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An Overview of Geriatric Disorders and the Role of Homoeopathy

Prof. Dr. Diwan Harish Chand

Homoeopathy covers not only all the seven ages from the cradle to the grave, but can cover the extra forty weeks from the moment of begining of life with impregnation of the ovum by prenatal eugenics. This can help to remove some inherited tendencies. Prof. Dr. Diwan Harish Chand gives the role of homoeopathy in treating greiatric problems.

The aim of gerontology was summed-up by the immortal Sanskrit poet, Kalidas who lived in the century before the beginning of Christian era, in three words which are translated as “Ageing without senescence.”

Our ancients put the life span as a 100 years divided into 4 quarters. This was a very practical approach but how far applicable today varies with different individuals.

William Shakespeare with a deep insight described them beautifully in “As you like it”, the seven ages of man.

Homoeopathy covers not only all the seven ages from the cradle to the grave, but can cover the extra forty weeks from the moment of beginning of life with impregnation of the ovum by prenatal eugenics. This can help to remove some inherited tendencies.

When does Old Age Begin
The first person to make arbitrary demarcation between middle and old age was Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany in 1880s when he introduced a social legislation. He drew the demarcation line at 65 years but it is well known that the chronological age and physiological or biological age do not run parallel and then there is the psychological and emotional age. All do not reach their senescence point at a particular fixed age. Therefore, it has little relevance to functioning as to general health, mental capacity or physical endurance or creativity. As mentioned above it is not a fixed point but a continuum-ageing is thus a process and not merely an outcome. Some further divide it into young old 60 to 70 and old above 70. Physiological changes are an inevitable part of growing in years but along with the come psychological and socio-environmental changes and they all play an important part. There is a steady fall in functional capacity of the organs and systems in the body after the age of 30 years. There is overall reduction in size and function of various organs like heart, liver, spleen, kidney etc. I will later refer to some measures and life-style changes that can retard the process.

Problems of the Aged
Results of a survey carried out in India by Tata Institute of Social Sciences are projected. It would be noticed that whereas health problems were in 10.29 percent, other problems were found in a far greater percentage, headed by financial (appendix 1). Though as medical men, our direct connection is with the health problems but these are interlinked with the other and are of considerable significance to the homoeopath to enable him understand the life situation, build a complete psychosomatic picture and make a proper anamnesis.

In this connection it is interesting to recall the emphasis by the WHO Committee in that “a decent level of income is a prerequisite for well being...” The financial condition affects social, health, nutrition and psychic state of man. Besides the ageing process itself does not remain merely confined to the biological field alone; it invades psychological, social, occupational and economic fields as well.

One of the greatest achievements of the 20th century has been the increased expectancy of life. In India it was around 22 years in 1990, 27 years in the 1930s when I was at school, towards the end of the century it has risen to over 62 and it is expected to rise above 70 in this decade. At present it is estimated that in India 70 million people are above the age of 60 years. There is thus a great demographic transition. Although it is a good thing but in its wake there will arise many problems.

In the World Business Weekly (July 28, 1980) under the caption “Ageing world Raises Key Policy Issues” it is mentioned that “while it now seems unlikely that the agent of the earth’s destruction will be the population explosion feared by Thomas Malthus and his successors, the declining birth rates and ageing population now foreseen will have far reaching political, social and economic consequences.”

The Government and the policy makers will have to keep all these facts in mind. A national policy for older persons was outlined in 1999 by the Government of India but much of it remains to be implemented.

...At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
Then the whining School-boy,
With his satchel and shining morning face, creeping
Like snail unwillingly to school.
Andthen the Lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his Mistress’
Then a Soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.
And then the Justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
The sixth age shifts into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well sav’d a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish reble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

-- William Shakespeare

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