Saturday, August 27, 2016


I am often asked why there are few articles on health and medicine on SeniorsAloud blog and SeniorsAloud FB. Surely, at our age health issues are uppermost in our minds. In our daily sourcing for news and info to share with our readers, we often come across articles on miracle cures and quick-fix health tips. We read all the articles, but hesitate to re-post or share them. The same with similar info that comes to us via Whatsapp chat groups.

Cures like this are shared on WhatsApp 
& FB. Where's the source of reference?
Why? It is so easy to share info via social media. So why do we think twice before we click on 'Publish', 'Post' or 'Send'?

The reason is simple. We are mindful of our responsibility to share only health and medical info that is backed by credible sources, and/or supported by reliable research data. We triple-check so-called miracle cures, test out certain health claims and refer to medical professionals before we share the info. If in doubt, we don't. A simple rule but one that we adhere to strictly. We do not want anyone to take our advice, and later inform us that it doesn't work. Or worse, that they suffered terrible side effects!

A case in point. Many of you would have seen the video that has gone viral recently of this lady demonstrating tongue exercises. Apparently doing this daily will prevent Alzheimer's Disease. Is this based on scientific fact? Where is the research data? How come there is no mention of it from world-renown cancer research universities like Johns Hopkins or from Azheimer's Disease Organizations? For sure, you won't see this video posted on our SeniorsAloud blog or FB.

This cancer update keeps re-surfacing and circulating on the internet. It's a hoax!
When in doubt, always check the source to see if a claim is a fact or a hoax. With Google search, we can verify almost anything. Having said that, the internet is also often the source of much misinformation and untruths. We just have to broaden our search coverage, do some investigative work and apply a bit of common sense to conclude whether this piece of info is genuine, or not.

Now that we have made our stand clear, allow us to offer some advice to well-meaning folks out there who routinely share info on health and nutrition, and remedies for all kinds of ailments and diseases. For all your good intentions, you may be doing more harm than good. Take the example of bananas. It is recommended for a multitude of medical conditions. But for people with diabetes, it is advisable as a precautionary measure to know how much to take, as bananas have high sugar content.

The claims may have some basis, but be suspicious of any single food or wonder medicine that is a cure-all.
Here are some questions to reflect on before we circulate info on the health benefits and curative effects of certain foods:
  1. Do we have any medical qualifications that allow us to share medical advice with others? 
  2. Do we have any background training or experience in healthcare?
  3. Have we checked out if a miracle cure is genuine or a hoax? 
  4. Have we personally tried out a natural cure, or know someone who has?
  5. Some of us may have underlying health issues that could cause complications if we take unverified miracle cures or wonder drugs. What works for one person may not work for another. We are all different. Are we ready to offer advice based on hearsay and claims? 
By circulating medical or dietary advice that is forwarded to us by friends or that is sourced from dubious websites, we are no better than armchair travellers who have never ventured beyond the comfort of their homes, but who would readily dish out travel tips to back-packers travelling to India for the first time, or to retirees on their maiden holiday cruise to the Caribbean.

This blogger did the right thing by inserting a disclaimer, so readers are forewarned.

Are you prepared to be held responsible if someone suffers adverse effects from following the advice that you share? At least put in a disclaimer that anyone who follows the advice does so at his own risk. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Coping with the grief of losing a loved one is not easy. At our age, many of us would have experienced the pain of bereavement, whether it is the loss of a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling or a friend. With the passage of time, most of us find the strength to get on with life. But there are some who are so consumed with grief they are unable to function on a day-to-day basis. If unresolved, their grief may result in poor health, depression and even suicidal tendencies.

I first heard about Dr Edmund Ng back in 2009 from a newspaper announcement of a talk on grief counselling that he was giving at Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club. Having lost my beloved sister three years earlier, and still hadn't quite fully got over my loss, I decided to attend Dr Ng's talk.

I was glad I did. I could relate to everything Dr Ng said - the guilt, the blame, the bitterness and regret that a grieving person experiences when he loses a loved one.

Dr Ng delivering a talk on "Helping Your Children Grieve Properly".
Dr Edmund Ng is the founder of GGP Outreach. Its tagline is "Grace to Grieving Persons". Having gone through personal loss himself, Dr Ng spoke with conviction and credibility. His audience comprised mostly grieving spouses.

Since 2009, Dr Ng has been reaching out to bereaved families with his talks as well as providing financial assistance to help those in need, especially widows.

Here is a summary of Dr Ng's Do's and Don'ts for the grieving person based on the talk that I attended.
  1. Allow yourself time and space to rest after the funeral activities are over.
  2. Accept help from your friends and relatives.
  3. Acknowledge that it takes time to heal the pain.
  4. Find an outlet to channel your thoughts away from reliving the loss.
  5. Take charge of your emotions.
  6. Be patient with your children. They are trying their best to cope too.
  7. Look after your health.
  8. Know that you are not alone. Seek a support group or a counsellor.
  9. Re-connect with other people.
  10. Remain active.
  11. Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  12. Don't fall prey to temptations like drinking and taking drugs.
  13. Don't make hasty decisions.
  14. Find strength and comfort in God.
  15. Keep a journal and record your thoughts and feelings.

If you have recently experienced a loss in the family and would like some counselling to help you get through your loss, Dr Ng will be giving a talk "Beyond Grief: A Guide for Recovering from the Loss of a Loved One" at Menara Star this Saturday 6 August, 2016 from 10.30am to 12.00pm. Free admission. Register at

For more about the event, click on this link.