Our life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last 200 years. Facing these facts we have to develop new and inexpensive health care models for the older generation with support systems that help keep the autonomy and independence of a person as long as possible. To reach that goal, there has to be some change in our medical care and social systems. This is only possible when everybody who is involved in this care system is willing to work as a team and being open for new concepts.
Integrative medicine, the combination of conventional and alternative medicine provides excellent concepts for good, holistic care in which the aging person can still be responsible and in charge of his own health. Homeopathy, acupuncture, massage therapies and many more disciplines can help to reduce the amount of medical drugs and provide safe and effective help for geriatric problems. Holistic Medicine is Soul Medicine that contributes to quality and purpose of life and the person’s overall wellbeing.
One of the problems of today’s medicine are multiple prescriptions. Many elderly people are seeing several doctors: the general physician, the cardiologist, the endocrinologist, the ophthalmologist, the nose throat and ear specialist, the physiotherapist, the orthopedist, the neurologist, the urologist, the dermatologist, the dentist and the pharmacist. Each of them prescribes its own medication which finally results in taking too many drugs: pills for pain, digestion, nerves, eyes, heart, bladder, prostate, sleep, depression, anxiety etc. Some of the medications are given just to deal with side effects of another drug. Even the best medical doctor or chemist cannot control side effects or cross links of more than 3 to 5 drugs. Who can keep the overview, who can keep control over the whole?
People feel overwhelmed, they often don’t know what they take for what and often they hate to take all these pills. But what choice do they have?
There should be a person who does “case management”. In addition to managing prescriptions this includes organizing and checking living conditions, physical and social activities and good nutrition. It has to be someone who can accompany the person in a healthy aging process. If there is no relative or friend who can do this, then it should be a professional person. The money spent for that person is a good investment and might save a lot of unnecessary expenses or help avoid medical complications and emergencies. But most of all, it will allow the person to be independent as long as possible.
The most frequent health problems of elderly people are pain, stiffness, and inflexibility caused by physical inactivity over a long period of time. Therefore, it is most important for older people to stay active. A personal trainer can help overcome the initial unwillingness or hesitation toward regular exercise. Chair Yoga or Qi Gong classes provide gentle movements and usually adjust their program to individual needs and capacities. Physical activity is the best prevention for inflexibility and stiffness which is the cause of accidents, fractures, long lasting pain conditions and fear of falling which all leads to more sitting or lying down.
It is a vicious circle, because inactivity also leads to lack of energy depression and memory loss. It may sound weird, but the most important geriatric treatment rule is to activate the person!!!
In the late 60’s, students were living in communities. Do we have to find similar living concepts now for our new older generation? Living places where everybody can have privacy but not at the cost of loneliness?
Here at Lakeside several new living concepts for the elderly are already underway. In addition, the healthy climate, the loving and caring Mexican people, the many options for integrative treatments together with social events, concerts, theater, and literature provide optimal circumstances for successful aging.
For more information contact Barbara Rotthaler, German certified Naturopath, Tel. (376) 1080444, www.ChapalaHealth.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org