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Sometimes it takes a perusal of dusty old medical journals to remind us how life and medical science have evolved over the years and how they have stayed the same. The tidbits below come from a 1912 book titled Old Age Deferred and appeared in a 1978 article by Ella Kick, PhD, MSN, RN and Frank B. McClone, MD in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
1. Be as much as possible in the open air, and especially in the sunshine; and take plenty of exercise, taking special care to breathe deeply and regularly.
2. Live on a diet consisting of meat once a day, eggs, cereals, green vegetables, fruit, and raw milk of healthy cows (as much as the stomach will permit); and masticate properly.
3. Take a bath daily; and in addition, once a week or once every two weeks, take a sweat bath (lithe hearts can stand it).
4. Have a daily action of the bowels; and in addition take a purgative once a week if there is any tendency to constipation.
5. Wear very porous underwear, preferably cotton; porous clothing, loose collars, light hat (if any), and low shoes.
6. Go to bed early and rise early.
7. Sleep in a very dark and very quiet room, and with a window open; and do not sleep less than six to six and one-half hours, or more than seven and one-half, and for women eight and one-half hours.
8. Have one complete day’s rest in each week, without even reading or writing.
9. Avoid mental emotions, and also worries about things that have happened and cannot be altered, as well as about things that may happen. Never say unpleasant things, and avoid listening to such, if possible.
10. Get married; and if a widow or widower, marry again; and avoid sexual activity beyond the physiological limit, and also avoid a total suppression of the functions of these organs.
11. Be temperate in the use of alcohol and tobacco, and also in the use of coffee or tea.
12. Avoid places that are overheated, especially by steam, and badly ventilated. Replace or reinforce the functions of the organ which may have become changed by age or disease, by means of the extracts from the corresponding organs of healthy animals; but only to do this under the strict supervision of medical men who are thoroughly familiar with the functions of the ductless glands.
Ella Kick PhD, MSN, RN, was the first faculty member in the Masters of Gerontological Nursing program at the University of Cincinnati and has taught nursing at many colleges and universities. She has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Gerontological Nurse Award from the ANA Council of Gerontological Nurses in 1986. She was chair of the ANA Council of Nursing Home Nurses from 1979 to 1984. She personally tested a prototype of the first adult incontinence briefs.
EllaCare: A Life of Adventure and Discovery in Nursing, is her first book. A gifted storyteller with a remarkable memory, she dictated the book to Jack Hayes, publisher and editor at Never Forget Press Memoirs.