By: Merilyn E. Ulrich,
Contributing Editor/Senior Staff Writer
The Hair Society
In my neighborhood there is a very old woman (she is 90 years old), who takes twice daily walks up and down our street. I have seen her and spoken to her many, many times throughout the twenty years that I have lived in my neighborhood. She is amazing! I am much younger than she is and I don’t have the stamina or desire to walk for an hour every single day come rain or come shine. She does!
I once asked her what motivated her to walk every day and she answered, “It keeps me young and lets me know what’s going on in the neighborhood!”. Needless to say, I am filled with admiration for this lovely woman who is probably healthier than I am and has twice the energy that I possess.
I had noticed that I hadn’t seen her for a week but I figured that she was busy or that her family had come to visit her as they often do while she spends her winters in Arizona where the weather is mild. Then another week passed and another until I hadn’t seen her for several months. I became worried about her and decided to be a nosy neighbor and knock on her door to check on her well being. I am very glad that I did.
Since I have been writing for The Hair Society I have become educated in the various causes and reasons for hair loss but I had no idea that this knowledge would come in handy off of this web site. Yesterday, it did.
That dear, sweet old woman had been hiding in her house because she noticed that she was losing her hair. She told me that at first it was only a few strands here and there that she noticed when she washed her hair. Then it became handfuls when she combed her hair. Now, it was obvious to anyone who saw her that she had lost a huge amount of hair from the front of her head and that she had the appearance of someone going bald. She was mortified and immediately went to see her primary care doctor. He told her that this was common for people in her age group and not to worry about it. He told her to wear a hat!
I was stunned by his callous reply and that he didn’t bother to educate her about the reasons for hair loss and that there were various treatments available. He simply wrote her off as being “old” and had no clue that even though she is 90 years old she might feel embarrassed about how she looked. She told me that she was thinking of buying hats or wearing a head scarf but that she wasn’t about to accept her dilemma without a fight.
I told her that I was a writer for a website where many members of the hair restoration profession gathered for information and that I had some suggestions to make. She was anxious to hear what I had to say.
I first explained that I am not an expert nor am I a professional when it comes to hair loss but it could be happening for one of several reasons. At the very least, she could find a beautiful, natural looking hair system (I actually used the term wig due to her frame of reference and generational knowledge). I noticed that she was frowning and hesitant about the word “wig” and what that might look like. She was old school and to her, a wig or hair piece, was not at all an attractive solution. “They all look so fake”, was her comment. I explained that the hair systems of today were beautiful and looked and felt just like real hair. I told her about how they are fastened to the head and that she could even have her hair system styled as often as she liked. Since she colors her hair I suggested that she look into purchasing a wig made of human hair so that she could continue getting her “hair” colored just like she always has.
I also suggested that she look into the many experienced Salons that specialize in hair restoration and that she could not only get a consultation regarding her possible hair loss problem but even regular scalp treatments to keep the hair she had left healthy. She asked me if she needed to see a specialist and I suggested that if she wanted to rule out any medical problems that she seek out a Dermatologist who specializes in hair loss and not a primary care doctor who dismissed her worries without giving any thought to how she was feeling.
My friend was relieved and promised to let her fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages right away (she doesn’t have a computer and has never been online).
I am hoping to see her resume her daily walks very soon and I am anxious and excited to see what solution she came up with to solve her problem and improve her appearance.
No matter how old you are, how you look is important and there is no need to become a hermit because you aren’t aware of the many hair loss solutions available. As I spoke to her I was thinking about how thankful I am for all of you who do this work and help so many people look and feel better about themselves.
I’ve gained a lot since I began writing for Hair Solutions but this situation was by far the most rewarding experience that I’ve had thus far.
Now, if I can only gain the fortitude and energy to do what this lovely lady has been doing I will be a lot better off!!