Hypnotherapy In Later Life

There’s a tendency to look at older people and envy them the simplicity of their lives. Unless there are obvious signs of failing physical, mental or financial health, it’s easy to see people in their twilight years as a generation that’s found contentment.

As the rest of us hurtle pell-mell through the frenetic hub of an eat-sleep-work-repeat existence, it’s easy to look on with some degree of jealousy at how the pace of life has slowed for those of a certain vintage.

In our eyes, they have acquired the greatest wealth of all: time. And at the same time, we envy the fact they are unburdened by work or financial worries. It’s easy to tell ourselves that those beyond working age are care-free and happy.

But in many cases, it’s fallacy.

Behind the façade of a simplistic life, older people face vastly more complicated challenges than do those of us of lesser years.

Older people are more inclined to suffer with serious or chronic sleep issues.  They are many times more likely to be affected by grief and are at greater risk of being increasingly afflicted by debilitating physical and mental health issues like Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. They are far more inclined to become socially isolated (which can cause further mental health challenges such as depression and, at its worst, can pose the same risks to physical health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day). And they are more likely to face anxiety over personal finances and are many times more likely to be inclined to malnourishment.

And all the while, the NHS and local government are creaking under the burden of providing adequate social care for a population that is ageing fast and requires increasing health provision.

Yet many of the wellbeing issues that older people face don’t require clinical intervention. In fact, everything in that list above – and many more besides – can be improved or eased simply through hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy is particularly suited in treating older people because it is gentle, non-invasive, focuses on softening the muscles and relaxing the mind. And in cases where there is a pre-existing diagnosed physical or mental condition, a hypnotherapist may work with the individual’s health care provider to complement any clinical treatment.

Hypnotherapy can help with:

Pain management: Hypnosis has proved remarkably effective at helping to ease chronic pain, which can affect people as they age

Sleeping disorders: from insomnia to restless leg syndrome to persistent unpleasant dreams that affect sleep patterns, there is much evidence to show that hypnosis is effective at unravelling the subconscious blocks that usually lie at the root of the problem

Dementia: Quality of life can be improved and patients can be helped to live more positively with everyday challenges. Hypnotherapy can aid improved memory and recall of significant life events as well as assisting socialisation and concentration.

Parkinson’s Disease: Hypnotherapists are able to teach self-hypnosis. This can then be used by the individual to improve muscular and mental relaxation in order to help reduce the severity and frequency of shakes.

Palliative care: As an adjunct treatment for cancer patients and survivors, hypnotherapy can be effective in treating pain, nausea, fatigue and hot flushes.

Depression & Anxiety: We all feel down from time to time, but sometimes the challenges of later life can cause depression and anxiety and this can also lead to issues with physical health. Hypnotherapy is a gentle and effective way of properly re-setting the belief structures of the sub-conscious and giving you a new and positive outlook on life.

Bereavement: Older people are inevitably more likely to lose people they are close to. Bereavement can have a damaging effect on mental wellbeing, but hypnotherapy for bereavement can be remarkably effective in helping people come to terms with loss.

Self-esteem: The sense of self-worth can be an increasingly common factor in later life. Left unchecked, low self-esteem can lead to loss of confidence, depression and social isolation. Hypnotherapy can be tremendously effective way of helping people to understand and appreciate their true value, helping to build the confidence to cope with the everyday challenges that ageing can bring.

Zoe Clews is the founder of Zoe Clews & Associates. She is one of London’s most recommended hypnotherapists. To find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you or someone you know, please visit www.zoeclews-hypnotherapy.co.uk or telephone Zoe on 07766 515272


The Agony & The Ecstasy Of Ageing

If he were still around, my Dad would have been in his mid-Seventies now.

The eldest surviving child born at the outbreak of the Second World War into a dirt poor Liverpudlian family.  Four babies died of eight siblings.  My father had the unenviable challenge of being a sensitive lad growing up in harsh times..

He grew up in an extremely volatile environment where deprivation was rife, prospects scant and food scarcer. He learned early that the curse of asthma brought its own blessing with a decent meal on those occasions when he had to be hospitalised and that in good health a life of petty crime could mean the difference between eating or not.

Some would say he was a bad lad. Others, perhaps more kindly, that necessity drove him to live off his wits and take the opportunities that presented themselves, no matter how unpalatable.

But despite those inauspicious beginnings he, like others who found themselves in similar circumstances, managed to make something of himself. In some of the security of marriage and fatherhood, he found the confidence to return to education and eventually won a place at a prestigious art college.

He came from stock that didn’t complain. So when eventually his lungs deteriorated through a mixture of asthma, the dust from the buildings he decorated for a living and the cigarettes he often tried, but never quite managed, to give up, he summoned up his fierce Scouse self-deprecating humour and made light of things.

His unprepossessing upbringing gave him many well-observed (and often highly colourful) home-spun pearls of wisdom. But one became his mantra as he entered the twilight of his life:

Don’t get old.

In his time in this world and in the time since he left it, much has changed. Medicine has taken quantum leaps forward, the environment is cleaner and society as whole is ageing steadily as the baby boomers enter later life.

In short, we’re all living longer and the world has been forced to adapt to and reflect the fact that it needs to provide for and protect people in later life.

Yet short of curing death itself – which seems highly unlikely – no medical advancement will stop the fact that our physical health is genetically predisposed to deteriorate the longer we’re here. And the irony is that while medicine – either curatively or preventatively – keeps us alive for longer, so we will all have to manage age-related conditions for longer, too.

The one thing we can take some control over, though, is our emotional health, so that we can be positive about what later life has to offer us and to meet its challenges head on with a smile and the confidence of knowing that there’s much still to achieve, regardless of the number of years we’ve chalked up on life’s great scoreboard.

It’s folly to make sweeping generalisations about the sorts of issues that afflict us in later life – we’re all unique and our challenges are therefore unique. But among those I see most often are depression, anxiety and sleeplessness.

Depression in later life can be triggered by any number of things: loneliness, if you suddenly find yourself on your own for extended periods of time; the frustration at being physically unable to do some of the everyday things you used to enjoy; a loss of independence; ill-health; financial challenges that come with having to stretch a limited state pension;

Sleeplessness, in turn, can be triggered by both physiological and emotional factors. My Mother, now well into her 60s, talks of waking much earlier than she did when she was younger. There appears to be no particular reason for that. Sometimes sleeplessness is a result of underlying depression or stress caused by any of the triggers listed above and others besides.

But while the physical causes of these and other so-called age-related conditions need to be addressed and managed in some way – for example, by working with specialist organisations like charities, agencies and local authorities to find practical solutions to underlying problems around isolation, debt, health and independence etc. – counselling and therapy can also play an important role in restoring balance and order to your emotional wellbeing.

Hypnotherapy, in particular, has been proven to have a significant positive effect in dealing with the emotional symptoms – like depression, sleeplessness – that are caused by ongoing practical problems.

Life, however old we are, is often a jumble of ambition, thoughts, fears and emotions – all battling to be a priority. Hypnotherapy is a non-invasive and extraordinarily supportive way of allowing you to sort through the tangle of emotions that stand between you and contentment and giving your subconscious a chance to reset and rebalance itself.

Some problems require long-term help, but many more require something lighter in touch. If you’re struggling with emotional problems that you’ve been inclined to write off with the words, ‘it’s just part of getting old’, then you need to know you don’t have to put up with them just because you’ve got a certain number of candles on your birthday cake.

Just like my Dad did, we work hard in the living of our lives and we have a right to enjoy all the rewards that later life can bring us – whether that’s time with friends and family, holidays or just the simple pleasure of watching the world float by.

Age is just a number – it doesn’t need to define who you are emotionally.

Zoe Clews is the founder of Zoe Clews & Associates and is one of London’s most trusted and recommended hypnotherapists


Additional Credits

Video by Weeks360.

Photography by Liz Bishop Photography.

Production by Mark Norman at Little Joe Media and Joanne Brooks.

Hair by Jonny Albutt.

Make up by Olly Fisk and Nabeel Hussain.