Tom Bauer, M.D., can usually tell a lot about his older patients’ well-being when they walk in the door.
It is oftentimes obvious if they have been eating right, exercising and socializing.
Dr. Bauer’s practice is at Great Bend Internists, which is owned by St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center.
“Those who enjoy a healthy lifestyle are more energetic and their minds are clearer,” Dr. Bauer said. “Their weight is under control and they simply feel better.
“This is as opposed to those who are sedentary,” he continued. “They have fatigue, depression, a lack of energy and interest, and low self-esteem.”
More than half of Dr. Bauer’s patients are age 70 and older.
When he sees his energetic patients, he encourages them to continue their healthy lifestyle. And when the not-so-energetic patients come in, he emphasizes the importance of eating right and moving around.
“There are many things that are under our control,” Dr. Bauer said. “These include regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a proper weight. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, but I guarantee they will allow you to feel better.”
Dr. Bauer, 70, practices what he preaches by jogging and biking on a regular basis. He suggests walkers try for one or two miles a day, or 15 to 30 minutes most days of the week.
When someone is struggling with weight problems, Dr. Bauer also suggests 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day.
Breakfast could be bacon and eggs, but no toast or hash browns. Or maybe some oatmeal and juice. He suggests making tuna or chicken salad early in the week and having it for lunch. This could mean an open-face sandwich, along with fresh or canned fruit, and skim milk.
Dinner might be an 8-ounce lean hamburger patty with just half the bun, green beans and skim milk. He also suggests eating out only once a week.
“If you stick to something like this, you will lose weight,” he said.
And if anyone thinks Dr. Bauer is a kill-joy, he also noted that everyone should treat themselves one day a week.
For those who honestly cannot start an exercise program because of injury or a stroke, Dr. Bauer often recommends St. Rose’s Rehab Services.
“Our physical and other therapists can help with a wide variety of concerns,” Dr. Bauer said. “These include strength, balance and the alleviation of some aches and pains.”
Dr. Bauer also noted that it is crucial for seniors to get out of the house and socialize with family and friends.
“Loners are missing out on a lot, and I can tell you they will feel better if they are active in their community. Becoming a shut-in definitely has consequences. And none of them are good.”