptoms, but others will complain of pain, tenderness or cramping in the foot, leg, and knee. Parents may notice an outward tilting of the heel, awkwardness or clumsiness in walking and difficulty with shoes. Pediatric flatfoot makes participating in activities more difficult, so parents should take note if their child is unable to keep up with playmates, tires easily or voluntarily withdraws from physical activities.
To diagnose a pediatric flatfoot, a foot and ankle surgeon examines the child’s foot in weight bearing and non-weight bearing positions, both in and out of shoes. The physician also notes how the child walks and evaluates the foot’s range of motion. In some cases, flat feet are associated with issues of the hip and knee, so the physician may examine those as well.
For further detailed analysis, the physician may order imaging tests such as x-ray, a CT scan, MRI or bone scan. Family history will be evaluated as well, since the presence of flatfoot disorder in the family increases the possibility of flatfoot in the child.
“There are different types of flatfoot deformities,” notes Crawford. “Thorough testing helps us pinpoint the causes of the flatfoot disorder and develop an appropriate treatment plan.”
Pediatric flatfoot can be divided into two categories, flexible and rigid. Flexible flatfoot is characterized by a normal arch when non-weight bearing, or sitting, and disappearance of the arch when standing. There may or may not be symptoms. In the case of rigid flatfoot, however, the arch is stiff and flat when both sitting and standing. In most cases, children with rigid flatfoot display symptoms associated with the condition. In either case, flexible or rigid flatfoot, there are a variety of underlying reasons, requiring different treatments.
Babies often appear to have flat feet due to cramped positioning inside the womb, and the symptoms will abate with time. In other cases, the surgeon recommends stretching exercises or a soft brace for a short period. Children who do not exhibit symptoms typically do not require treatment, but will be monitored and reevaluated periodically by the foot and ankle surgeon.
For children who do exhibit symptoms, the physician may recommend physical therapy, shoe modifications, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation, or an orthotic device. This device fits inside the shoe and supports the structure of the foot. In some cases, surgery is the best alternative.
For more information on pediatric foot and ankle conditions or injuries, visit the ACFAS patient health education website, FootHealthFacts.org.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a professional society of over 6,800 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, the College’s mission is to promote research and provide continuing education for the foot and ankle surgical specialty, and to educate the general public on foot health and conditions of the foot and ankle through its consumer website, FootHealthFacts.org.
Welcome to Oak Hill Senior Living!
Oak Hill Senior Living offers 121 beautiful retirement apartments in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our apartments include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. Many include a charming kitchenette and spacious bath.
Enjoy three excellent meals each day in our beautiful dining room. At Oak Hill, you can enjoy a full activity calendar with both inside and outside events to engage your mind, body and spirit. Weekly housekeeping and scheduled transportation is also part of your reasonable monthly fee.
Throw away your vacuum cleaner! Get rid of your toilet brush! Donate the lawnmower! Because at Oak Hill Senior Living Community, we take care of the chores so you don’t have to.
Oak Hill is more than a place to live – it’s a place to call home and it is a community for you to enjoy. If you have not been in for a tour, call us today for a complementary lunch and personal tour of this wonderful opportunity.
Life in Our Community
Living at Oak Hill is an ideal lifestyle. Three meals are available to you each and every day; we do the cooking and the dishes. Or if you opt, your beautiful kitchenette gives you opportunity to enjoy a meal in your apartment.
You have worked hard for a long, long time. Put your feet up and let Oak Hill’s housekeepers do the vacuuming, the dusting, mop the bathrooms, and clean out the shower each and every week. They even change the flat linen.
Here you’ll find personal touches and activities unique to our vibrant community. Oak Hill’s activity program allows the flexibility to be as relaxed or active as you like. Here you have the option of taking up new hobbies as well as continuing with old favorites.
We’ve taken extra effort to ensure each detail at Oak Hill is above par when it comes to your enjoyment and convenience.Frequent trips around town will enable you to continue your active lifestyle while still enjoying extras such as weekly housekeeping, linen service, and landscaping. Escape to Oak Hill Senior Living and join us for the good life.
Your monthly rental rate includes the following programs and services:
- Three delicious meals each day along with a 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. beverage bar
- Weekly housekeeping
- Paid utilities (except cable and personal telephone)
- 24-hour security
- Maintenance and grounds-keeping service
- Scheduled transportation to doctor’s appointments, shopping, outings, tours, and more
- Planned group activities and special events