A few nights ago I saw a movie called “The Savages” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney.
It was a good movie, with great acting and a witty, honest and challenging storyline . It’s description reads – “When an estranged and senile father starts failing, his son and daughter are suddenly burdened with the heavy chore of care-giving for a man who once neglected and abused them”.
Even though it was a story about family – the story that wasn’t being told was one about health. With the father ailing with dementia and losing control of his bodily functions; it is necessary for his children to place him in full time care. This sadly is the case for so many of us with aging parents and is an issue that is incredibly difficult to face – often bringing with it guilt, heartache and frustration at not being able to do more.
Does it have to be this way though? That is a question that I have asked myself many a time – watching my grandparents suffer and having friends who have had to make hard decisions over the care of their loved ones.
And I don’t believe that it does have to be this way.
I have known many people in their 70′ and 80’s who remain healthy and vital and are active members of society, not succumbing to the standard “diseases” of aging. The main difference being that health has always been a priority to them, and they have spent years eating healthful food, exercising both their body and mind, engaging in their own self development and growth, as well as having a passion in life that contributes to society.
Even though there are no guarantees with health, and none of us have all the answers – to my mind, taking active steps to look after myself now, can only benefit me in the years to come. None of us want to end our lives in diapers in a hospital bed. Degenerative, chronic illness doesn’t happen overnight, it is years in the making – so I prefer to spend those years doing what I can to enhance my health.
Sometimes it takes a movie such as this to remind us of how important it is to remain healthy and independent as long we can, and to have the best quality of life possible, whatever our age.
Chronic, debilitating illness is also something that can often be helped or reversed with natural medicine – again, at any age. There are numerous studies showing improvement in cognitive function, mobility and energy levels with nutritional supplementation in elderly patients.
It’s never too late to get started…