Summary: With the new year, many people welcome change, or perhaps realize that change is necessary to stay healthy and happy. January marks many “awareness” events for things like Glaucoma, Cancer even mental health. The welcome mat for change has been put out, and as Regina points out, there are a lot of places to turn to for support, information and inspiration, including her own words here to start you off this year in the right direction – towards healthy change, and a new you!
Author: Regina Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory
Regina is a contributor for Assisted Living Directory
Happy New Year and welcome to 2014! The last year has been a wild ride, with many things happening in the world there were several natural disasters, like the typhoon that hit the Philippines and the deadly earthquake that hit China; deadly incidents and bombings here in the US DC Naval Yard, the Boston Marathon, another terrible school event in Colorado; and we bid farewell to beloved leaders Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela.
It’s the start of the new year and many of us look back on the things we did, things we wished we had done, and things we wished we hadnt.
And as many of us begin or continue those new year’s resolutions that we made, one of those for many is leading a healthier lifestyle; this is especially true the older you get and the less active you may became because of it. January kicks off with several different events, all promoting and bringing awareness to keeping you fit and healthy.
As we age, the body of course begins to change, but for some it starts to change in a negative way. There is a vast difference between how your body behaved when it was fifteen vs when it was twenty-five, thirty-five, and all the way up to seventy-five. There are a wide variety of different ailments that can affect a person once theyve reached a certain age obesity is one, a growing epidemic within the US and growing amongst other countries. The extra weight isnt the main issue, but the complications that occur with the maladies that come with it; obesity can cause type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and breast and colon cancer.
And speaking of cancer, January is the national awareness month for cervical cancer, the third most common cancer for women. Thanks to the use of Pap smears during examines has made it less common, however it does not mean that woman over the age of fifty need to avoid them, especially if they are sexually active. For the start of the new year, make sure you have a yearly exam with your OB/GYN scheduled on the books. And while youre scheduling that OB/GYN, make sure youre also scheduling an eye appointment as well.
Glaucoma Awareness is also in January, bringing information about this disease of the eye.Glaucoma is a disease that is caused when there is buildup behind the eye, which can cause damage in the optic nerve; the problem with glaucoma is most people dont experience any pain and there are no early symptoms that can warn someone if they have it. This is why getting an eye exam, especially when older, is extremely important. Glaucoma is usually an inherited disease, meaning that if your family has a history of glaucoma, it’s essential that you have your yearly eye exam in order to test for the disease. Most assisted living facilities will offer transporation to an exam or appointment if needed.
While a new year means taking care of your body, it also means taking care of your mind, which is especially true for those entering into their golden years. January is Mental Health Awareness month, bringing awareness to the different types of psychological issues that affect billions of people all over of the world. For seniors, many of these mental illnesses are caused by age – like dementia and Alzheimer’s and can be devastating when it comes to retaining moments and life events that have occurred. These arent the only mental issues that can plague the elderly depression is a common occurrence for many, especially in the wake of the death of a spouse or with the moving of family members from the immediate area.
It’s not unheard of for people to experience a period of a blue state, where they just feel down about life and themselves in general, but depression is the condition where these feelings last longer than two weeks and interfere with normal activities that had once been enjoyed. Again, seniors can be prone to feelings of depression, especially during times of change the loss of a spouse, children/grandchildren moving away, being placed in a retirement or assisted living facility, or learning about a deteriorating disease can all be motivators to induce depression. At any point in time, 3 to 5 people will experience depression, and many of these dont go to seek treatment, often withdrawing further and further away from loved ones; in the more extreme cases, these feelings just continue to build until a person thinks the only way to rid themselves of these feelings is to rid themselves from the world.
To maintain your mental health, it’s as simple as enjoying life.
For seniors, having social groups or get-togethers often help to alleviate the feelings of isolation and loneness, while having hobbies or other fun activities can help to keep their mind sharp. If you read my last article regarding video games, youll know that games can provide both the togetherness and fun activities; many assisted living facilities now incorporate a variety of different board games, video games, and other activities to keep seniors engaged with others, mentally fit, and bodily fit.The good thing about a new year is that there are twelve months in which to get everything together before the next year. It’s important not to put off any exams or to not discuss any health related issue with your doctor; sometimes a simple stomachache isnt a simple stomachache but something more ominous.
So from the desk of Gina, Happy New Year everyone and here’s to hoping it’s the best one yet!
Copyright © by Regina Woodard
– Article by Regina Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory
Got a few changes in mind for myself for the coming year! Hopefully in 12 months I will have seen a few of them through. Thanks G!
22 January 2014 at 11.45 am