No matter when it starts, aging happensBy JOLAYNE FARRELL
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 29, 2003
Question: When does aging begin?
Answer: There has been a great deal written on this subject. From a physical point of view, aging is considered to begin when development does: at the moment of conception.
Others define the beginning of aging as that time in life when there are declining health changes that occur after age 50.
Mentally, aging is considered to be a continuous process. It accompanies the awareness of changes in mind, body and spirit related to the impact of time.
The philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, said aging begins at the moment when we start counting backward from death rather than forward from birth!Seniors have time to be creative
Question: Does creativity decline as we age?
Answer: No. Creativity can be continued far into old age, as proven by famous older persons such as Voltaire, Goethe, Tolstoy, Picasso and even Colonel Sanders.
In fact, most older people can be productive, active and creative, so long as they remain in good health.
Many retirees become even more creative in later years because they have more time to spend on hobbies, art, etc., while others become creative for the first time as an expression of "the freedom of old age."Grandma Moses painted until age 101
Question: Who was Grandma Moses?
Answer: Grandma Moses was an American primitive painter. Born in 1860, she didn't begin painting until she was 76 and did so successfully until her death in 1961 at age 101.
Her simple scenes of rural life were painted from memories of her youth in the late 1800s. Her full name was Anna Mary Robertson Moses. Her interest in painting began when the pain from her arthritis interfered with her embroidery work - so she decided to take up painting. She had her first one-woman show at 80. Her autobiography, My Life History, was published in 1952.Pay attention to SARS
Question: What is SARS? Should senior citizens be concerned about this health problem?
Answer: SARS is the acronym for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It is a new form of deadly pneumonia that is spreading throughout Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.
It affects all age groups. And, yes, seniors should be concerned about SARS. The severity of this illness can range from mild symptoms to death.
The World Health Organization recently announced that SARS is caused by the coronavirus. This is a major step in eventually developing a vaccine or cure for the disease.
SARS is spread through close physical contact - coughing, sneezing and nasal secretions. Researchers are considering the possibility that it could be spread through home ventilation systems, office buildings, ships and airplanes.
The symptoms appear seven to 10 days after exposure. Symptoms are: fever of 100.4 degrees; chills; headache; body aches; decreased energy and mild respiratory symptoms. The patient also develops a dry cough that increases in severity. As the disease progresses, the patient suffers severe lung congestion, a lack of oxygen in the blood and death.
Persons, particularly seniors, who are experiencing these symptoms, should seek medical help at once. Some SARS patients respond well to antiviral medications and steroids.
The CDC advises travelers to postpone trips to countries where SARS has been reported.
Federal, state and local public health officials say that SARS, while dangerous, does not pose a significant threat to the general population of the United States.
- Jolayne Farrell is a registered nurse with a master's degree in Public Health/Gerontology. Write to Jolayne Farrell in care of Seniority, the St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Please note that individual responses cannot be provided.
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