Until It Happens to You...Ageism
Until it happens to you…
Is healthcare about wellbeing? It seems we know intrinsically, the reality. Unfortunately.
Polypharmacy affects 85% of adults aged 55 and older, falls due to drug interactions number one cause of emergency room visits for older adults, and comorbidities are through the roof; in fact, the roof is just blown away. Shall I continue? Drug restraint in long-term care communities, over-the-counter supplements, antiacids taken as gum drops, 90% of providers lacking confidence diagnosing Alzheimer’s or sustainable treatments, cholinesterase inhibitors given like aspirin and only effects, additional behavioral volatility for adults with Alzheimer’s.
Whew. I wouldn’t take my blood pressure right now.
So, to my happening…
Recently, I needed to visit an attending physician (mine was away), possibly in her late 30’s, for a referral to a chiropractor or osteopath, for a leg strain. Thank you, insurance companies. While there, my vitals were taken, my heart listened to, questions asked, and one brief feel on my lower back determined sciatica. I would have been upset at the limited examination however my aim was only a referral, not her opinion.
Then, the upset.
She noted my age while reading over the chart. “oh, you are 58! Would you like a flu shot?”
No, I responded, I have a great immune system and don’t need it.
Then. Again. “you really should have a flu shot due to your age” (Oh no she didn’t)
“I think you should have a shingles shot”
Hmm. Why? I asked. I have been healthy my entire life and a great immune system.
And then, she really did it.
“At your age, flu and shingle shots are critical and the research supports this”.
I am not certain she knew with whom she conversed; an exceptional researcher and scientist.
I just need a referral, thank you.
You never know how you will feel until a happening happens to you. Ageism. I will get to that in a moment…
Let’s get a few facts out of the way, shall we?!
Just because you age to 50 doesn’t require a healthy adult to obtain ANY shots, take additional nutritional supplements, or be given subpar medical treatment; such as, a brief touch on the back determining a serious issue such as sciatica or being told due to age, shots are required.
(Noted: certain conditions might require varying care)
Now, if any of you have been following me, you know I focus on healthy aging, the accolades of aging, and the success of aging, rather than ageism. What can I say, I am a glass-half-full kind of gal. I think about Mother Theresa’s comment “I will never attend an anti-war protest, but a peace rally, any day” We are what we focus on, what we tell ourselves.
So, what does this peace-loving woman do when faced with the same fate my patients experience day after day, after day?
The professional in me phoned the hospital, insurance, and clinic immediately discussing the need for my educational services.
The rebel in me, perhaps a competitor, (still a trait since childhood) said “Oh yeah! Watch this 58-year young woman run circles around you. I started kickboxing despite the aching. Oh, and by the way, the chiropractor noted it was just a small strain and would dissipate with yoga and stretching. Also noted my great flexibility and bone density.
So, now experiencing this thing called ageism, will I do anything different than I have been in my life or career? Absolutely not!
Minimizing ageism requires education, training, changes to accountability, policy, and programs, and a little “I’ll show you!!!!” attitude.
For my 58 year young, and older, cohorts out there, keep on being fabulous! Keep on looking in the mirror reminding yourselves of your beauty, and do yourself a favor…
Question your physician.
Ask for alternatives
Ask for a second opinion outside the medical community
Before you take that second pill, ask yourselves about your life choices, and make a change
Be consistent and patient with yourself as you gain and maintain flexibility, strength and stamina
For males, focus on alternatives to that blue pill first, and life changes before succumbing
Focus on nutrition and wellbeing
Believe in the magnificence of your own body!
Live! Love! Laugh!