TREATMENT OF SYMPTOMS vs HEALTHY SENIOR LIVINGJul 24th, 2013 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness
Seniors Identify Symptoms
Physical illness and disease increase with many seniors as we age. Lifelong issues become more troublesome and new dis-ease crops up with annoying regularity. AARP recently published an article about symptoms we should not ignore: pain, shortness of breath, confusion, unexplained weight loss, fever and swelling in legs. The article is a good one to review because it describes all the minor and major possibilities of each symptom.
Part of the concern here, however, is that we are too focused on symptoms and managing them. Some seniors can get so focused on their symptoms that psychological distress results. The symptoms become such a major obsession in their lives that they are unable to focus on anything else. Professional treatment is likely required for people with these issues.
But putting obsessions aside, many of us seniors try to address symptom management rather than looking at the cause of dis-ease. Take obesity for example. Visceral fat can be life threatening, and news reports today tell us that obesity is a major problem in all age groups now in the United States. Trying to manage too much fat is a focus for many people of all ages.
Diets and exercise are generally recommended for people who are over weight. People who have never exercised find it difficult to begin to do so in their senior years. And over 90 percent of diets fail after they have been completed; a majority of people who lose weight on a fad diet regain that weight, and then some, within a few months. Obviously, the problem is that if you only address the symptom (too much fat), the results will be disappointing.
Address the Causes of Disease
So if the overweight-ness is the symptom, what is the problem? I suggest that the problem is lifestyle. People who are overweight tend to have a sedentary lifestyle that includes little to no exercise and high-calorie eating; genetic factors may also contribute to obesity.
A commitment needs to be made to changing one’s lifestyle if carrying around too much weight is an issue. Lifestyle changes include
- exercise appropriate to age and ability
- daily menu of healthy foods with high nutritional value
- include the entire household in the lifestyle change
Exercise studios are available to most seniors today; if, however, you are one of the unlucky ones who have no such service in your community, check with your primary care physician to be sure it is okay for you to start walking, and then do it. Start with a block at a time; increase as you are able. And increase your walking rate as you can. Walk with your spouse/partner/others in your family/friendship group. Get yourself moving!
Changing your diet is an absolute MUST to live longer and with better health. This does not mean ‘going on a diet’. This means changing what you eat and likely, when you eat. It needs to include a plan for cleansing to get rid of the toxic buildup that has occurred in your body over the years. And it needs to be eating low-calorie/high-nutrition food that is tasty.
Lifestyle change for health is an absolute necessity if you want to be around to enjoy your grandchildren and their children.