Old Age Problem
More and more people are living well past the age of retirement. Average living conditions and improvements in the treatment of infectious and other acute diseases are generally held to be the main reasons. This is resulting in an increasing percentage of the whole population being “elderly”. However, many “elderly” people are really pretty healthy and lead very active lives.
Maybe part of the difficulty lies in the fact that not everyone over 60 is the same. Isn’t it interesting that in this series on the seven life stages, the last one is the only one which applies to an age group stretching for more than two decades? Should we really consider people in their 60s to be the same as people in their 90s? For the purposes of this series we will and I am going to get round the labelling problem by making this article be about the “over 60s”.
Another physical problem caused by loss of flow is constipation. It isn’t a subject people like to talk about but the word constipation is used in several different ways. For some people it means they can’t manage to empty their bowels daily, whilst for others, although they can go every day, it is always painful. Calcarea carbonica is a common homeopathic medicine for older people because almost all of its indications are about slowing up. It can be very useful in chronic constipation, but most typically in people who are really not that bothered about that problem. Some will even say they actually feel worse when their bowels move so they almost prefer being constipated. In these patients it seems that all bodily and mental processes have slowed up. They are chilly, usually overweight and do everything slowly.
In older men another flow problem is caused by the prostate gland becoming enlarged and slowing up the flow of urine. It is important to have this problem checked out by a GP because it can occasionally be due to cancer of the prostate gland. However, it is much more commonly due to what is called Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, which is just a simple swelling of the prostate gland. Sabal serrulata is a commonly indicated homeopathic medicine for this condition. Usually when this medicine is useful the prostatic hypertrophy is associated with a degree of impotence.
Chimaphila is another common treatment for the swollen prostate gland, especially where the patient has discomfort which leads him to complain of a sensation as if he is sitting on a ball.
The problem of flow being disturbed at this age is not just a physical one but it is also a mental and a social one. In fact, pain and stiffness in the joints, or having to run frequently to the loo, can have significant impact on a person’s social life preventing them from managing to leave the house and so resulting in them becoming isolated and withdrawn. This can lead to depression which just compounds the feelings of being cut-off.
There are a number of possible homeopathic medicines which might help to alleviate some of the social or emotional isolation by stimulating the person’s healing system, which, in turn, helps them to cope with their changed circumstances. Pulsatilla, mentioned earlier as a common arthritis medicine, is also useful in alleviating these problems because the person in the Pulsatilla-type state will be feeling abandoned and weepy. They will long for company and feel better when others commiserate or sympathise with them.
Another common interruption of flow in the brain is that of sleep function. For many older people sleep just does not flow as easily as it used to. This is partly because as we get older we actually need fewer hours sleep at night whilst we also develop a pattern of cat-napping through the day. Coffea cruda is a treatment for insomnia where the problem is due to a constantly active mind. These people just can’t get to sleep because of the continuous flood of thoughts in their overactive minds.
Passiflora is a particularly commonly indicated treatment for sleeplessness in older people who may be generally a bit weak but may have no other significant problems. Of course if the reason for the insomnia is pain then the cause of the pain must be dealt with directly.