Archive for March, 2005
Lots of women have difficulty sleeping as their bodies change. This article may give you some clues as to what you can do about it.
This whole situation with the Terri Schiavo case is very sad…and it could have been completely avoidable with an Advanced Directive/Living Will.
I’ve written before about the importance of having an Advanced Directive/Living Will. And now with congress getting into the act, I feel it’s even more vital. Instead of being reactionary, we all should be doing a bit of preventative maintenance.
- Talk to your significant others, families, friends about your wishes.
- Get the paper work you need and fill it out.
- Make sure that EVERYONE who needs a copy gets a copy. This includes all family members, health care providers, hospitals and even your attorney.
- You keep the original in a safe place.
- Keep it updated! If you change your mind about your wishes, or you decided you need someone else to function as your health care power of attorney, then you must update you documents.
While the Terri Schiavo case is most unfortunate, it’s a lesson we can all take to heart. Let’s learn and heed the lesson she is teaching us. Consider the Terri Schiavo case a gift to us all.
Honor her gift…get your Advanced Directive done today.
Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP
I posted this message on our network at Ryze, but feel so strong about it, I wanted to bring it up here. This situation is almost completely avoidable. Taking care of business prior to such an event will save trouble and heart ache for those that love us, not to mention ouselves!
I have been reading bits and pieces about the drama in Florida where a woman, in a persistent vegetative state appears to be at the center of a struggle between her husband and her parents. It seems that her husband would like the feeding tube removed, stating that his wife, severely brain damaged after a cardiac event (Feb 1990), would not want to live this way. The parents disagree and feel she will improve.
Whether you side with the husband or the parents, no one can deny this is a situation that should not have happened. You and I can prevent this sort of thing by drawing up a Advanced Health Care Directive (living will and a health care power of attorney), making sure our families/significant others and health care providers know what our wishes are.
Iâ€™ve written about this in the past and will refer you to that article . If you feel you need legal advice about this issue, I encourage you to see an attorney. If that you have difficulty in finding an attorney at a reasonable cost, I highly recommend Pre-Paid Legal, a service I started using and am very pleased with.
Least you think you are not old enough to think about making these arrangements let me remind you that this woman is 41 years of age, making her 31 when this occurred. Itâ€™s never too early to get in writing what you want (and you can change it as often as you want). The problem is that sometimes these decisions are not made until it is too late.
Take care of yourself and your family. Take care of your business now.
I just finished reading the most amazing book! It’s one of those small little books you just don’t want to end.
A Walk on the Beach: Tales of Wisdom from an Unconventional Woman by Joan Anderson is the non-fiction story of Joan A. meeting Joan Erickson.
Joan is 91 when this story starts. Her husband was Eric Erickson, the famous psychologist who described the stages of development. She had contributed to much of his work, and advanced the last stages after his death. She is protrayed as very playful wise woman.
Some quotes from Joan Erickson:
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing. Anyway, the opposite of play is obey!”
“Get out of your body, absorbing all that you come in contact with.”
“Don’t deny yourslef to please others. You only lose yourself in the promise.”
There is much one can learn from Joan Erickson. Lots of wisdom within this book.
Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP
Osteoporosis is called a silent disease. You normally don’t know it until something like a fracture occurs. In reality, your bones have been loosing strength for years.
There are millions of people with osteoporosis, and the vast majority of them are women. Bone is a living tissue that consistently breaks down and rebuilds. As we enter our 40’s and 50’s, the rebuilding is having a hard time keeping up with the breaking down…thus a net loss.
While some of the risk factors cannot be modified (family history, small body frame size, racial/ethnic makeup, surgery (removal of ovaries) and menopause), other factors can be modified, and thus prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis.
So what can you do?
Eating a diet rich in calcium throughout life is important. What does that mean? Low fat dairy food, canned fish with soft bones such as salmon, dark green leafy vegetables and calcium fortified foods.
If you need a supplement, the current recommendations are for people over 50 to have about 1200mg per day between diet and supplementation. Studies on women with osteoporosis in nursing homes have been shown to have a reduction of fractures just from calcium and vitamin D without other interventions.
Vitamin D is necessary for your body to absorb the calcium. Being out in the sun for 20 minutes every day is usually sufficient. Foods that are high in vitamin D include eggs, fatty fish, cereals and fortified milk. Many calcium supplements and multivitamins have vitamin D as well. Recommendations include 400 IU of Vitamin D per day if you are less than 70 years of age, and 600 IU if you are over 70.
Exercise! Once again the “E” word presents itself. Weight bearing exercise actually prevents the loss of bone. The stress on bone when you walk, play tennis, jog or dance actually stimulates your bone to increase its density. Not only that, but your improved muscle strength will protect you if you should fall. Once again, the current recommendations for exercise is 30 minutes of activity daily.
Some medications can increase your risk for developing osteoporosis. For example steroids, some anti-seizure medications, some cancer medications, and long term use of Depo-Provera (birth control). If you take too much thyroid medication, or your thyroid glad is overactive your bone could be stimulated to break down faster. Talk with your provider to see if any modifications can be made.
What else? Smoking, carbonated beverages and excessive alcohol have all been implicated in increasing you risk for osteoporosis. Consider eliminating, or at least reducing these habits from your life.
Get a gone density scan (DEXA). They are non-invasive and give an accurate measurement of your bone density. The heel test will only give you a ball park figure, and are not always accurate. The DEXA scan will give you a T-score which will tell you and your provider if your density is normal, if you have osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis), or osteoporosis. With that information you and your provider can decide on the best plan of action for you.
If you have osteoporosis, follow the treatment recommendation of your provider, incorporate the dietary and activity recommendation made here, and work to reduce your risk of falls in your home.
Good health practices will go a long way in preventing and treating any problems. Once again, diet and exercise play a major role in this largely preventable disease.
“At fifty, the sun, the moon, the tides, the seasons rule me like a field gone wild.”
Marge Piercy, poet
Itâ€™s International Womenâ€™s Day. And while itâ€™s wonderful to know how much progress we have made since 1911, one must also look and see that women in many parts of the world have not. I personally think itâ€™s time to think about how each of us, individually, can positively impact the life of even one woman or girl somewhere in the world.
Here is some information about IWD and some ideas to get us all thinking beyond our own borders.
(c)2005 Barbara C. Phillips, MN
What do you feel when you hear that term? Does it make you want to run? Do you love it and embrace it? Are you confused about what it means? Does it conjure up pictures of witches and warts on the nose? Or does you minds eye see a beautiful wise woman?
I have to admit, I was one of the confused ones, and perhaps Iâ€™m still not sure about using the term. My head was full of all sorts of negative and positive images of what and who a Crone is. I donâ€™t know where the negative stuff came from, perhaps just images of witches as I was growing up. I know that the positive images came from a friend who owned a store called Crone Magic as well as the circle of women we were all apart of as well as a wonderful book I just found.
As I continue to do research on the OlderWiserWomen book, the term Crone came up again and again. This time it comes, from the well respected author Jean Shinoda Bolen in her book â€œCrones Donâ€™t Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Womenâ€.
I love the title, and itâ€™s that title that drove me to the book. After starting out discussing the word crone and giving us yet another perspective on the word, she then identifies thirteen qualities that we want to nourish and expand upon. Itâ€™s a wonderful book and one I highly recommend.
Now that I was rethinking all of my preconceptions about the word Crone, I visited my local library and sure enoughâ€¦I found a 1995 video titled “Celebration of Age: The Croning Ceremony”. One of the things that I really liked about this video, is it discussed how we know we are ready for crone-hood, croning in different cultures, and the idea that those of us that are younger (but no so young) are Crones-in-Training. Though the video is 10 years old, it adds another perspective to the ideas and ways in which we can celebrate the women we were, the women we are, and most importantly, the women we are becoming.
While Iâ€™m not sure that Iâ€™m comfortable with the term Crone, I do like the term WiseWoman, which can be one in the same. I welcome your views on the term â€œCroneâ€. Is this a term you would use to describe yourself? Why or why not? What term would you use in place of Crone? Have you considered, or have you had your own â€œCroning Ceremonyâ€ Tell us about it?
Today, I launched a network on Ryze for OlderWiserWomen. Frequently I am asked if a woman is old enough to participate, and today proved to be no expection. I thought I would have my response to this.
I’m often asked by women if they are “old” enough to subscribe to Celebrations, if they are old enough to contribute to the book, if they are old enough to just be involved.
The answer is a resounding yes. Why?
There are many women in this world who are fearful of aging. About a year ago, a young woman (in her 20’s) contacted me here on Ryze expressing lots of fear of growing older. She had nothing but good things to say about some of the women she knew, but she also expressed fears of loosing control, loosing her body, loosing her status. She could not see any positives for herself.
That is where being apart of such a group could help. We are fearful of things we do not understand. And unfortunately, society and the media paints a picture that is just not starting to change. While we are still a youth oriented society, we are starting to see images of women past the age of 40 (which is hardly old!).
This young woman would benefit from hanging out with a bunch of cool OlderWiserWomen and learning from them all the wonderful benefits of growing older. And those of us who might be older, could benefit from the younger women when we start to take ourselves too seriously.
By the way, my answer to that young woman resulted in my first article on the subject, which can be viewed here.
In short, I wish to welcome all the YoungerWiserWomen and the OlderWiserWomenâ„¢ to this network.
To Your Successful Aging!
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