2. Older People Need Support
When health is our companion, the latter years of our living can be joyful years, indeed. The major challenges of life have been met. These should be the years of new adventure. However, if we are old and sick and filled with doubts about tomorrow, as so many of our elderly friends are, then we have a tendency to accept defeat before we should, largely because we are without family or friends to provide encouraging loving support.
Every living person has the marvelous gift of vital force, some more, some less. But, whatever the amount, it gives opportunity, an opportunity to create, to accomplish, to give a part of one’s self back to the world in exchange for the gift. This is true of the elderly ones as well as of the younger members of society. While life remains, there is also potential. When older people are taught how to live according to Hygienic principles, they often become enthusiastic, moreso than they were for years, and begin to share their rich experiences with us and with others, to the enrichment of all.
As a rule, younger members of society have more vitality than most of the older people. They also have that idyllic vision of the future which inspires them to be problem solvers and doers. However, far too many of our senior citizens have lost their vision of the future. They are defeated at the beginning of each new day instead of being challenged by the rising sun. It is the purpose of this lesson to make the elderly ones who may seek your counsel as a Hygienic practitioner more real to you as individuals who have successfully coped with life’s problems; they have overcome the stresses but now find the way weary. They ask of you some measure of support along the way.
With meaningful support, the elderly can often survive crisis periods which might otherwise serve to defeat them. Some four years or so ago, we were consulted about the condition of a 93-year-old gentleman who had recently suffered a mild stroke. He had difficulty in getting around, was somewhat senile, and had just about lost all interest in people, life and living. The prognosis was dim, indeed, considering his great age.
However, this man had a brother, not actually a brother by reason of birth but, nevertheless, a brother in spirit. The brother had been introduced to Natural Hygiene at one of our infrequent lectures. He studied and began to incorporate Hygienic practices into his own daily living. When his brother became ill, he introduced him to Natural Hygiene, too. At first, the way was rather unsteady. Habit patterns are deeply etched on the nerve pathways of the old. But, the brother persisted and it wasn’t too long before this 93-year-old was busy every single day. He watered the many trees and shrubs which made his yard a veritable paradise of greenery. He set out seeds and seedlings and watched them grow as he administered his loving care.
We talked with him and he told us how he had been a merchant seaman and about all the many countries of the world he had visited; about how he had jumped ship in San Francisco after the Russian revolution and had become an American navy man. What stories he told! It was exciting to watch his mind open up.
About a year ago, he presented Dr. Elizabeth with a young fan palm tree, just a little over a foot or so tall. He had grown the little tree from a seed. Unaided, the old man lifted the little tree in its container and placed it in the back of our station wagon, receiving a hug and a kiss in return!
Today that little palm tree grows just outside the entrance to our home. Every time we look out the window of our consulting room, we see that little tree. It is now more than four feet tall. Some day it will be a giant among giants. To us, that tree represents a love which will endure for generations to come, not just a tree to view and admire. That tree also represents hope. We point it out to the despairing ones and tell them its story. We often see their spines straighten and their eyes light up. They know that if this 93-year-old can do it, they can, too!
This wonderful friend recently celebrated his 97th birthday. To celebrate he went for a medical examination. The examining physician shook his head in wonder and told our friend, “The only thing we can find wrong with you is a little edema in your ankles. Other than that, you are fine!”
Was the old man content? After all, what’s a little edema? We see that sort of thing all around us, don’t we? No! He was not content. Our friend, you see, is a very determined man. He announced in a firm voice, “I will now give up bread!” We all sat back in astonishment. His brother had been trying to get him to give up bread from the very beginning, but to no avail. You see, he wasn’t ready yet. But now he had made up his own mind: “No more bread!”
There is a lesson for all Hygienists to learn here, perhaps several. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give is the gift of hope and especially when it is given to the elderly ones in love. This is the gift that both directs and inspires. It is easy, of course, to present a plan of action; it takes love to inspire performance. Our 93-year-old friend also gives us another lesson: in working with our older clients, in addition to having the knowledge of what to do and the ability to offer love and support, we are also required to have patience.
Love is conveyed, of course, in many ways: in the way we look, in our manner of speaking, in our attitude toward the client. It shows in the patience we display when our client expresses ideas which may appear somewhat “peculiar” to us but which are, nevertheless, important to the person before us—even if only for a passing moment. Our love shows in the way we greet and say goodbye, and in our acceptance of the fact that most of our elderly clients will require time, time to tell their story as they wish to tell it, and time to adjust rather slowly to a new and strange way of eating and living. Through the love you give to them, the older person comes to know and gratefully accept the fact that you have their best interests at heart. In other words, they have your much-needed support as they try to regain some better measure of health.
In order to prepare you to become more capable of giving this kind of support to your senior citizen clients, we ask you to retravel in your mind’s eye the long road of life with us, to take the train ride, as it were, just as the average person living today in America is doing. Much of what we have to say will, of course, pertain to persons living in all countries of the world, but we are all individuals. However, in this discussion we will be looking at gross details for the purpose of following a single common thread, the rising tide of toxicosis, and the wasting effect of the physiological and biological errors on the potential of the newly-born as each person takes the train ride through life.
In presenting this overview of life we wish to emphasize that what we present is life as it is presently lived, not what it should or could be, if Hygienic principles and practices were universally adopted.
When we have completed our imaginary ride through life, we will then present some case studies which will provide our students with some capsule glimpses of Natural Hygiene at work in the lives of some of our senior citizen clients.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Older People Need Support
- 3. The Path We Travel
- 4. A Contrasting View
- 5. The American Express
- 6. The Hygienic Approach—Case Studies
- Article #1: Inward Time By Alexis Carrel, M.D.
- Article #2: Overnutrition—All About Protein By The Doctors McCarter
- Article #3: Health
- Article #4: Why Exercise?