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Seniors and pills, medications and remedies

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on February 21, 2018 with No Comments

 When I was younger, I never thought I’d be discussing pills, vitamins, remedies and supplements with my friends.  However, today, I discussed “pooping” with one of my friends and we both learned something.

I have hated taking any medication or vitamin, even aspirin, until I was in my 50s.  Now I take or know about hundreds of vitamins, gummies, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, remedies, and supplements—and regularly take many of them.

I have learned that many of us don’t really know about some useful medical remedies and supplements, or don’t know the proper way to use them or what they do.  Some of them are helpful for some people but not for others.  Some are totally useless for anyone.

For instance, with age I find it harder to go to sleep at night. I have taken prescription medications, but didn’t like them because I felt muddled (more than usual) when I woke up. Now I occasionally take Melatonin, an over-the-counter medication that helps me go to sleep.  Others have told me that it does little or nothing for them.

Recently, a family member mentioned taking fiber gummies as a source of fiber that aids in bowel movements—another aging problem solved for me.  It worked surprisingly well.  Laxatives and stool softeners can be too strong, but fiber gummies are more natural.  There also are medications, treatments and remedies for your memory, joints, cholesterol, prostate, blood, blood pressure, muscles, skin, and just about any other system or body part you can think of.

The best advice I can give is that if you hear of something that you think will help you in the way it is advertised, try it.  If it doesn’t help after a month or so, stop taking it. Don’t expect every over-the-counter drug or remedy to do for you what it claims. And don’t take things just because someone tells you to, unless it is your physician.

As seniors we often have a weaker immune system and develop allergies that we’ve never had before.  Sometimes we need help with natural bodily functions.  There is no reason to be worried or bothered by this effect of aging.  Learn how to deal with it rather than waste time with worry.

Learning about the many medications, supplements and remedies can provide some pleasant surprises. For instance, I often go to the mountains and in recent years have had problems with altitude sickness.  There are prescription medications for this, but they have unpleasant side effects for me.  During a recent trip, I was taking ibuprofen for a shoulder injury.  I noticed that I was having much less trouble with the altitude for no apparent reason.  Then, two nurses told me that ibuprofen has something in it that thins the blood and dramatically relieves altitude symptoms with no side effects.

Another aging issue that I discovered a remedy for was acid reflux.  Sometimes after eating some foods, especially fruits, I couldn’t swallow anything for quite a while.  A friend told me to use a Tums® (or any antacid tablet); I let it dissolve in my mouth and the feeling went away.  This problem, sometimes called acid indigestion or heartburn, is common with the elderly.

I have learned that there are countless problems seniors have that can be relieved, cured or improved by taking remedies and supplements.  Often a doctor’s prescription is required for the best solution.  However, I believe that having knowledge about all the different products out there will help you decide what is the best option.  Good luck!

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About Bill Leavitt

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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