There was much controversy a few weeks ago about a photo essay of the care of elderly residents in a nursing home. This was published in a nursing magasine and included shots of emaciated and naked residents being bathed and toileted. Without discussing the ethics of this photographic exercise, it was interesting to note that some of these photos were indistinguishable from pictures one might see of a starving refugee or a concentration inmate.
These photos beg the question of what factors are at play with many frail elderly: is the obvious emaciation the direct result of their ailments, or is it secondary? How much of their poor physical condition is due to chronic protein, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, lack of mental stimulation and insufficent exercise?
If you have not already done so, you might like to read my newsletter "Another Horror Story". One of the cases referred to in this article demonstrates just how quickly an elderly person can deteriorate and die if their nutrition and mental stimulation are neglected.
When you are in your 80"s, what do you intend to be doing?
I am convinced that a nutrient rich diet and stimulating physical and mental challenges are the foundations of a long and satisfying life. Sure, heredity has a lot to do with it; but we have no control over who each of our ancestors chose to mate with!