Cycles and stages of life bring with them changes in our autonomy.
The years of senior living can be remarkable regarding challenging patterns of change in the categories of memory, mental acuity, mobility and behavior, all which can affect our independence.
Allopathic medicine manipulates our age-related resilience with various drugs which, unfortunately, sooner or later create within us new drug- induced symptoms and diseases.
Over medication at any time is a serious issue. But in our elder years over medication can occur more easily and more quickly. A caring person needs to observe and be cognizant of this possibility.
HOMEOPATHY FRONT AND CENTER!
I like to think of Homeopathy as the health care insurance for which we pay very little, but which keeps on giving back in a very generous way! Over all the cycles and stages of life from pregnancy, through labor and delivery, childhood, adolescence, middle age and our senior years to our transitioning stage, homeopathy helps us heal innately.
NO SIDE EFFECTS!
When we choose a Homeopathic medicine most similar to the symptoms of the ailing senior, we can make better the pain of arthritis, the hazy memory, the mental confusion, the inveterate constipation and the unusual personality changes, all without side effects. We are not necessarily looking to resolve the symptoms at this stage of life but to make them better, to palliate (although deeper healing is still a possibility.)
There are many homeopathic medicines for the symptoms that plague us in our elder years. Amanda Castro has compiled a chart to help us learn more about just some of them. You can access her chart here:
One of the medicines featured in the chart is Baryta carbonica. Its cousin is Baryta muriaticum, a homeopathic medicine which helped a 90+ year old widow with problems in her elder years. She was a spry alert woman with short term memory problems who walked her dog morning and afternoon, read the newspaper front to back and was a cracker jack crossword puzzle solver.
Slipping on some Christmas decorations, she suffered a lacerated, contused skull along with a compression fracture of her back. She was unconscious for a short time. Her care was neglected by some ‘nearby family’ members.
Seven days post fall she was visited by other family from farther away who found her in a dehydrated weakened condition with a weight loss of about 9 pounds. She was in significant pain. All she wanted to do was lie on her sofa with eyes closed.
A medical visit resulted in a recommendation for Tylenol and a Lidocaine patch for back pain. A home care agency was contacted for round the clock in-home care.
Arnica was given for head injury with possible concussion, back pain and shock.
A week later her pain was better, but she still did not want to leave her bed to eat. Her memory and ability/ desire to communicate had worsened and in addition she was now wetting herself, requiring a diaper.
I read the Lidocaine insert and realized she was receiving too much of the drug. The home care person was allowing her to wear it all the time and was not following the additional directions for use in an elder person, where their skin is thin with little fat beneath. The drug affects the CNS. The Lidocaine patch was removed from the house.
Without Lidocaine she showed more alertness, ate better and no longer needed to wear a diaper. But even so, she had no desire to read or do crosswords or care for her dog. There was a degree of helplessness and hiding within herself which had not left her.
Eventually, funds for 24/7 home care diminished which meant she had to leave her home for institutionalized assisted living.
One day she caught her foot in her bed sheet and fell, twisting her back. A visit to her PC resulted in him prescribing Hospice and their morphine. He also determined she had an abdominal aortic aneurysm which he said would take her life at any time.
After a few months on morphine, she talked about delusions she had been experiencing, acknowledging that she knew they were not real. I let her know I suspected morphine and did she want to go off it. She discontinued it and found that just one Tylenol at bedtime gave her just as good pain relief for her back. Most importantly, the delusions vanished.
She liked how homeopathic medicines had helped her in the past and I felt I could help her again, now that I had a few solid symptoms:
- Constipation – a feeling of never done
- Child-like disposition
- Abdominal aneurism
- Memory, loss
I decided on Baryta muriaticum, a cousin remedy to Baryta carbonica, because of its affinity for the aneurysm as well as the other symptoms. Within seconds of taking the medicine, visible pulsation of the aneurysm under her thin shirt was observed /felt by us both. Then in about the same amount of time, it was no longer noticeable or felt. I sat next to her bed while she took a 2-hour nap. She woke feeling brighter, more cognizant and told me how much she had always loved me.
Her sense of self, mental clarity, appetite and more remained improved over several months, until her itching dry skin became a problem. The ‘nearby family’ consulted the PC about her skin. Over a few more months she was given increasing doses of Benadryl – increasing doses because it was not helping at low doses. (There are many precautions associated with the taking of Benadryl, one of them is that it can cause itching skin.)
Eventually the drug caused increasing symptoms of CNS depression, one of the precautions. One night she woke, called the night nurse in to tell her she was dying, upon which she returned to her bed and took her last breaths.
Morphine and Hospice did not ‘usher her out’, but Benadryl did.
IS THAT ALL THERE IS?
Speaking of ‘ushering someone out’…. my guess is we would all like to have a good death, as we all want to have a good life. After my own mother died, I called her best friend, since they were 5 years, to tell her. She was sad, of course, and reflected that “we are born to die”. It is a truism. And when the aspect of death and other realms envelope us, we can, if we talk with family and care givers about it, have help with homeopathic medicines, even along with allopathic drugs if needed.
Homeopathy ‘midwifes’ us through our transition, being so good at minimizing suffering and maximizing awareness.
Carbo vegetabilis is a homeopathic medicine made from activated charcoal which can help revive someone who has poor oxygenation, is having difficulty breathing, desires to be fanned, who may show blueness around the eyes and on the lips. (It has been in the literature over the last 2-3 years in its application for someone suffering from these symptoms due to Covid.) It may help an individual bide time to say goodbye to loved ones.
Arsenicum album can bring comfort for the person who fears death, is restless with this anxiety and fear where they are worse in the early hours of the morning, who may have burning pains that are better from heat/warmth. There can also be a desire to have things in control or anxiety about not having things ‘finished’ or ‘ready’.
Tarentula cubensis is a homeopathic medicine known to help ease the intense stinging or burning pain as person struggles to transition. Even after Arsenicum has helped with the anxiety and fear, Tarentula can be thought of when morphine is not providing the relief it is reputed to do.
A woman in her 80’s had experienced a minor heart attack. She had been suffering from a weak heart for some time, a condition which took over her life after her religious leader scorned, shunned and ex-communicated her.
She was in denial about going to the ER, but I suspect she really did not want to go and be saved in order to live a compromised life, be a burden to her family. Her excuse was that first she had to find out if she had enough money to pay for an ambulance.
She spent the last hour of her life checking all her financial files and other information so that all would be in order and easy to find. She then took to her bed, talked to her friend about what they would have for dinner, told him she loved him, took a deep breath and passed over. There had not been any bad pain.
She had taken Carbo vegetabilis. I do think this gave her time to see that her papers were in order. I did not arrive in time to give my mother Arsenicum album which, along with my presence, I think would have given her ease.
THE POTENCY QUESTION
When using a best selected homeopathic medicine for seniors / elders think about the vital energy of that person and what issues or pathologies are present. Using potencies of 30c or under is most reasonable. One dose and wait, stop, to see if the minimum dose will stimulate the vital force to a level of healing. If the medicine was helpful and if symptoms become worse again, that is the time to repeat the same potency. If the remedy does not help, be sure to contact a professional homeopathic practitioner.
The information contained in this article is not meant to take the place of the care from a professional health care provider.
This information does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the author or the organization but does represent peer reviewed literature on the topics as well as evidence based clinical data from over the past 200 years.
Atul Gawande, Being Mortal
National Center for Homeopathy, http://www.homeopathycenter.org
Death Doulas http://www.deathdoulas.com