Holistic Healing Options for Senior Citizens

by Mary Ann Dittmeier, BFRP

My favorite memory of a wonderful gift to my dad from his five young adult children, in the 1980’s, was a beautiful precision cut picture with a quote printed in calligraphy, which still hangs in the dining room of my parent’s home. It indicated how foolish we thought our parents were when we were young, and how amazed we were, as we all got older, to find how wise they had become in old age!

AAAHHH, the wisdom, knowledge, patience and peace that comes with maturity. Certainly THEY understood our misunderstanding and they knew we’d eventually see that everything they are, we are. They knew that some day, we’d be in their shoes judged by others as we got older, too. Some cultures worldwide respect and admire their society’s elders. The physical changes experienced during the aging process are expected and accepted as a natural occurrence. In the USA, more times than not, older Americans are disrespected, ridiculed, thought of as old, slow, no longer attractive or useful even burdens!

It’s true that maturity brings grace, knowledge and peace. It also seems to bring comments such as, “It’s terrible getting older,” or “that’s what happens! You lose your hair, get arthritis, hard of hearing, high blood pressure -- that’s old age!” But is it? My favorite comment by the famous endocrinologist and natural health expert, Deepak Chopra, MD is that people get old, get arthritis and die, because they see other people get old, get arthritis and die. His point is that we do not respect the fabulous and limitless healing power of our bodies. We do not give our bodies what they optimally need to have true health, vibrancy and longevity. Dr. Chopra teaches that our spiritual, mental and emotional health contributes directly to our physical health and happiness.

Does getting older really mean high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, losing our hair, our sight and hearing? Do we have to get heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, colon cancer, osteoporosis and broken bones? Disease happens for many, many reasons: genetics, environmental stresses, poor diet over a long term, and work environment. Research being done today indicates that our attitude, personality and spiritual outlook in life are major contributing factors as well.

When illness strikes, we see our family physician. Undoubtedly, we are given a diagnosis and one or more prescriptions for drugs to alleviate the symptoms, but not the cause. These prescriptions may work, and we need to return to the physician for a refill. The drugs may not work, and we need to return to change the dosage or type of prescription. The prescription may cause side-effects or interact with our other medications, and we’ll need to return to the physician for more prescriptions. When do we realize that drugs do not heal? When do we learn about other alternatives that are more effective and carry with them no side-effects? Where in this cycle is the end of illness, the discovery of its cause, where is the healing?

When our bodies, minds and souls are given what they need on an intimate, individual basis (which will be different for each and every one of us), healing can and does occur. The very successful move in modern health care today is the cooperation “integration” of standard medical technology with natural and safe alternative methods of healing. Although new and challenging for many to access and finance such an approach into their life, it IS the answer to naturally longer, healthier, and fulfilling lives.

Current statistics have indicated that over 69% of the general public has used an alternative healing technique in the last year “including chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga, organic food choices, vitamin and herb therapy and meditation.” Over three billion dollars have been spent out-of-pocket for these health care choices, and less than 45% of those using natural health techniques have shared that information with their general care physicians.
Read, learn, and advocate for your rights to access standard and alternative health care. Advocate for insurance coverage for health care that works. Contact a holistic nutritionist to evaluate your health and set up healthy meal plans and dietary guidelines. Look into community sponsored exercise and recreation courses---some even have classes (and personal deliveries) on healthy and light cooking techniques. Browse the bulletin board at your local health food store for healthy choices in food and holistic health professionals in your area; chiropractic, massage, acupuncture & yoga professionals usually have their business cards and flyers posted. Look into homeopathy, aromatherapy and flower remedies for mental and emotional health.

Time passes, aging is inevitable; the cells in our bodies, like a car engine, get old and worn out. But we can do much to live life with zest and vitality, and not expect and accept that our older years mean slowing down and getting ill. Look into all options to find your balance in body, mind and spirit; you will be amazed at the wonder that lies ahead if you do!

Mary Ann Dittmeier, BFRP is a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner, president and founder of FIND YOUR BALANCE, INC. Consultations include your personalized formula of Bach Flower Remedies; Phone consults are available. No minimum requirements on mail orders of remedies, literature and supplies; no extra charge for shipping and handling. Call 631-475-8308 for a schedule of workshops and lectures.