The better an older adult's general sense of well-being, the less likely the person is to go to the doctor for minor symptoms, according to a recent study.
Self-care was studied among 728 Midwestern, rural, community-dwelling people, ages 45-91, in response to 38 common symptoms. The highest ranking symptoms included stiffness in joints, swelling of feet and hands, and nervousness. In reviewing the types of selfcare home remedies, one person was found using a dangerous practice: gargling with turpentine and water.
Self-care practices may be influenced by the seriousness of symptoms, costs of health care, and access to physicians. People who used self-treatment most frequently took prescriptions from the past and over-the-counter medications.
Health-care workers know little about self-care because they are primarily prepared for providing institutional care.
For more information, contact Kathy Huebner, University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston, Public Affairs Office, PO Box 20036, Houston, TX 77225; 713-792-8216.