Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Health & Wellness: Illness & Aging

From the Grace Church Health and Wellness Committee, January 2008

The theme for January is coping with illness and aging. Chronic diseases often require us to adapt our lifestyles, endure the discomfort, pain and/or disabilities associated with the disease and its treatments, or consider the likelihood of death. Your Rector and/or health practitioner are the best sources of information about how to get and stay prepared for a healthy life.

Coping with Life’s Changes: Irrespective of our age, the business of living often requires struggles with internal and or external demands, conflicts and potentially distressing feelings. Successfully addressing these struggles requires us to cope, to actively manage these demands, conflicts and feelings with resources that exceed those that are routinely available to us. While some of us may be more successful at coping with certain types of situational demands than others, behavioral scientists tend to agree that coping is a learned skill. The list presented below is not a cookbook; no one or combination of these strategies is necessarily effective for each of us in the variety of circumstances we face.

Optional Coping Strategies:

  • Gathering additional information - If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, go to the library or bookstore and obtain books discussing the disease process, its prevention and treatment or, if you are about to undergo a biopsy of a suspicious “growth” find out more from your physician or other credible source of information about what you may need to do before you get to the hospital, exactly what the biopsy procedure entails and what, if any, recovery issues you may face.
  • Praying – ask God (through direct prayer) to heal you where you and your medical specialists cannot and/or pray for acceptance of conditions you are powerless to change. Asking for the prayer intercession of others for your healing.
  • Marshalling extra social support - Asking for words of encouragement from members of family, church and friendship circles. Physical touch from caring others often soothes the soul and bolsters morale when words fail.
  • Maintaining a sense of optimism - Practice disputing “self-statements” that suggest that a medical setback is singularly your fault, pervasive in every arena of your life and permanent (for all time).
  • Learning to tolerate, endure or accept the health condition – accepting that a physically disfiguring, lifestyle altering, or even an “end stage” circumstance is not your fault.
  • Adopting more health promoting behaviors – Sometimes more focus on the practice of health promoting behaviors (e.g., improving diet and exercise) can reverse or slow the progression of a dangerous health condition.
  • Enlisting the assistance of additional health care professionals – some health conditions reach the point where a “cure” is no longer possible and death is imminent. In these circumstances, organizations offering Hospice Care can help to assure that maximal quality of life is achieved during the final days and weeks.

Should you have concerns or want additional information about the material presented above, please contact your local mental health care provider, the Rector, or someone on the Grace Church Health and Wellness Ministry Committee (Chaired by Mrs. Florence Poyer, R.N.)

Prepared by: Walter S. Handy, Ph.D., Member, Grace Church Health and Wellness Ministry Committee

No comments: