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Stress and everyday annoyances are not crises Situations that interfere with normal activity inspire feelings of panic or defeat and bring about deep emotional reactions are crises A crisis is a turning point or a crucial time that will make a difference for better or worse The Chinese word for crisis is made up of two characters one means despair and the other means opportunity When a person experiences crisis there will either be a negative outcome or a positive one The direction of the outcome depends on a number of factors such as physical and emotional health of the individual support from others childhood upbringing past experience with similar situations and the duration of the crisis situation I propose to focus specifically on the life crises with which the elderly population faces notably the loss of a spouse or companion retirement and contending with a terminal illness Through examining the latter crises and their potential to influence the health of an elderly individual I expect to learn of means by which the elderly may give way to in order not to become overwhelmed with the changes Different life crises have different impacts In many cases however it may be possible to anticipate crises and prepare for them It may also be useful to recognize the impact of crises that have occurred so that one can take account of them appropriately Holmes and Rahe with the Social Readjustment Scale have done some very interesting work in this area This allocates a number of Life Crisis Units to different events so that one can evaluate them and take action accordingly Niven 99 While this approach is obviously a simplification of complex situations using LCUs can give one a useful start in adjusting to life crises With regards to the elderly population namely the events death of a spouse personal illness or injury and retirement rate 100 53 and 45 LCUs respectively One of the most powerful
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