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motivation | 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.

Fullfilling Your Dreams, As a Senior Citizen by Eva Fry

August 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on Fullfilling Your Dreams, As a Senior Citizen by Eva Fry
Filed under: Articles 

Senior-Citizen-Health-Care

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

A Senior Citizen In Juvenile Hall by Eva Fry

August 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

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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 – eva@evafry.com http://www.evafry.com ( She has many free articles on her web site)

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

Senior Citizen Abuse by Jessie Penn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Critical Importance of Recreation For Senior Citizens by Robert McCluskey

April 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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As our population ages, there is increasing emphasis on teaching and learning  lifelong recreational skills. Research has shown that recreation is an important  part of an individual’s social behavior. Recreation plays a critical role in the  lives of older adults by contributing to an improved quality of life. People who  participate in recreational activities as senior citizens report significantly  more life satisfaction than those who do not.

Physical recreation is especially important. Engaging in physical activity  reduces almost every risk of disease, including heart disease, high blood  pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. Participation in recreational activities  improves mental health, as well. Again, research shows that older individuals  who participate in recreational activities have better coping behaviors in  response to stressful life events and daily frustrations. They learn that social  support is important, and available, through these activities.

Unfortunately, we have come to view our older years as a time of diminishing  activity and social interaction. As a result of these expectations, aging folks  often assume they are incapable of recreational activity or that it will not be  available to them. They often cite scarce financial resources, lack of  transportation or declining health as reasons for avoiding these important  activities. Although there is some validity to these concerns, we often overlook  the increasing resources that are being dedicated to wellness among senior  citizens. Some of these resources are:

  • Travel programs. Fees are usually required, but deep discounts for seniors  are often available.
  • Volunteering. Seniors bring valuable experience, wisdom and compassion to  others
  • Elderhostel. A world-wide travel program bringing affordable adventure and  learning to seniors
  • Theme parks. Senior days! Special entry fees!
  • Entertainment and arts. Museum and theatre tours often provide discounts and  transportation to seniors
  • Local parks and recreation programs. Great outdoor activities
  • Community Gardening. Check with your local parks and recreation office
  • Senior citizen centers. Free or reduced price meals and more!
  • Book clubs. Reading and socialization are a potent therapeutic combination  for the brain

 

It is important for senior citizens and those who care for them to seek out  recreational activities even at this time when they may be reluctant to do so.  Research indicates that seniors who participate in these kinds of activities  tend to remain active once they begin.

Western cultures sometimes view their aging populations as economic and  social liabilities. In fact, when they are nurtured, they become assets.  Recreational activities can provide help and motivation that seniors require to  enable them to contribute their valuable time and wisdom in return for that  nurturance.

Robert A. McCluskey Bob McCluskey is a semi retired teacher and school  administrator. He has recently been teaching college-level psychology classes  and has developed a course in the psychology of aging. Bob teaches courses  specifically designed for senior citizens and is especially interested in the  mental health of aging, With an emphasis on the preservation and enhancement of  memory.

If you would like to learn more about this topic visit our web site: Senior Technology News! Going Strong Seniors is your premier source for Internet  resources!

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

 

Healthy Eating, Exercise and Lifestyle Guide For Senior Citizens By David Crumrine

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

 

Healthy Eating and Lifestyle

While it is important for people of all ages to stay healthy, it is especially important for senior citizens to maintain healthy eating habits as well as to stay active which is important in the prevention of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. By practicing healthier living practices, senior citizens can maintain a healthy weight, avoid depression, and stay mentally sharp. Those participating in caring for the elderly should be aware of these healthy living practices and work to both encourage and facilitate them.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a healthy diet includes many different types of food that are rich in nutrients. They have outlined specifically what this eating plan entails at the website.. Because this eating plan is designed specifically for senior citizens, it focuses on the types of foods that are important for preventing common ailments of older Americans like obesity and serious chronic illnesses.

Healthy Eating 101:

By following some of the tips listed, senior citizens can start a healthier lifestyle today:

  • Don’t skip meals. It is important to eat regularly in order to maintain normal metabolism and not become tempted to eat higher fat foods when food is consumed.
  • Eat a diet that is high in fiber. By eating foods like whole-grain breads, beans, vegetables, and fruits, you can lower your susceptibility to diabetes and heart disease.
  • Senior citizens especially should begin to adjust their diet to one that includes less calories and fat because the body will need less as it ages.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D are very important for nutrition and keeping bones strong. You can get this by either getting in at least three servings of dairy every day, or substituting these with soy-based beverages and proteins.
  • Senior citizens will have a harder time absorbing adequate amounts of the B12 vitamin. For this reason, it is important to eat cereals fortified with this nutrient or taking vitamin B12 supplements with meals.
  • Snack the smart way. Senior citizens will want to limit the amount of unhealthy snacking they do which involves foods high in calories and sugars. Instead, keep small portions of dried fruit, peanut butter, or crackers at hand to keep the appetite under control while remaining healthy.
  • Drink plenty of water. Although senior citizens often feel less thirsty then they used to, it is important to stay hydrated by either drinking water or water-based beverages like tea, coffee, soup, and skim milk.

Planning and Preparing Meals

 

Sometimes people find it hard to eat healthily because eating is often a social event which involves many people with different eating preferences and goals. While it is important to be able to enjoy a meal with family and friends, it is also important to maintain your own eating integrity by making sure everyone is on board with your personal healthy eating goals. Friends and family, as well as those providing elder care should facilitate healthy eating, not detour from it. The following tips address ways that senior citizens can maintain the healthy eating habits without sacrificing the social aspect of sharing a meal with others or learning to adjust to a lifestyle that involves eating with less people on a day-to-day basis.

  • Grocery shopping with others. This can be a fun and smart way to control the cost and quantity of food that you consume. If you don’t live with many people, this is a good way to split large-quantity items like potatoes and eggs which you may not be ableto use before expiration.
  • A time saving a smart way to eat healthy is cooking large quantities of food ahead of time and portioning for heating on later dates.
  • A quick way to prepare meals for yourself or for guests involves keeping frozen or canned fruits and vegetables on hand. Draining and/or rinsing canned foods is a good way to lower sodium or calories in foods that are kept in high sugar or high salt fluids.
  • Eating or preparing a meal shouldn’t always be a chore. Trying new recipes or eating outside can be a fun new twist on a meal with someone special.
  • Try to eat with people you enjoy to be around.
  • Some senior citizens have difficulty preparing meals, which is why it is important to become informed about home health care agencies or eldercare facilities that can aid in providing meals. The Eldercare Locator number is 1-800-677-1116.

Loss of Appetite or Desire to Eat

 

There are various reasons for why some senior citizens may not eat as well as they should or lose the desire to eat completely.

If you find that it is difficult to eat well, then it is best to speak with a healthcare provider or someone involved in your elder care about what can be done to help you eat better.

Some senior citizens are unable to eat well due to issues involving the condition of their teeth or issues with dentures. Checking with a dentist about physical pain that occurs when eating or other issues can help with these issues that lead to poorer eating habits.

When senior citizens lose family and friends or become depressed about events in their life, they may lose the desire to eat. In these instances, it is of the utmost importance that these individuals seek help from people they trust like their family, friends, church community, or those assisting with their elder care that will happily help them in finding ways to continue a healthy lifestyle and eating plan.

Some senior citizens complain that the flavor of foods change when they begin to take certain medications. While it is best to consult with a physician about issues surrounding medication, people can also take vitamin supplements with food that will help them stay healthy.

If you have someone who assists with your in home care, ask them to be vigilant about helping you eat healthy. Have them remind you to eat, and ask them to lend you a hand in preparing meals that are good for you.

Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for being able to function in day-to-day life as well as stay mentally sharp. Senior citizens often lose or gain weigh as they age. If you are unsure about what weight you should maintain, consult your physician.

Health Risks Associated with Being Underweight

  • poor memory
  • compromised immunity
  • osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • decreases strength
  • hypothermia (lowered body temperature)
  • constipation

Health Risks Associated with Being Overweight

  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • stroke (lack of oxygen transported to the brain)
  • some cancers
  • gallbladder disease

 

Because healthy weights will differ for everyone, it is important to verify with a physician whether it is healthy for you personally to lose or gain weight.

Staying Active

Participating in regular healthy amounts of physical activity can not only make you feel better, but it can make you less prone to diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer. Staying active can be difficult for senior citizens, still it is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

The following are some tips for maintaining a lifestyle that incorporates physical activity:

  • Know what amount of physical activity is appropriate for you. Everyone has different levels of activity that is safe for them, and while remaining active is important, always consult a health care provider about what is right for your lifestyle.
  • Take time to warm up, cool down, or take breaks when participating in a session of increased physical activity.
  • Take it slow. Always start slowly and build up to more intense levels of physical activities.
  • If you experience any pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath during exercise, stop the activity immediately.
  • Drink water.
  • Dress appropriately if you decide to exercise outdoors. Wear warmer clothes during the winter and wear lighter clothes during the summer while applying sunscreen or wearing sunglasses.
  • Wear the correct shoes for the activities that you participate in.

Types of Activity

 

Aerobic activities include activities that increase the heart rate and work the larger muscle groups. You may be able to speak a few words, but would not be able to carry on an entire conversation due to breathing patterns. Some examples of aerobics include:

  • brisk walking
  • water aerobics
  • tennis
  • house work
  • active play with children or pets
  • dancing

 

Begin incorporating small periods of this activity into your schedule during the week while slowly increasing the duration and frequency as time progresses. It is also important to incorporate different types of exercise that focus on balance and flexibility. Becoming used to a lifestyle with regular patterns of aerobic activity can reduce the effects of aging, control weight, lower risk of heart disease, improve flexibility, increase mood and energy, and expand social networks by meeting new people while doing various activities.

Strengthening activities involve the use of muscle groups against resistant forces like when lifting weights or doing yard work that involves lifting, digging, or pushing a lawn mower. This type of activity can keep muscles strong, reduce the need for a cane, reduce risk of bone injury, and help maintain a healthy weight.

Balance activities focus on muscles in specific areas of the body that encourage control as you move through space, reducing the likelihood of falls. This kind of activity could include walking heel to toe, standing on one foot, getting out of a sitting position without the use of the hands, and standing on the tip of your toes. Balance activities can help you stay steady on your feet and reduce the risk of fall and subsequent injury.

Flexibility activities increase the length of the muscles and can include stretching, yoga, and popular exercise programs like pilates. These activities can maintain the felxibility of joints, prevent stiffness, prevent injuries, and lower stress levels in general.

Weight-bearing activities require the muscles to work against gravity where the arms or legs bear the weight of the body. Activities like walking, tennis, and climbing stairs can build and maintain bone mass or reduce the risk of bone fractures.

Some activities incorporate multiple types of strengthening addressed above. What is important is that senior citizens find an enjoyable and do-able activity that will help them incorporate as many benefits as possible which will have far-reaching benefits to their health.

It’s Easy to Stay Healthy

A common misconception is that it takes an excessive amount of time and extra energy to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, by just taking short walks for ten minutes a time or cleaning the house regularly can be practical ways to incorporate different physical activities into your daily schedule. And remember, staying healthy as a senior citizen will have increasing benefits as you continue to age.

Staying Motivated to Take Care of Yourself

Just because we age doesn’t mean that we are any less stressed by occurrences in life that may make us feel bad about ourselves or decrease our motivation to be good to ourselves. If anything, many of the challenges senior citizens face add stress.  Losing loved ones and friends or having trouble being independent with the added stressed of disease and functioning due to aging can cause depression or lifestyle changes that contribute to bad health. Here are some important tips for being good to yourself when you may not feel motivated due to circumstances out of your control:

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Stay connected with family and friends
  • Join clubs or other social groups that you enjoy
  • Spend time with people that you enjoy
  • Volunteer at organizations in your community
  • Work a part-time job that isn’t too stressful or demanding
  • Watch a funny movie or find a way to laugh
  • Take up a hobby that you enjoy

 

Most importantly, senior citizens should remember that it is relatively easy and worth-while to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. Be sure to keep family, friends, and those involved in your elder care informed of your goals as they can help assist you. And remembering to eat healthy meals regularly, getting in physical activity, getting enough sleep, and being good to yourself are critical for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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

  • 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!