During my days of teaching high school my principle always had a word of advice for all the staff as well as the students. He would advise us to be proactive instead of reactive, to take action now at this moment rather than reacting later. It has been an advice I have followed throughout my life, in all areas especially when it came to planning my wellness and health as well as caring for my patients and clients as a nurse.
The statistics provided by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics gives us indicators about the health and wellness for seniors and also predicts the future care of seniors over the age of sixty-five. The numbers are indeed staggering. The data provided by it project about 13 million Americans are over the age of 65 while the numbers are expected to soar to over 80 million by 2050.
Seniors who are over the age of 85 are the segment of the over sixty-five population that is the fastest growing. According to the Federal Interagency Forum are more educated and have a better economic condition than any time in the past.
So, what does that hold for us who belong to the rest of the age groups. Well there are two main aspects of the positive meaning of these statistics. Firstly we are living longer and secondly we have more education and resources than ever before to live that long life.
Thus what is needed is for us to be proactive and to plan, evaluate and implement our own health plan and be proactive in our approach to the care of our own selves.
But what can be done in our quest to be proactive thus, what is it that we can do to really make a difference. The first thing to do is to start right now. Tomorrow, next week or next year wont do, nothing but right now would suffice. For starters, we will take a look at the three causes that are responsible for more deaths than any other cause, among the people who are above the age group of sixty-five.
Admittedly it might not sound to be the best way to start your day but after you read it I promise it would not sound so bad after all. The first disease to be wary of for all people of all ages more so if you are over sixty five is heart disease followed by cancer and stroke and by examination of the contributing causes of diseases such as these we can be proactive and formulate a personalized “plan of care” we each need for the wellness and health of our own.
Secondly from the analysis of the causes of these three diseases that lead to death and disability we can come across controllable and uncontrollable factors in our own lives. As suggested by their names uncontrollable factors are the factors behind these diseases that are beyond our control and the controllable factors are those which we can regulate ourselves in our day to day lives.
An example of an uncontrollable factor is hereditary factors while smoking and exercise might fall into the controllable factors group in case of heart diseases.
There are many controllable factors, an attempt to neutralize which may be made. Changing our genetic makeup is beyond our reach but giving up smoking and exercising regularly are actions that maybe considered to be highly proactive.
Even in cases where you might already be treated for one of these or other diseases or disorders, much can still be done now and in the future that will contribute to your plan of personal care.
As we are going to be proactive about our personal health and well being both in the present and future tenses it is highly suggested that you keep your own health and wellness journal where you may pen down your thoughts and and experiences regarding your care plan. This is more motivating than you may imagine and just might be the impetus that is needed.
As you learn more about the controllable factors you will discover that if you avoid a single controllable factor, it might help you in avoiding multiple diseases. For example refraining from smoking and managing stress has the effect of not only reducing the chances of heart disease but also lower risks for stroke and cancer.
Uncontrollable factors such as our gender, genetics, age and race are present in all of us and are not subject to change by us. But factors such as quitting smoking, following an exercise plan pre-approved by your doctor, taking steps in order to curb the amount of stress in your life, sticking to a low-fat healthy diet, going for regular check ups and remembering to take medicines regularly are within our control and we should see to it that we take suitable steps to implement them. Make an effort to make all the controllable factors as present in your own individual case as specific as possible and this will enable you to better measure your success.
After an examination of the controllable and non-controllable factors present in you individual case it is worthwhile to formulate a step-by-step plan in order to implement the plan of care for wellness and health. If suppose exercise is present as a factor in your controllable list and it is something that you are not practicing at present, express what you can do to start, in writing. Always be as detailed as possible. Say for example, if you intend to walk several times a week, work out a specific plan, walking four times a week for at least twenty minutes a day.
Try to start with small, specific steps that you are more likely to successfully implement. For example for today your plan just might be to discuss with your doctor an exercise plan that suits you.
Also be lenient towards yourself and acknowledge your achievements without dwelling to much on should haves.
As an older patient of mine once revealed the very words that something can be done is enough for him to motivate himself into doing it. One must not underestimate the power that being proactive has on your well-being and health for the future.
Learn to how to encourage yourself and what works in motivating you. It might be the increased energy or the better sleep, but do use it to your advantage.
As you will come to realize being proactive and actively sticking to your wellness care plan will lead to healthier and longer life.