By Walter Sorochan Emeritus Professor: San Diego State University
Posted June 02, 2016; Disclaimer
This article focuses on health problems of seniors and summarizes how you, as a senior, can stay healthy, safe and live longer. This article has suggestions to help seniors do a better job of managing their life.
Well-being or health means different things to different people. Medical doctors often interpret health differently from their patients. In the process of doing so, interpretations get complicated when we try to explain the health of seniors. What is good health and how can seniors maintain good health?
With seniors, quality of well-being is perceived as being relevant to their age and functionality. Their health has been gradually declining since early adulthood at different rates; although many medical doctors do not perceive such decline to be a health indicator.
As we age, our body and life change. If you do not get sick, then you do not need a doctor or visit a hospital nor need to doctor yourself! We all can grow old gracefully, stay healthy and live safely. The suggestions that follow should be part of your bag of tricks to stay well.
Learn to self-doctor yourself: Your grandma did it without expensive, fancy drugs and so can you. Medical doctors are good to have as a back-up. But you can use your 'common sense' to prevent getting sick. This is self-doctoring.
There are many ways to self-doctor:
Taking pain killers is not listening to your body. Pain killer medication kills the sensory messages your body is sending you!
You should not need to run to the doctor or emergency room to treat every ailment.
The key to doctoring yourself is learning how to prevent getting sick and avoid accidents. Much of self-doctoring is using your common sense! Helping yourself to stay healthy can lower the cost of your health care insurance coverage and save you money.
Avoid accidents: Most accidents can be prevented by better planning and awareness. For example, many seniors have a fragile or delicate sense of balance. That is, they are not as quick or agile as they once were and can quickly lose their balance and fall. Maintaining your balance is vital to avoid falling and getting hurt. How? Here are a few simple suggestions that do work:
Stay safe: You need to stay safe by:
These simple measures minimize the risk of getting sick and can prevent you catching a cold or the flu' and may be better prevention than a vaccine.
Food is your best medicine: It was the father of Greek medicine, Hippocrates who said that:" Food is your best medicine!" We need to eat a variety of foods rich in vegetables, seeds, grains, nuts and white meat that contain protein, fat, complex carbohydrates and fiber that contain nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids [proteins] that are essential for the body to function properly.
Indeed, some nutrients appear to be more important than other nutrients. For example, magnesium and vitamin D both act like on/off switches to regulate over 500 body functions.
Whole plant foods have the nutrients in proper ratio balance that, when ingested regularly, can provide a better and safer healing process than medications and drugs. For example, Vitamin D from sunlight or vitamin D-3 in adequate supplement amounts, can bolster the immune system to act as a super vaccine. Another advantage of whole plant food as your best medicine is that foods usually have the essential co-factors or helpers that can work together as a healing process and help maintain body functions.
Ingesting vitamin-mineral-protein supplements that are of plant origin: It is difficult to eat a good diet today as foods are grown on soils that are deficient in minerals [burned out soils]. Such deficient soils do not grow quality plant food. You may need to add vitamin-mineral nutrient supplements to your diet to compensate for plant food deficiencies. Unfortunately, most nutritional supplements are synthetic and are not recognized by the body as nutrients. Instead, they are recognized as toxins; synthetic supplements are not absorbed by the body. Instead, you need to ingest plant based supplements in order to provide adequate amounts of essential nutrients like magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, organic sulfur, boron, iodine, vitamin B-complex, vitamins A, E, K, 12 and amino acids [proteins].
Claims have been made for two seaweed supplements, spirulina and chlorella, that both are rich in a balance of nutrients that bolster immunity and may provide a good vitamin-mineral balance. Both are available in tablet form, are safe to use and could compete with commercial nutrient supplements.
Eating: Eat fresh whole plant foods, seed plants, beans, fresh fruits and nuts. Avoid sweets, processed foods and red meat. Avoid eating in restaurants and convenience foods, for you really do not know what is inside the food that is prepared. Cook your own food instead of ordering 'take out' food. You have more control of what you eat by preparing it yourself. Making your own food gives you the satisfaction of controlling your own destiny.
ALERT: There is a food-eating vacuum in our culture. Several essential nutrients, namely organic sulfur, boron, and iodine, are recognized as essential to life but are being ignored by nutrition and health experts. Possible deficiencies of these nutrients may be contributing to health problems.
If you have difficulty preparing your own food, you can call "Meals on Wheels" to have them deliver meals to your home.
Water: Water is essential for life and is more important than food. Drink lots of pure water to flush out the toxins and keep your kidneys healthy. Here is a guide:
The amount of water a person needs to drink depends on the size of the person and surrounding environment.
Chlorination & Fluoridation: [And environmental toxins] Many public water systems chlorinate their drinking water supply to kill germs and provide safe drinking water. In doing so, there is enough chlorine residual in water pipes to continue killing dangerous bacteria. While this slight excess of chlorine may help control bacteria in water mains and pipes, it is bad for your health when it comes out as tap water in your home. Why? The chlorine neutralizes the iodine in food and other sources, making you deficient in iodine, an essential nutrient!
So what can you do about the chlorine in tap drinking water? The chlorine in water is very unstable. There are three things you can do to get rid of chlorine in drinking water at your home:
Another bad chemical used in some drinking water is fluoride. It is a stronger poison that chlorine and also neutralizes the essential iodine. The best way to avoid fluoridated water is to not fluoridate water in the first place. The human body needs iodine and does not need fluoride or chlorine.
Body weight and obesity: Over-weight and obesity [body mass index [BMI] of 30 or greater] are bad for your health. Obesity can trigger diabetes, heart disorders and other health problems. Regardless of the reasons for your excessive weight, you need to make changes in your eating habits, your life-style and lose body weight immediately. Consult your health care insurance provider and medical doctor for help!
Avoid body sins: Stop smoking and drinking booze. Smoking is a killer habit that smokers need to give up in order to avoid major health problems in later life. Likewise, drinking alcoholic beverages can cause additional health problems as well.
Skin: Many dermatologists think that the skin reflects on the outside what is going on inside the body. Although you need to protect it from over-exposure to the sun, your body and skin needs about half an hour of sunlight exposure each day. The skin is the largest organ in the body and it needs nourishment just like all other parts of the body.
Your skin gets more sensitive with age. With age and poor nutrition, our skin function slows down, gives off symptoms such as itchiness, redness, acne, eczema and other disorders. Check to make sure you eat foods that contain the nutrients that help make collagen, the glue that binds skin, joints and tissue together. These skin nutrients include organic sulfur, vitamin C, helpers ceramides that retain water in the skin and hyaluronic acid that acts as a filler and gives skin firmness; as well as helpers minerals and vitamins, amino acids, arachidonic acid [fat], linoleic acid (LA), and essential fatty acids (EFA).
Skin lotions and cream may help somewhat but do not restore youthful skin or remove wrinkles. Aging gracefully requires that you accept skin changes as part of the process of life.
Digestive Disorders: Many seniors, as well as young persons, suffer from digestive disorders, do not know they suffer from such disorders and doctors usually fail to recognize these as real problems. An emerging digestive disorder is leaky gut. Leaky gut symptoms can vary widely from reflux or heartburn to bloating, gas, constipation, stomach pain and diarrhea. Leaky gut is an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species of bacteria in your large intestine and many persons may be suffering from leaky gut and not know it. There is a lot of confusion and controversy about leaky gut as it is a fairly new branch of medicine and most persons are too embarrassed to talk about it. Digestive disorders need medical attention if these do not resolve in a short time:
Many persons with reflux can fix this problem by:
This is a form of self-doctoring.
Your body likes to have a regular bowl movement about once a day. You should feel the urge to go [defecate] about half an hour after breakfast. If you do so regularly, this urge can become a routine habit at approximately each time of the day. Do not insult your cleansing body time-clock by postponing this biological urge!
Urination: You need to urinate when you get the urge to do so. If you postpone and wait too long and hold back from urinating, you can, over time, over stretch the muscles in the bladder. This can cause the bladder pressure to weaken and cause the bladder not to empty properly. Urine retained in the bladder in this manner can allow bacteria to infect the bladder. Other complications can also happen. To avoid such complications, respect your body urge to urinate! The more water you drink, the more frequently you will urinate!
Eyesight: Humans have five basic senses: the eyes to see, the tongue to taste, the nose to smell, the ears to hear, and the skin to touch. By far the most important organs of sense are our eyes. We perceive up to 80 per cent of all impressions by means of our sight . And if other senses such as taste or smell stop working, it's the eyes that best protect us from danger. Although there are numerous eye-vision problems and this information can be readily found, this topic focuses on what seniors can do to improve their existing vision ... to be able to see better:
What can you do to have better vision? Normal visual acuity [the clarity or sharpness of vision] is measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Macular degeneration [vision loss] occurs when tissue in the macula — the part of your retina that's responsible for central vision — deteriorates. This causes a blind spot to form in your central vision, impairing your vision. Other vision issues being normal and you have good vision, there are a few things you can do to be able to function better.
Hearing: Seniors lose some or much of their hearing. Hearing is second in importance to eyesight in helping us function. Earwax often interferes with our ability to hear, but the more important reason is the loss of tiny hairs in the inner ear. Such loss causes others to shout so seniors can hear. Seniors often have difficulty understanding what others are saying as many endings of words seem to fall off and this causes confusion in being able to hear clearly. There are things seniors can do to rectify hearing problems:
Arthritis: What to do for painful and stiff joints:
Dry mouth: Dry mouth may be related to dehydration .... drink more water. Some medications, as a side effect, can cause dry mouth. Helpful preventive information on this problem is lacking at this time.
Exercise: You need a minimum of one hour of exercise every second day. Do so with your friends for fun and motivation. Here are your options:
Dental hygiene: Avoid bad breath as it is very annoying to those around you by:
Get a minimum of half an hour of sunshine each day: Most persons today work and live indoors. They do not get a minimum of half an hour of exposure to sunshine per day. Hence they probably are deficient in vitamin D.
Sleep: Do the following to sleep well:
Socialize with your friends and family: Go dancing, go to seminars, parties and other social events. Socializing keeps you young!
Keep your brain active: Think of your brain as a muscle. Either use it or lose it. Below is an incomplete list of how to activate your brain to stay young in many ways:
Using your brain is more than just watching TV, or going shopping, gossiping with others, reading a book or newspaper. Playing repetitive checkers, card games and doing cross-word puzzles are not very challenging for the human brain. You need to challenge the brain to create into new as yet unknown dimensions where it has not been before and force it to work! Do it often during the week!
Reminders to remember: Do not fret that you forgot to do something. We all forget things and it is normal to forget! As a reminder, make a list; write down on paper things you need to do each day:
Then, as you do these reminder things, cross them off your list. Making a reminder list helps your brain feel relaxed and free to solve problems. Your brain likes order and routines.
Do something free and meaningful to or for someone else each day: Give someone a free gift of affection, a hug or help and expect nothing in return. Do something purposeful. It makes you feel good because you have now become a bigger part than just being yourself; it gives you a bigger purpose in life and bolsters your desire to live. Do something to help others be better.
Attitude: Today is the best day of your life: Yesterday and the days before were also super days, but these are memories now. But today is the day you are functioning and can accomplish real things. This makes today the only live day of your life .... one day at a time! Tomorrow is in the future and is your hope for another super day. But today is when you can actually do, solve problems, give the day meaning and purpose, accomplish things and make it happen. Today is when you can become a better person by making changes to be healthier. You can make today the best day of your life! Make today count!
The above list is this author's gift to you. The list may not be a complete list but it is a good beginning as a reminder of what you can do to lead a fit, fun, and social lifestyle and stay young, safe and well. Become pro-active now!
For more health information: Go to main menu
Feedback to author: gmail