Faculty Questions and Answers

Joan Dorman
Joan Dorman

Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing Joan Dorman has been with Purdue Calumet for more than nine years. She discusses her views on the topic of “Adult Healthcare”.

Q. What are the three top health tips for people as they age?

A. We often marvel at technological advances and all the great inventions of our time, but the human body is still the most amazing of all. That being said, the body needs to be handled with care and respect. This means you have to give it the nutrients it needs and keep all its parts moving. You have to exercise your body and your brain.

Have advanced directives that are clear, understandable and express your wishes should you wind up in a debilitated state. This will not only be a comfort to you, but it also may give solace to your loved ones.

I had the honor of knowing a gentleman who passed away a few months ago at the age of 103. Frank was really a marvel. He walked every day and had amazing flexibility. One day, I just had to ask to what he attributed his long life. Frank answered that he simply avoided sugar. I have been avoiding sugar ever since.

Q. What is the importance of exercise in an adult’s life?

A. I grew up hearing , “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. As I grow older, I realize that statement is really true. Certainly, we all lose muscle mass and strength as we age, but we don’t have to help that process. Exercise is essential in maintaining, not only our physical capabilities, but also our overall sense of well-being. It is that sense of well-being that then motivates us to do more and enjoy life to the fullest.

Q. What is the impact of stress?

A. Mild stress is so interwoven in our lives that it would be impossible to imagine life without it. It probably begins in infancy when a baby wants to eat and has to wait a few minutes. It continues through all our childhood years, like not getting picked for a team.

And then in the teen years, stress really builds. As adults, we fluctuate between mild, moderate and extreme stress. We get used to the mild stress. It can even be a great motivator. It gets us moving in our search for equilibrium. Moderate stress elicits the flight or fright response that gets our sympathetic nervous system responding with physical symptoms.

But extreme stress can be harmful – physically, psychologically, and even spiritually. It tests our best-honed coping mechanisms and it can lead to illness or severe depression. For this reason, it is very important that adults have a strong support system that they can turn to in times of extreme stress.

Q. Why do many people work beyond retirement age?

A. Work is often a large part of a person’s life and may be part of one’s identity. So the question becomes, “Who am I if I am not a teacher, (or a nurse, or an accountant)?” Then, there is the concern about how one would fill all the hours in the day if not working at a job. Finally, I think there are financial concerns in our present economy. For all these reasons, the potential retiree may well decide it is better to keep working.

Q. Where should an adult go for health resources?

A. All of the hospital systems in Northwest Indiana have wonderful resources, such as support groups, informational classes and printed materials. They also publish calendars of events.