As people age, the rigors of life begin to take their toll on them and their vigor and strength begin to wane. They lose their agility and nimbleness. Often the cartilages that line their joints begin to thin out, mostly because of the wear and tear that takes place due to years of movement. The surfaces of their joints are no longer able to slide over each other as smoothly as they used to in their younger days. This increases the vulnerability of the joints to injury. The ligaments whose function is to bind the joints together, and the tendons that bind the muscles to bones begin to lose their elasticity; making the joints feel achy and stiff. This is why most elderly people become less flexible. When they injure themselves healing comes slowly. Muscle tissue and muscle strength and contraction begin to decrease. Although it is a blessing, old age can be a disconcerting and somber phase in life because it often demands dependence on others. Sadly, a synopsis of modern research demonstrates that elder abuse is rampant-in private homes, nursing homes and other long-term institutions. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) claims that approximately 6 million cases of elder abuse were reported in 2012 in the United States alone and 47% of abusers are children of the victim. But elder abuse is prevalent all over the world. That is why the World Health Organization (WHO) has mounted a global response to elder abuse and neglect. A self-report survey by WHO claims that 40% of nursing home staff admitted that they had psychologically abused an elderly person in their care in spite of statutory laws and other legislation against such conduct. Although many organizations have been established to combat this atrocity, elder abuse continues to occur due to the sinful nature of the human heart, which cannot be regenerated by legislation alone. Unfortunately, a society which despises its elderly has nothing to offer its future generations.
God has a predilection for the elderly, and Scripture is replete with laws about how the elderly are to be treated-with deference and respect: “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD,” (Leviticus 19:32). The value of a human being is not limited to their capabilities or to the sum of their achievements. It is embedded in what we are. Being old does not diminish the image of God in us. Respect for the elderly starts with parents: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20: 12). This is one of the charisms of longevity and its motif extends throughout Scripture.
For more on Bible-based elder care, refer to The Perfect Prescription, pp. 323-335
Waste management tops the list of the agendas of conferences of world leaders and public health professionals. It is also the center of discussion among advocates of sustainable development such as ecopreneurists, environmentalists and entrepreneurs as they desperately seek means to protect the planet from degradation and ruin. If waste management is not handled appropriately it can lead to significant environmental and public health problems. But waste management is not a new concept. Amazingly, over 3,000 years ago the Bible gave us guidelines regarding managing waste, particularly hazardous waste: “You shall have a place outside the camp and you shall go out to it; and you shall have a stick with your weapons; and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it, and turn back and cover up your excrement,” (Deuteronomy 23:12-14). Less hazardous waste was burned in a valley that was known as Gehenna. To date some of the most effective methods of waste disposal are incineration and landfill. To explore this concept further, check out our App on Google Play at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.guruzilla.theperfectprescription
The Bible’s approach to health and well-being is a holistic one. That is why it emphasizes preventive measures over curative measures. Health laws in the Bible are not meant to address symptoms or the clinical stage of a disease characterized by physiologic and anatomic changes, but to uproot the causative factors of ill health completely. For example, in Leviticus 15:11, the Bible cautions that “Any one whom he that has the discharge touches without having rinsed his hands in water shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.” It has been scientifically proven that infectious diseases are spread from one person to another when an infected person touches or exchanges body fluids with an uninfected person. Some physicians who have closely examined biblical counsel to health “have adopted biblical laws in their fight against disease.” For example as early as 1847 before the Germ Theory (the Germ Theory was discovered in 1861), a Jewish physician, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis discovered in the hospital where worked that the incidence of puerperal fever was significantly reduced among new mothers when the physicians who attended to them practiced vigorous hand washing in chlorinated water after conducting a postmortem. Those who did not wash their hands an merely wiped them on pieces of cloth before delivering babies left in their trail a high rate of deaths from puerperal fever. Dr. Semmelweis introduced a mandatory hand-washing practice for doctors, students, and midwives in between patients and after conducting an autopsy. Hand washing continues to be a demonstrably effective preventive measure against infectious diseases. A recent vigorous adoption of this biblical principle has significantly mitigated the impact of infectious diseases across the board. Modern day public health professionals have even designed flamboyant eye-catching posters about hand washing hygiene. There is even a Global Hand Washing Day observed every October 15 and an accompanying Social Media Toolkit, which provides all the resources needed to implement an effective hand washing campaign.
Learn more about other biblical based health principles from: The Perfect Prescription (2013).