Healthful Habits

If your loved one had his or her way, they would drive the car forever, wear the same cosmetics forever, smoke or chew tobacco forever and eat their favorite dessert forever.

But if you are the caretaker, you know that some things must stop. You also know that gentle persuasion is useless; it merely erodes your relationship. Here are a few tips.

1. Ask your loved one to ask their doctor (clinical doctor or trusted medical advisor) the following question: “Would it be better for my lungs to stop smoking?” Be present so the question does not turn into “Will smoking a few cigarettes once in a while kill me?” Hearing it from the doctor is what’s needed.

2. Don’t ever purchase something you believe is detrimental to your elderly person. Whether it’s coffee, cigarettes, beer or lipstick, say “That is something I can’t buy for you; it’s against my principles.” Don’t be surprised if you cave in a few times to some super ruse they use on you. But the next time, have your answer ready.

3. Let your family and other caretakers know you are no longer supplying these items (the car keys, the wine bottle, the codeine-containing pain pills). Try to get cooperation. Discussing it with your loved one may do more harm than good. If they start the discussion, you end it. This is not a task for the timid! After it’s done, you’ll wonder what was so difficult.

4. Don’t buy a wheelchair if your loved one can still walk with your help. Stay with a cane as long as possible. Then the walker. Stay with a walker as long as possible. Then your personal help. once a wheelchair has been accepted, the last bit of exercise, walking, is lost. Fight against it. Hide it in a far away closet.

Aging is necessary but chronic illness and pain are not.

If you have managed to free your loved one from having to take pills or from certain disabilities that would soon require pills, you can give yourself great credit. Perhaps you, too, will find the needed natural help when you are aged and have lost your authority and your way mentally. our lives are all fore­shortened, much like the life of a domestic steer’s. Does a captive animal learn from seeing its companion disappear? It does nothing to escape its fate. Should we accept our fate with the same docility? None of us can remember how things were in precivilized times. We are eager to believe the present is the best time that has ever been. The steer, too, has its feed provided, its water provided, its shelter for the night provided, seemingly the best time it ever had. Perhaps the price we pay for civilization, like the steer’s price, is simply too high. There must be other ways. As a society, we should search for our lost longevity.