Do Seniors need a Nutrition Plan

A Good Nutrition Plan must be Fun

A Good Nutrition Plan must be Fun

As we age our body and mind undergo drastic changes that affect our health and overall well-being.

Our eyesight deteriorates, so is our hearing. Our legs get wobbly, and our hands, shaky.

We forget things, don’t sleep too well, lose some strength, and appetite. And yes, our libido takes a nose dive (sigh!).

On the more serious side medical issues like diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, hypertension, heart and mental diseases, among others, get into the fray.

As if these are not bad enough, a lot of seniors are living on shoestring budget that could barely afford their basic needs, not to mention their necessary meds.

That is the life of a senior.

It is not a walk in the park; it is not a bed of roses. It is difficult and only us, seniors, know, understand, and feel how it is to be old and frail, and forgetful, lonely and sickly.

Not science or those researchers in universities trying to make names for themselves by coming up with volumes of studies saying that by doing this or that, by taking this or that, you can avoid getting wrinkles, improve your brain power, live longer, or regain your sexual drive, and many more.

Nothing is farther from the truth – especially where food and nutrition are concerned.

For example (here’s a part of an article I got online):

 

“As we age, eating well can improve our mental acuteness, energy levels, and resistance to illness. A healthy diet can also be the key to positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced…”

 

I find this a lot of crap.

Eating healthy is a must, regardless of age. But if you were a straight C in your younger days, eating healthy can’t make you a B later in life. The best it can do is not to slide you down to D.

Another is about positive outlook. It is either genetic or a deliberate choice. Eating all the dark chocolate, or grapes, or ice cream cannot do that. Well, they may give you a positive outlook – while their taste lingers in your mouth, not any longer.

 

A Nutrition Plan can’t make You Better:

When people get old and become seniors, they are either healthy, unhealthy, or sickly.

Confused? Let me put it this way. I have osteoarthritis and currently taking anti-hypertension pills. That makes me unhealthy, sort of. But am I sick? Unless I come down with the measles or have a stroke, or suffer from a debilitating disease I am not sick or sickly

Regardless of your overall state of health and wellness, science says that you must have proper nutrition to have good health and enjoy life. That’s no brainer.

It says that you must have enough fibers, omega3, vitamins and minerals in your diet. That you must eat lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables, eat wheat bread, instead of white, unpolished, not polished rice, and many more. And you must keep away from processed foods as much as possible.

No argument there.

But aren’t you getting all these already from your existing diet?

Don’t you have fish, or meat or vegetables, or fibers when you eat your breakfast, lunch or dinner? Don’t you occasionally snack on nuts, or grapes, or banana?

Do you have to introduce into your system all these signature (and expensive) nutrition plans?

If you have reached this far eating your regular foods, why change them now at a time when you can’t go to the grocery as often as you used to, your finances are scarcer, and preparing a new dish is a challenge, not pleasure?

Your current state of health and wellness did not suddenly appear when you reached 60. You are what you are today because of the things you did and did not do several years back. Other than genetics, they are caused by the choices you made and your lifestyle as a young stud.

As the saying goes, “What goes around goes around.”

Therefore no amount of nutrition, no matter how simple or fancy, can undo the damage you wrought upon your body from the things you did, and ate years back.

No nutrition plan can make you better. It can only provide a status quo, or prevent further deterioration.

 

Why Fix it if It ain’t Broke:

I’ve been smoking for a long, long time. I know it’s bad. My daughter kept telling me it’s bad and I had to stop. But I didn’t. Finally she said, “I think it’s better for you to go on because you might get sick if you stop at this point in your life.”

Coming from a doctor, that’s kind of crazy. But in a deeper context, it is not. My body is already used to it. It has acclimatized itself to the nicotine and the more than a dozen harmful chemicals that come with each puff.

The same thing is true with your diet. If you have reached this far eating the usual foods you have been eating all your life, why change them now?

Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

If you feel nourished, if you feel good, if you can still function normally to your age, why do something that you need to adjust to all over again?

If you are happy with what you are regularly eating, why eat something else?

I grew up in an average income family. But our neighborhood was not exactly the suburbs. Most of the guys I grew up with were not as similarly situated as I was. But we ate the same kinds of food our moms put on the table.

Statistically, deaths among my boyhood friends are not any worse than the national figures. Most of them are still around – as old as I am.

Am I just lucky, or was my nutrition plan, which is really no plan at all, good enough for me?

What about you?

Health Secrets

~oOo~

Are You Mentally Healthy

mental

“Of course, I am,” would definitely be your answer if asked that question (if you don’t give him a whack in the kisser).

But are you, medically speaking, mentally healthy?

Now you are thinking, now you are not sure. Now you are in doubt, makes you ask yourself if you are really mentally healthy.

 

What is a mentally healthy person?

We are all unique individuals. Nobody was born exactly like you and I. We have our unique characteristics, likes, and dislikes, desires in life, hopes and aspirations, goals and purpose, etc.

What is food for one could be a poison to another. Some people dress for comfort even if they look like an idiot, while others are always prim and proper even if weeding their garden.

An inmate in an asylum fully believes that the world outside is crazy.

For that reason, a mentally healthy person could be anything depending on his uniqueness. If he suddenly becomes or does something else outside of his uniqueness, then something is amiss.

To put in a better perspective, (and provide a basis for lively discussion), here is a good, but short, definition adopted from reference.com:

A mentally healthy person is one who can maintain relationships, have a sense of contentment, can learn and adapt. He is able to work, play and rest.
He has a high sense of self-confidence and has a purpose in life.

A mentally healthy person can interact with other people in a way that is respectful and understanding…

How do you measure up?

 

I am not mentally healthy and so are you:
Yesterday my daughter asked me to see a guy in a hospital she is an active medical staff in. It was raining cats and dogs. It was really pouring. Even with my tiny umbrella, I was almost drenched to the bones.

But when I got to his office, I was told that he was still on lunch break – more 30 minutes after he was supposed to be back.

It pissed me off so much. After all the inconvenience I went through, he was still on lunch break. It made me snap at the other people in his office.

Why am I telling this short episode? Because in any given day, our mental health is occasionally given a beating; because we could never live on an even keel every day of our elderly lives. Something always comes up that challenge our mental health.

Occasionally we snap at other people if things don’t go our way, we hurt our loved ones, we get discontented, feel lazy, or so stressed out to rest.

We lose our self-confidence and start to drift, like a rudderless boat. We mope and get discouraged or disillusioned.

Are we mentally sick? Not by any measure. We are only being ourselves; we are just being normal to our uniqueness.

Unless we become something or someone else we are not.

 

I am not mentally sick either, and so are you:
An object is not black because it is not white, or small if it is not large. Just because you and I sometimes get thrown off, mentally, it does not mean we are mentally sick – unless you are a part of WHO’s mental health statistic.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder.

Yikes! Are you one of them?

Are you one of the 5 million adults, 65 and older, who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? Or the 5% suffering from depression; the 8% with anxiety disorders, like hoarding syndrome, obsessive-compulsive behavior, post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), or severe phobias?

Not sure? I can’t blame you. I don’t know it myself. For most of us, we are just having the blues if we hit a bump or two in any given day. Part of being old, others would quip.

 

When to see your doctor:
The above are the clinical terms generically referred to as mental disorders. We may never know if we have them unless we see a mental health professional.

The question is “when?” If you are feeling any or some of these, don’t waste time:

1. Feelings of sadness (without reason) lasting more than two weeks;
2. Withdrawal from your usual crowd, or lose interest in things you used to enjoy;
3. Feeling tired without a reason, loss of energy, or changes in sleeping habits.
4. Changes in weight, increase or decrease in appetite;
5. Forgetfulness, especially recent events and happenings;
6. Disorientation, problems in concentration and confusion;
7. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, and thoughts of suicide;
8. Not minding personal hygiene, in or around the home;
9. Suffer from non-pathogenic physical problems likes aches and pains, constipation, etc.
10. Having problems with numbers, specifically financial matters.

Mental disorders can be treated but only if diagnosed timely, which is not often the case. Seniors, according to health professionals and doctors, are not willing to bring them into the open for two reasons: first: they take these symptoms purely as aging-related, and, second: they are ashamed of the stigma of being called mentally unbalanced.

Shortly after my wife died, I checked into the emergency room on three different occasions for difficulty in breathing and heart palpitations. I drove on the first two but took a taxi on the third for fear that I may not reach the hospital.

In all three, my vitals were found good. They were false alarms. But I was still glad I heeded them.

So should you.

Health Secrets

~oOo~

Warning: Not recommended for Seniors with Weak Hearts

Laughter is the best medicine.

If you dispute that, then you, as an infant, must have sucked lemon juice from your mom’s tits, or suffer from congenital constipation.

From a purely medical standpoint, laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to diseases.

It triggers the release of endorphins which promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Endorphins are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.

Caution: Too much of everything, however, is not good – even laughter.

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