The disorders included in this section are particularly associated with the elderly. The physical effects of ageing are too well known to need description here; all body systems tend to become less efficient with age, but the rate at which this happens depends greatly on habits of mind and body. It is perfectly possible to be old and healthy, but it is not possible to be old and 21. The older we get, the more we are obliged to recognize that health is something more than the flawless working of perfect physical parts; it has a great deal to do with being connected with self, family, friends, local community, and society at large in as many positive ways as possible. As the physical fabric develops a creak here and a crack there, these connections become even more precious.
Preparation for retirement is not the action of a pessimist or defeatist; the earlier you can imagine and plan a life which is not centred around full-time work the better. Although orthodox drugs can be life-savers in many conditions which afflict the elderly, their use should be limited to the minimum effective dose. An ageing body is unable to metabolize drugs with the speed and efficiency of a young one, and so side effects are likely to be more marked. In this respect homeopathic remedies have a great advantage; they do not tax the system while trying to assist it.
It is in old age that constitutional weaknesses or imbalances achieve their fullest expression; many layers of disease, affecting many systems and organs, may have accumulated. Where gross pathological changes have occurred, homeopathic treatment is unlikely to send them into reverse, but with good constitutional treatment the quality of an elderly person's life, his or her sense of vitality and well-being, can be greatly improved.