Homeopathy for the elderly
I was recently invited to give a talk on homeopathy to a spritely group of elderly people, ranging in age from late 70’s to a very proud 98! Whilst preparing for the talk, I considered that thanks to better healthcare and living conditions, more and more people are living well past the age of retirement. Many so-called elderly are fairly healthy and lead an active life.
This longevity raises the issue of quality of life. We tend to take our health for granted until we don’t have it.
Many conditions of old age are chronic, due to degeneration of bodily functions and tissues, resulting in a natural slowing down. However, we can enjoy good health at all stages of life, by sticking to a sensible diet, regular exercise and mental stimulation.
Characteristic conditions or illnesses in the over 60’s cause life to flow less smoothly. Symptoms can be alleviated with homeopathy, correctly prescribed by a qualified homeopathic practitioner.
On the physical level, the pain and swelling of arthritic joints can be a barrier to fully enjoying life.
Some of the homeopathic remedies one could could recommend, when a person’s individual symptoms fit, are:
BRYONIA: every movement is painful, though wanting to move, so the person needing Bryonia will try to keep very still, even hold the affected part to gain some relief.
PULSATILLA: here gentle continued movement relieves the pain which is constantly changing from one area of the body to another.
RHUS TOX: is very restless, however the first movement of the affected joint is very painful as it has stiffened up with rest. The pain reduces with continued movement. Rhus Tox is adversely affected by cold and damp.
Please note that homeopathic medicines cannot stop the wear and tear of the joints, however, by stimulating the body’s natural process of healing, they can ameliorate much of the stiffness and pain.
A second physical issue that prevents you from enjoying life is constipation. Not the most agreeable subject, but the person suffering with chronic constipation feels uncomfortable, to say the least. Constipation means either an inability to open your bowels every day or when doing so, experiencing pain. Drinking enough liquids and incorporating daily exercise (as in going for a short walk) are extremely helpful.
CALCAREA CARBONICA: is commonly recommended as it proves to be quite useful in chronic constipation, most typically by those who are not bothered by it. Further indications are being chilly, usually overweight and doing everything slowly.
SILICA: strain hard to pass a stool, have rectal pain (perhaps and anal fissure). Indicated when there is a deficient metabolism with a tendency for slow healing of cuts, scratches and infections.
ALUMINA: has constipation with anxiety and ineffectual urging. Cannot pass stool or urine if others are within hearing distance.
Isolation: pain and stiffness in one’s joints or having to go frequently to the loo can create a significant impact on one’s life, making it more difficult to leave the house and so becoming isolated and withdrawn. This can then lead to depression which then compounds the cut-off feeling.
A number of remedies might help relieve, as by stimulating a person’s healing system they then cope better with their circumstances.
PULSATILLA: The Pulsatilla-type will feel weepy, abandoned. They long for company and feel better for sympathy.
MAGNESIUM CARBONICUM: can possibly help when the person is feeling very isolated, sensitive to cruelty, sad stories and especially violence on TV. They also complain that their pains are unbearable and can have short flare ups of anger.
Sleep problems: as we age, many of us find that sleep is not as good as it used to be. We actually need fewer hours of sleep at night and develop a pattern of catnapping during the day.
COFFEA CRUDA: is recommended for insomnia where the problem is an overactive mind. A continuous flow of thoughts prevents the person from falling asleep.
PASSIFLORA: is particularly good for sleeplessness in someone who is weak but without any other significant problems.
CUPRUM METALLICUM: if waking up because of night cramps, a dose of Cuprum before bedtime can ease.
Obviously, if it is pain that is preventing sleep, then the cause must be addressed directly.
In the later years of life, there can also be prostate problems for men, effects of grief and loss, memory problems and dementia, but they will be addressed in a later blog.
There are positives to growing older, it’s not all about suffering and loss. At all stages of life good health, whether mental or physical, can help us grow.
Homeopathy focusses on improving ones health, it recognises that we are all different and each have our own unique way of coping.
A well chosen homeopathic remedy can help to promote health at any age.