Seniors get health advice

POSTED: 10/5/12 1:06 PM

St. Maarten – Although International Day of Older Persons was observed last Monday, activities to highlight the role of senior citizens and to stimulate and enhance their well-being in the society are being held throughout the week.
Yesterday, the Home Away from Home Foundation held its usual socialization and stimulation class for the golden age at the John Larmonie Center. However apart from their regular reflections and light banter it was a special day where the seniors benefitted from a health talk to deal with the realities of diabetes.
National Alliance Parliamentarian Dr. Lloyd Richardson spoke to those gathered on the importance of caring for one’s body and preserving limbs. Because most senior citizens are often diagnosed with diabetes, blood glucose testing and foot checks were done.
They were told that high blood glucose from diabetes causes two problems that can hurt your feet; nerve damage and poor blood flow.

“With damaged nerves, you might not feel pain, heat, or cold in your legs and feet. A sore or cut on your foot may get worse because you do not know it is there. This lack of feeling is caused by nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy. Nerve damage can lead to a sore or an infection. Poor blood flow, on the other hand occurs when not enough blood flows to your legs and feet. Poor blood flow makes it hard for a sore or infection to heal. This problem is called peripheral vascular disease, also called PVD. Smoking when you have diabetes makes blood flow problems much worse.”
If not arrested, the combination of damaged nerves and poor blood circulation along with unhealed wounds, often results in amputation.

The seniors expressed gratitude for all of the health information they received. Caregivers were also urged to examine the feet of seniors by looking for ulcers, calluses, cracks in the skin, abnormal lubrication and sensations.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Older Persons was Longevity: Shaping the Future. Ageing and health was also the theme of this year’s World Health Day on 7 April. These themes focus on how healthy behaviors throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “The world population is rapidly ageing. Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will double from about 11 percent to 22 percent. The absolute number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion over the same period.
The functional capacity of an individual’s biological system increases during the first years of life, reaches its peak in early adulthood and naturally declines thereafter. The rate of decline is determined, at least in part, by our behaviors and exposures across the whole life course. These include what we eat, how physically active we are and our exposure to health risks such as those caused by smoking, harmful consumption of alcohol, or exposure to toxic substances.”
Executive assistant in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Dorothy Lake also used the opportunity to speak on a celebratory dinner that will be held on Sunday night in honor of the elderly. This festive affair is in its 9th year and will be hosted from 6:00 pm at the Belair Community Center by the Home Away From Home Foundation.

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