Older women and drugs, part four
So far, we have covered the following underlying causes for older women using or misusing drugs : Insomnia (sleep problems) and constipation.
The next one is : to deal with pain. First of all, if you are in pain, do not ignore it !!!!
Keep these things in mind :
1. All pain is real. Don’t assume pain is a natural part of getting older. It is not. Or, don’t assume you’re imagining the pain. Talk to your doctor about it.
2. Pain makes you tense, tired, and upset. If you’re tense, the pain can be worse. Learn new ways to relax. It might make pain easier to handle.
3. Pain killers help when you really need them. Some women suffer pain when they don’t have to. They might be afraid to use drugs at all. Remember : drugs are sometimes the best thing for pain. But don’t wait until the pain gets really bad. Then you have to take large amounts before the drugs work. Take small amount of pain killers more often. It’s safer. But talk to your doctor about it first. Remember : some pain killers cause addiction.
4. Before you use pain killers, try these common sense ideas for minor pain :
- Talk to someone about your worries or stress. Worries or stress could cause pain, or make pain worse. Talking about problems often helps relieve stress and pain.
- Think of any small changes to make you more comfortable. For example, rearrange our furniture, things in your kitchen, or your clothes. Keep things close to hand. Then you won’t have to move as far to get things you use regularly.
- Ask others around you for help when you need it. Ask neighbours or people in stores to help you. Of, find places that give you help for free. Phone the Senior Citizen Council or Advocacy Centre, or he Health Region. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. But please try. Remember : you deserve it.
- Take care of the painful part of your body. Touching often helps. Rub the spot that hurts. Or, ask someone else to give you a massage.
- Find ways to protect and rest your body. Try more short rests during the day. Put your feet up. Take deep breaths and sit quietly by yourself for a while. Take a not shower, or bath. Wear loose and comfortable clothes and shoes. Find out what works best for you.
- Do not forget emotional pain is also legitimate. Talk to someone you trust about it….. Share…..
- Do something to keep your mind rested. Read a book or a magazine. Listen to music. Borrow a relaxation tape from the library. Take a walk. A change of scenery could make a big difference. However, do not move away physically as geographical cures usually do not work.
- Pamper yourself. Treat yourself as well as you treat others. It’s OK to pamper yourself. And it is your right to ask others to pamper you, too.
- Next week, we look at the last underlying reason why older women use drugs : stress and depression.
(Note : much of the content of last and next week’s column is taken from direct excerpts from a curriculum, designed by Dr. Fryters, “A PROGRAM FOR OLDER WOMEN AND THE SAFE USE OF DRUGS”, which was originally researched by AWARE – Action on Women’s Addictions – Research and Education and delivered by Fryters in a program called REACH – Reach Elderly Addicts Community Health).