As you are well aware, right behind financial concerns and questions, health is something that all of us think about as we attempt to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of a satisfying journey.
While a cliché, the statement, "if you don't have your health you don't have anything," is absolutely true. By health I'm not talking about maintaining the energy and flexibility, eye sight and strength that you had at 30 or 40. Rather, in our context being healthy means being able to care for ourselves, enjoy friends and family, engage in physical activities appropriate to our age, and learn to manage the pains and limitations that are part of aging.
Because I am not a doctor (if I were I would have better health care!) I am not prepared to suggest how you can live well as long as possible. What I am good at is locating web sites that will give you additional information or ways to learn more, if that disease and infirmity is one you want to know more about.
I have found lists of the major health concerns of older folks. They are remarkably similar so I trust they have captured the top-of-mind topics that might be important to you. After each, I will provide some links to web sites that can give more more information. At the end, I will provide some links to previous articles I have written that you may have missed.
I wish God had decided to design our bodies so we stay fit and healthy until the second we drop dead. But, that isn't how it works, so here are our top health worries:
#1 on all lists is heart health. The most common condition for those over 65 is some type of heart problem. We know about the negative effects of smoking, lack of exercise, or being over weight. But, what are some of the signals of problems and what can we do? (You can bet I rechecked all of these resources)
- Heart Disease Risk Factors
- How the Heart Grows Old
- Heart Disease in Seniors
- Exercise to Help Your heart
- Healthy Heart Exercises After Retirement
Next on the list of concerns is a stroke. According to the National Stroke Association, "A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. There are different severities of strokes, some leaving no permanent damage, others just some weakness, while major strokes affect one's ability to speak or move.
Cancer is a disease virtually all of us have some personal contact with, either because of family or friends. In particular, female breast cancer is a high profile concern, while males die way too often from prostate cancer. The number of sites that deal with cancer in all its various forms number in the millions. Here are just a few to help you get started in your own investigation.
Pneumonia and Flu are certainly not restricted to older folks. But, the consequences tend to be more severe. In fact, pneumonia is the fifth highest killer of those over 65. Since seniors tend to have more lung problems it is often hard to diagnose pneumonia until it is advanced.
- Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia in the Elderly
- Too Few Seniors Are Immunized Against Pneumonia
- Caring For Those with Pneumonia
Falls and accidents around the home. Simple falls or accidents that would have no long term effect on a younger person can prove fatal to someone older. Not only does it take longer for an injury to heal, but too often other complications like pneumonia occur because of the extended time spent lying in a bed. Osteoporosis creates brittle bones that may never heal properly.
Unfortunately, I have only begun to scratch the surface of health issues that affect us. These are not cherry subjects nor ones that most of us want to spend much time with. That is part of the problem. Education and awareness helps both the senior having issues and the caregivers trying to protect that person's quality of life as much as possible.
Borrowing a phrase from Star Trek, may you live long and prosper.