Older women and drugs, part four

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - OPINION - JOHN FRYTERS

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).

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