10 Little Things that Make an Elderly’s Day

One time time daughter-in-law asked me how much I need per month to live comfortably.

Her eyes widened in amazement when I told her a figure. Then she asked, “Are you sure? Only that much?”

I immediately felt sorry for giving such a low amount but I can’t make it any higher, either, without lying.

At any rate, when people grow a little older, their needs become a little lower.

Or they take on another form.

Elderly people need different, and probably expensive, kinds of foods to maintain a proper diet, and they may spend more on medications to take care of age-related illnesses.

But they will be spending less on clothes, they will party less, drive less, give up on unnecessary things they lavish themselves in their younger days.

They become more discriminating on what to spend on, have fewer, but better, friends to hang out with, and would rather stay home than hang out needlesly.

When people age, their focus shifts from material things to things that satisfy their inner desires of companionship, of self-worth, approval and consideration.

Unfortunately, mainstream society often gives elderly people the lowdown. They are being short-changed, abused, neglected, or just taken for granted. A few are abandoned in nursing homes to fade into oblivion, like a pair of badly worn-out shoes shoved into the closet for having lost its usefulness.

Like a separated old woman whose story was told to me by a friend…

A separated woman, already in her 60s, labored all her life to send her three children to school, through college. Then they graduated, and found work.

At first, they lived with their Mom, supporting her. Then they left home, but still sent her money for her needs. As time went by, the support dwindled until it came to a full stop, forcing the old woman to accept laundry to survive.

Stories like this may be rare but they happen. My kids, however, are felicitous with my needs, thanks goodness.

Oh yes, society and government have provided courtesy lanes, parking slots, discounts for food, groceries, and medicines to make the life of an elderly easier. Cash gifts are given during the year, and some movie houses offer free movies to seniors on certain days of the week.

These are good and we welcome them. After all we worked for them, didn’t we? But I call them fringe benefits for being old. They are not what old people need.

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How I Kept from Imploding

Health Secrets

salty breeze

Salty breeze heals

Last Sunday I was on the brink of imploding.

It can happen to you so stay with me as I unravel how and why I got into such near-death situation and how I got out of it.

There was a time when Sundays were special days. I, my wife and two children always had a special lunch together. In the afternoon we went out to do the groceries, or watch a movie. If my budget allowed, we went to the beach and had lunch there.

I am sure you know how it is with families who are close to each other, right?

Things changed when my wife died and my children were occupied with their studies. Having lunch with them was rare, going out for groceries was impossible, so was going to the movies or the beach for lunch.

As if things were not bad enough, they got married one after the after and moved out of our home. That left me a lonesome and alone widower.

It also made my Sundays blue, not red. I remember, a Sunday afternoon two years ago, I was alone at home watching TV but miserable. As if on cue, my daughter called asking how I was getting along.

Her voice startled me, yet made me so happy I cried. Between sobs, I told her I was feeling very lonely. Her call helped and, besides, she took me to dinner.

But I that cannot happen every Sunday, can it? And for some reason, some Sundays are bluer than most – like last Sunday.

Last Sunday started like any other Sunday. I had my regular breakfast, then started doing my regular Sunday chores. It was then I suddenly felt that something was amiss.

I don’t know what but I felt an emptiness in me. My brain seized and my chest started pounding like an oncoming locomotive. I tried lying down hoping a little rest can ease my anxiety. It didn’t.

I wanted to talk to someone. But who? I was alone at home and I didn’t want to drop in on any of my children. Besides, it was early in the morning and, I was sure, both were still asleep

“Oh, oh, this is bad. I got to do something quickly,” I told myself. But what?


What is imploding?

Imploding is the process of collapsing or causing to collapse violently inward – like that of a star that has reached the end of its useful life. When it collapses, it causes a supernova, which is thought to cause the creation of black holes.

You, me, or anybody else can implode when day-to-day pressures become so great squeezing us in and there are no means of escape.

No, you don’t become a black hole if it happens to you but the consequences are no less serious. It starts as harmless feelings of anxiety, to stress, depression, dementia or Alzheimer’s. From there, death is almost certain, if suicide doesn’t get you first.

The irony is that you can avoid from imploding if you recognize its symptoms. Unfortunately not many do. They just take them as part of aging. That’s why stress is one of the major health risks among seniors.

I am no great fan of self-diagnosis, but if you feel something similar to what I felt the other Sunday, do something before it’s too late. This is what I did.


How I kept from imploding:

sea therapy

Getting a sea therapy

After what seemed an eternity of weighing my options, I decided to do the thing I love doing – stress or no stress.

I drove to a seaside resort where I had my first dive. The 30-min drive was worth it.

The sea always strikes an emotional chord in me. My earliest memories were of chasing, with my elder sister, fiddler crabs directly beneath the window of our rented home which was partly on dry land and partly on the sea.

The cool, clean salty breeze cured me my juvenile asthma.

It is no accident then, that when I feel the world closing in on me, I head out to the beach before I implode.

The seaside resort I went to was my favorite. It is a scuba-diving resort, crawling with diving enthusiasts, both foreign and local, beginners and pros. And I know many diving instructors who can belt out stories as varied and enjoyable as a fishing buff.

It has a very nice restaurant with foreign and local menus and the staff knows me, and I, them. It makes me feel so much at home

But the reason why I love going there is that it is the only remaining resort nearby where snorkeling is at its best.

Unknown to most, except the enthusiasts, what makes a great diving resort is not the amenities on the surface but the presence and variety of life beneath. And in this aspect, the owners of the place did a great job.

Observing, sometimes chasing, various tropical fishes of all colors and sizes nibbling at the fauna on the sea floor is very therapeutic. They make me forget my woes and cares; makes me lose track of time and self. And it is a darn good exercise.

I stopped when my legs could no longer move my flippers. After almost an hour of snorkeling, I was tired but free of the forces that, a few minutes ago, almost crushed me in.


Going home stress-free:

After more than two hours, and a hearty lunch, I started heading home. I was tired but was free of the little devils that were pulling me down.

I was free of the stress that was choking me. In its place were vivid images of the wonderful life outside and around me.

Oh, I had several pictures, too, that would be mementos of how I changed what could be an awful Sunday into something that kept me away from a self-destructive path.

We are all unique and you may have your own way of dealing with stress that could make you implode. Whatever it is, it is only as good as how fast you can react when you sense these stressors creeping up on you.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.


3 Reasons Why Old People are Happy


Never been as happy!

Can old people be happy?

Yes, despite the image society has depicted them, i.e., slow, sickly, cranky and grouchy; that they are a complaining lot and could never find any good of everything.

Nothing is farther from the truth. You don’t become unhappy because you are old. In fact, according to cnn.com,

“As people age, they tend to become happier and more satisfied with their lives.”

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Do You Need Food Supplements? Read This First

Health Secrets


Which of these supplements is for today?

Do you know what food supplements are? I know you’ve heard this often enough. You might even be using them. But what are they, really? And do you need them?

To give you a better understanding of the word “supplement” requires understanding the meaning of the word.

A supplement is “something that completes or enhance something else when added to it.”

A food supplement, therefore, is something you add to your diet to complete or enhance your daily nutritional intake.

It follows, therefore, that if you have a balanced diet, and your food intake gives you all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and fit, you don’t need them, right?

Theoretically, yes! But the real world says otherwise. In fact, studies show that almost half of people aged 65 and above daily take vitamins and minerals. “That,” according to Donald B. McCormick, Ph.D., professor Emeritus of biochemistry at Emory University, “is a lot of money wasted…”

He insists that nothing can make you healthy and fit, or slow down the aging process, better than improving your diet and there has never been any scientific data to prove that supplements can do a better job.

In fact, he says that in some cases supplements can be harmful to your physical and mental health.


When are food supplements necessary?

Aging causes a lot of physiological changes such as deterioration of sense or smell or taste, or sleeping problems All these can affect your appetite.

It can also bring some health issues which can affect your daily nutritional intake. Issues like arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, etc., limit your food choices, thereby affecting your daily vitamin and mineral needs.

In cases like these, food supplements become necessary to:

o   Augment your nutritional needs for lack of fruits and vegetables in your diet;

o   Neutralize the effects of eating too much processed or junk foods; foods;

o   Improve the body’s absorption capability which could be affected by medication;

o   Enhance your diet which could be affected by food restrictions due to health issues.

All these, however, should be under the supervision of your doctor or nutritionist.

Food supplements are not as harmless as they seem. Too much or too little, or the wrong kind can do more harm than good.


What food supplements are good for you?

To get the maximum benefits of your food supplements, take those that your body needs, not what a website or a salesperson says.

As you get older your body calorie requirements become lesser, and your body’s capability to absorb all the nutrients from the food you eat deteriorates. It is important, therefore, to use supplements your body needs, not what you want.

Here are most important:


o   Vitamin B12:
Vitamin B12 is important in creating red blood cells, DNA, and maintaining healthy nerve functions.

You may have problems in getting B12 from your diet, no matter how laden they are with this vitamin because of absorption problems.


o   Folate/Folic Acid:
This is vitamin B9 and is good anemic people because it aids in the formation of red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, converts carbohydrates into energy and helps in the production of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, which is good for brain health), and RNA (ribonucleic acid, which is good for catalyzing amino acids into protein chains).


o   Calcium:
Calcium is a mineral that plays important roles in the body. But its most significant role is in the building and maintaining strong bones. Without it, you will experience bone embrittlement or osteoporosis.

Sadly, as people grow old they consume less calcium, making it necessary for you to take food supplements to compensate this shortfall.


o   Vitamin D:
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, maintain bone density, and prevents osteoporosis. It is also good against chronic diseases like cancer, type 1 diabetes, rheumatism, multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune diseases.

The good news is that you can get ample supply of this vitamin by staying a few hours under the sun each morning.


o   Potassium:
Potassium is a mineral, like calcium that helps keep your bones strong. It is essential for proper cell functioning of the body and can reduce high blood pressure and the risk of kidney stones.


o   Magnesium:
Magnesium, another mineral, is necessary to keep your immune system in top shape, improves your heart health and strong bones.


o   Fiber: 
Found in vegetables, fruits, and cereals, fiber promotes healthy digestion, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.


o   Omega 3 Fats: 
Omega-3 fats are a group of unsaturated fats, primarily found in fish, with multiple health benefits. Among them is that is can alleviate arthritic pains and slow down the progress of macular degeneration – a common eye disease among seniors.

Nutritionists and health professionals all agree that a well-balanced diet can provide your daily nutritional requirements of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and sufficient water to maintain good health.

Aging, however, can affect your ability to absorb all these no matter how good your diet is. That’s why they recommend the use of food supplements when necessary.


When can food supplements be harmful?

Food supplements are meant to enhance or augment your diet to compensate for any shortfall in your daily nutritional requirements.

They are not intended to treat a disease and can be harmful if you take them as a medicine for an illness.

They may alleviate some pains, or make you resistant against some illnesses, but they cannot cure an existing one.

There is no all-in-one kind of food supplement. Regardless what the brochure says, or its website, or sales people, they are tailored to fit into specific gaps in your diet.

You do yourself more harm than good if you will.

Therefore, it is necessary to consult your nutritionist or doctor who can advise what is best for you. Deciding based on the inputs from others can harmful in the long run.

Do your homework. Food supplements is an open market. Anybody with a basic knowledge of chemistry can make them even in a kitchen.

So be sure to buy your food supplements from suppliers or manufacturers who have a name and reputation to protect. They may cost a few cents more, but that is a fair price to pay than putting your health in harm’s way.

Besides, food supplements are not on the radar of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) unless complaints are filed against a specific brand. Don’t be the first to file such complaint. You know where it will lead to.

Except for Kirkland’s Mature Multi, I take no food supplements. I believe lots of exercises, fruits, and vegetables are more fun to live my life than popping in tasteless and expensive pills.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.


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