Archive | December 2012

Elders: Live independently without too much room for pride

The New York Times’ Personal Health blog included an article written by Jane Brody: “Staying Independent in Old Age, With a Little Help.” Here, the writer mentions how the majority of American elderly prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. A barrier remains, however, as the homes they stay in are outdated relevant to the modernization of our people and the rate at which aging is increasing. Therefore, solutions are mentioned here — both on the house level and the community level — that may allow for elderly to live as independently as long as possible. House level solutions include the installment of grab bars, curbless showers, and the removal of steps. Community level changes include the provision of cluster housing in walkable communities within the vicinity of stores and public transportation.

While these solutions will help prevent social isolation and improve human elderly factors, one must also be aware of the signs of when one should consider moving an elder to a more supportive environment. These signs have been mentioned by Paula Spencer Scott, senior editor at Accidents, falls, diminishing health, slow recovery, inability to leave the house, not picking up the mail, not checking food expiration dates, fluctuating behavior, and increased loneliness are one of few signs to tell when the time may be right. Not only these, but if it takes considerable time and effort to care for this person and you are becoming affected if you yourself are the care provider, it is probably the right time to let him or her come to a place where he or she can be helped with a more constant environment of support. The question remains if these facilities will remain available in the coming future with enough staff. This will of course remain a concern and, to boldly say, should be a target addressed in all coming worldly or national health meetings of any kind.



How grandma celebrates Christmas by herself

I came across this article from the UK about elderly people spending their merry Christmas on their own. I found it interesting, depressing, and even discovered a link to health in the whole dilemma.

While for many people Christmas is the only time in the year when they actually meet family and friends, others are not cared for by anybody or do not care for anybody (anymore). Thus, they spend the celebration of love alone, like a quarter of all people in the UK that are older than 75 and live by themselves – even though the majority of them have children.

Experts say that “family breakdown is fuelling an epidemic of loneliness in old age” and that the fact that two in five marriages fail has serious impacts for the elderly. Young people have to divide their time between parents and step-parents. Besides, ‘silver separations’ are also becoming more common, with latest figures showing that more than 11,500 over-60s were granted a divorce in 2009.

In one of the largest surveys of its kind, the think-tank polled 2,000 over-75s to test how isolated the elderly truly are. ‘I’m 88 and I have nobody at all. I’m on my own’, said one, and ‘some days the only person I speak to is the boy in the shop when I pick up my paper.’

Growing isolation and loneliness makes elderly people particularly vulnerable – also in terms of health. Related mental and physical health conditions include a weakened immune system, sleep deprivation, higher blood pressure, a higher risk of dementia and depression. What to do?

In the UK there is an initiative that involves the police, fire officers conducting home safety checks, as well as social workers who see “warning signs” to connect people to local voluntary groups that can provide companionship. But is that a solution of the problem really?

old lady

Chapman J (2011): 250,000 elderly people who’ll be spending their Christmas alone. Available:

Live as a liver with a living liver!

If your body was a mobile phone, your liver would be the SIM card

– Businessweek

Although this post is not particularly tailored to the stereotype of Irish men who not only fashionably drink some ale at the Green Dragon tavern (rather, quite more than a hobby), naturally, it would be important for this group of individuals — and of course those who follow that bandwagon, namely, the particular binge-drinking bandwagon — to read this!

It is so that with a healthy liver you are a liver.

While being a liver — one who lives — you can live when there is an organ that clears toxins from your body, converts food into energy, regulates the levels of cholesterol; among several others. Of course, that is why this organ is called a liver! You can’t live without it.

Henceforth, as once a liver takes a considerable amount of time to restore itself after being diseased or taking a large amount of damage, one should consider as one ages that this organ must be kept healthy. Not to sole out this from any other vital organs — of course general health is directly related to holistic wellness — but let us take some time to appreciate what our liver does for us.

Therefore, my liver, I liver you!


If your body was a mobile phone, your liver would be the SIM card:

Fats in food – to have or not to have?



Fats!?-they are bad for your health! Especially for the old with predisposition to heart ailments, diabetes etc., they are a strict no. Is this true? Well not entirely. Contrary to popular belief, fats are actually important for a healthy living. They provide energy as well as protect the cell walls.  Besides they also aid digestion of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K.

The word to go with fat is moderation. Eat moderate amounts and the right kinds, fats will help one sail through old age better. The average elderly should consume about 2-3 teaspoons of “good fat” everyday. This allowance should not be wasted on cakes, biscuits or sugary drinks. Instead pick items from the following list of food items:

  • Fish such as salmon, sardines, rainbow trout, anchovies, mackerel, eulachon, char and herring
  • Flaxseed or walnut oils (these oils are only to be used cold, not to be heated)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, ground flaxseed)
  • Vegetable oils (olive, canola, soybean, peanut, sesame oil)
  • Soft tub margarine made from the oils above that say ‘non-hydrogenated’ on the label
  • Avocado
  • Wheat germ
  • Omega 3 fortified foods such as eggs, yogurt, soy drinks

Use the above sources-mix and match to help you body receive the right kind of fats. Things to avoid are:

  • Butter
  • Hard margarines
  • Ghee
  • Lard
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Whole milk including coconut milk
  • Cream, sour cream and ice cream
  • Cheese and paneer
  • Fatty red meat (pork hock, sausage, bacon, preserved meats)
  • Palm and coconut oils
  • Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • Baked items (cookies, pies, cakes, pastries)

Fat is after all not so bad and it helps keep your body healthy. If one knows how to use it well, it is a food for the soul :)!