What is the Best Way for Seniors to Deal with Their Aches and Pains?
There are all kinds of causes for aches, pains and depression; some of them we can reduce or eliminate and some we cannot. So, to the extent possible in a short article, let me share with you what I and other seniors have found helpful.
The following four factors rise to the top as the best strategy for dealing with those aches, pains and depression: attitude, diet & exercise, purpose, and relationships.
Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” It’s no secret that our attitude toward life has a profound impact on our health and well-being. Viktor Frankl, Nazi concentration camp survivor said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
One of the keys to maintaining a healthy outlook and positive attitude rides on the difference between seeing oneself as victim or victor. Many people view themselves as victims: of their circumstances; of their diseases or conditions; of their past; or whatever. But a victim is always a victim. As long as one sees him/herself as a victim, they will remain a victim—at the mercy of their situation and without hope.
In reality, all of us fall victim to all kinds of things, but like Viktor Frankl, we can choose to live as victors rather than victims. The gauge to determine whether you are living as victim or victor is to listen to your talk. Are you always grumbling, complaining, criticizing and speaking negatively? That’s the talk of a victim. The talk of a victor is gracious, grateful, complimenting, and positive.
Diet and Exercise
Next, diet and exercise also play a huge role in how we feel and feel about ourselves. Many seniors are overweight and suffer from high blood sure, heart disease, and other maladies. Rather than playing the victim, be a victor and take control of your health. Getting on a healthy, low carb diet can eliminate the effects of type 2 and impact your other organs profoundly. This can also help you lose weight if that’s an issue.
It’s common knowledge that exercise can improve both mental and physical health and well-being. A doctor reports that one of his patients, an 85 year-old man with high blood sugar and hypertension, started riding his single speed bike at age 81. This man dropped 41 pounds and no longer requires medication.
Find some kind of exercise or physical activity that you enjoy and pursue it with gusto! Don’t let excuses or circumstances keep you victimized.
Purpose is the third factor in our strategy for healthy living. Helen Keller, who was born blind and deaf, said, “True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” Depression often stems from lack of purpose. But no matter how old we are, as long as we’re still breathing we can pursue a transcendent purpose. “Transcendent” means “beyond ourselves.” We need to find ways to serve others.
I know seniors who: volunteer weekly at a food bank; tutor children; teach others a skill; and find additional creative was to serve others. What can you do to help someone else? What will be your legacy? Even if you find yourself needing to be served by others due to a physical malady, you can serve them with your talk and demeanor.
The fourth factor is healthy relationships. In the end, relationships are what matter most. Are we investing, cultivating, and enjoying our relationships? Are we loving others? Or are we always demanding, consuming, and taking our relationships for granted?
Social issues can have a significant impact on life and both physical and mental health of seniors. Finding relationships that are mutually giving is an integral component of seniors’ health care.
Many diseases in seniors may be prevented or at least slowed down as a result of a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet, participation in regular exercise, maintaining a vibrant outlook on life and finding healthy relationships are paramount in maintaining a healthy life for people of all ages.
It’s often said that the secret to happiness is wanting what you have. Centenarians seem to prove this point, with the oldest Americans harboring few regrets and expressing contentment with the lives they’ve led. In the end, what more could you want from a long life than that?
 Bicycling, 2012, http://forums.bicycling.com/topic/54635607124506968.