Seniors Outreach - October 3, 2018

This past week, the Seniors Outreach staff had the opportunity to attend the Grey Matters Conference in Calgary. During the sessions that each attended and the plenary sessions for everyone, our understanding of a wide variety of issues and activities that are going on around the province of Alberta and with seniors in general were explored and presented to us.

One of the most thought provoking, for me, was perhaps the simplest in its presentation and practicality. The session, “Running on Empty: You Have More Control Than You Think”, was presented by Dr. David Posen, a physician and bestselling author in the areas of stress mastery, work-life balance, and health and wellness.

As a senior, I always wonder about the stresses in my own life. It comes without saying that we all deal with stress, we may or may not wonder how it impacts our health and wellness, and we look for some answers to deal with it. Each situation or daily occurrence which pressures us in abnormally powerful ways promotes STRESS and the continuation of these pressures affects the following in our lives:

Physical Health – runs down our immune system;

Mental Health/Mood – may create excess anxiety and ultimately depression;

Mental Function – which affects our focus and memory;

Energy – drains our ‘get up and go’ factor;

Performance/ Productivity – even though we may or may not be working for a living – our output, when we do work on things becomes less than efficient or depletes our ability to complete ‘jobs’ that we take on;

Engagement, Spirit & Morale – depletes our ‘interest’ and may cause a disconnect with the reasons that we do things in life; and

Interpersonal Relationships – the insidiousness of stress is that as our health, mental wellbeing and function, energy, productivity and engagement/spirit are NOT operating properly, we feel pressured to make choices that socially isolate us and ultimately promote our own loneliness. The result of which forces us to ‘cut off’ proper social interactions and breaks up our relationships with others: family, friends and people in any social settings.

As I recognized the power of stress on these areas, my own take was: Wow! How do we get to this point in so many of these areas? Probably, most importantly, what do we do to deal with them?

Dr. Posen’s take was that we ARE able to deal with some areas and need to take control over what you can control: behavior, thoughts, lifestyle choices.

We have all heard these before, I am sure. However, you are able within these three to choose to:

Exercise – keep it simple, keep it consistent, just do it as often as you are able to.

Meditation – simply ‘calm yourself’, allow yourself to step back from the frenzy of what is happening and enable a quietness/silence to be a way to gain some control and/or provide a renewed focus. Here you may find some other focuses such as quotes, calming music, religious sayings, etc. to be helpful.

Breaks/Leisure/Vacation – Dr. Posen’s discussion emphasized the taking of consistent breaks in a work/Activity balance, taking ‘time off’ each week to do leisure activities – music, crafts, games, sports, etc. and actual vacation time off each year to ‘rest’.

Sleep – Probably the most important point in this presentation was about getting enough sleep.

How long do you NEED to sleep each night? Most of us need at least 8 hours.

How long do you actually sleep each night? Many indicate 5 – 6 hours.

What do I do to get more sleep?

Try this: No screens (no TV, Computer, cell phones, iPads, etc.) at least 1 hour before bed time.

No caffeine after lunch (coffee, tea, sodas, etc.).

Go to bed 1 hour earlier than you normally do.

Try it for three weeks.

You may never go back to the old ways and will feel much better – less stress!

[Source: Dr. David Posen, Plenary presentation at the Grey Matters Conference, Calgary, September 26, 2018]

Seniors Outreach provides, with its partners, the following activities for seniors in Kneehill County:

• Grief & Loss Support Group – with Janet Cullum, RSW, will be held Wednesday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the old Provincial Building in Three Hills (128 – 3rd Ave SE) for 6 weeks. October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 & November 7.

• Monthly Information Sessions: “CPR and AED (Defibrillator)” by Carol Terpstra (EMT) will be presented Thursday, October 18

- 10:00 a.m. at the CommUnity Drop-In Centre, Three Hills

- 2:00 p.m. at the Silver Willows Centre, Torrington

- 6:00 p.m. Potluck and 6:45 p.m. Presentation at the 50+ Club, Care & Share Centre, Linden.

Reminder: Community Bus Runs in Three Hills are on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon.

Call Seniors Outreach for information at 403-443-2555 (from Carbon – 1-888-443-2555)