Staying Healthy after 40
The scriptures make clear that our physical bodies are gifts from our Heavenly Father and that they not only house our spirits but also, as we are worthy, are a place where the Holy Ghost can dwell.
Our bodies can be defiled, both spiritually and physically, by acts of commission as well as by acts of omission. The medical care we may neglect to give our bodies can be just as harmful in the long run as the ill effects of poor nutrition and lack of exercise.
As we get older, we should be especially aware of changes in our bodies and our health. We should not trust solely in our own judgment, however. By ourselves, we generally cannot detect silent menaces such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or glaucoma. Some conditions manifest themselves only after damage is done. Other conditions may pass on their own. But because some conditions may grow worse if untreated, we should take advantage of available health tests and procedures.
So how can we help protect our health as we age? For those 40 and older, the best place to start is a comprehensive physical examination. Most of the health problems associated with aging start after about age 40, so regular physical examinations are important. “A good physical examination periodically is a safeguard and may spot problems that can be remedied,” taught President Ezra Taft Benson (“Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Oct. 1986, 2–3).
A comprehensive physical examination should include the following measurements and tests: height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, fecal occult blood test and sigmoidoscopy (for colon cancer), urinalysis, prostate and rectal examination for men, and a Pap smear, pelvic, and breast examination for women.
Many diseases and illnesses are preventable. As part of a physical examination, your doctor should update your medical history and lifestyle inventory to determine what health problems might run in your family and what behaviors might lead to potential health problems. For women, your doctor should also show you how to conduct your own monthly breast examination.
Based on the results of your examination and medical history, your doctor will make recommendations about future evaluations and their frequency. Key to monitoring your health is to find a doctor in whom you have confidence.
In addition, adults should remember to get necessary vaccinations. All adults need a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years. Many, especially those older than 65 or those with significant health problems, should get an annual influenza vaccination about a month before the start of flu season. Your doctor can advise you on whether you might need other tests and vaccinations.
Because our bodies are gifts from our Heavenly Father, we should care for them. Healthy people, after all, are more capable of serving others and of prolonging their own ability to carry forth the Lord’s work here on earth.—, Tucson, Arizona
Words That Build Worth
Children’s perceptions of themselves are formed largely by how their parents treat them. Some parents, though loving and concerned, inadvertently send unloving and critical messages that may lead their children to have feelings of low self-worth. At right are some typical expressions parents sometimes use and how they could be better phrased to build a child’s confidence.—, Granite View Ward, Sandy Utah Granite View Stake
Phrases to Avoid
1. “Here, let me do it for you.”
2. “Quit picking on your brother.”
3. “I don’t know if I can trust you after what you did.”
4. “Stop doing that!”
5. “You are too small. Wait until you are bigger.”
6. “How could you do such a thing?”
7. “Oh, you poor thing! You’re hurt.”
8. “Why can’t you be like your brother?”
9. “If you had tried harder you could have done better.”
Phrases to Use
1. “I’ll bet you can do it by yourself.”
2. “I’m sure you and your brother can work this out.”
3. “We’re depending on you.”
4. “Try this instead.”
5. “You do a good job in that.”
6. “What can we learn from this?”
7. “You’re taking this bravely.”
8. “You do very well in these areas.”
9. “I appreciate the effort you’ve put in.”
Sacrament Meeting Quiz
During many of the years our six children were growing up, my husband served in a bishopric or other calling that prevented him from sitting with us in sacrament meeting. To help our children be more reverent and focus more on the meeting, we tried something we called the Question Game.
Each child brought a small notepad and pencil to sacrament meeting. After the sacrament had been passed, the notebooks came out and the children began taking notes on what occurred during the meeting. They wrote down who spoke and what they talked about, what hymns we sang, who conducted the meeting, who passed the sacrament, and other details. Younger children drew pictures of things they observed.
Once home, we wrote questions on slips of paper about things we had observed during sacrament meeting. The slips of paper were placed in a large bowl, and each of us in turn drew out a question and tried to answer it. If we didn’t know the answer, we could call on someone else. Often a question would lead to a 5- or 10-minute discussion of a gospel concept. Those who answered correctly received a small reward. By the time the bowl was emptied of questions, we had enjoyed an interesting review of sacrament meeting.
Because our children wanted to come up with the best questions, they stayed more alert and listened more reverently during sacrament meeting. We also found our question game an appropriate activity for our Sunday gospel study time.—, Farragut Ward, Knoxville Tennessee Stake
Planning Family Home Evening Together
“But the lesson’s not ready,” my 10-year-old moaned, even though the family home evening chart on the wall clearly had her name in the space marked “lesson.” And my 10-year-old wasn’t the only one in our family who sometimes wasn’t prepared when Monday evening came around.
To help solve the problem, we decided to regularly set aside one family home evening to help each other prepare our lessons in advance.
We begin by praying for the Holy Ghost to help us in our preparation. Then we give everyone a copy of the following sample lesson plan:
Topic. Decide what you want the family to learn.
Attention-getter. Choose an object lesson, quiz, word search, picture, puzzle, or scripture hunt that will introduce the topic.
Story. Choose a story from the Family Home Evening Resource Book, Gospel Art Picture Kit, Primary manual, scripture reader, or Church magazines.
Scripture for the week. Using the Topical Guide in the scriptures, select a verse that supports the lesson. Write it on a 3x5 card for the family to learn during the following week.
Testimony. Bear your testimony or express your feelings of the things you have just taught.
Activity. Choose a game or art project that will reinforce the lesson topic.
To help prepare the lessons, have Church magazines, scriptures, hymnals, and other materials nearby. Older children can work independently with only an occasional question for parents. Younger children get help from parents or older siblings. By the end of the evening, every one has a family home evening lesson prepared, complete with visual aids and handouts.
Now when Monday night rolls around and our 10-year-old realizes it’s her turn to teach, she quickly pulls out her lesson and materials to review before family home evening time. That leaves me free to help the child who is wailing, “But I didn’t know I had refreshments.”—, Chamberburg First Ward, York Pennsylvania Stake