Do you know someone over 80 years old who still participates in sports, does regular physical activity, is mentally sharp, still working or doing community work, and continues to be outgoing and social? I have seen those who were surfing, bicycling, driving or dancing into their seventies. I can think of a few 90-year-olds who are still quite active and look 20 years younger. My son-in-law’s grandmother is just shy of 100 and still travels to Europe, drives a car and maintains an office in New York City.
Apparently, staying active and mentally sharp is one of the top concerns of the “Baby Boomer” generation. They expect to work longer. Some don’t even plan on retiring and they strive to remain healthy their entire lives.
One of the major complaints of Western healthcare is that, despite great strides in technology and life saving procedures, this hasn’t helped with living long healthy lives. We would all rather be healthy until the day we die, and it would also be cheaper on our pocketbooks. That money could be used to help build a future rather than supporting a miserable demise.
The following statistics are ones which we would probably want to reduce:
One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer’s Disease, about 5.4 million people, and the projected number by 2050 is 16 million. It is now the sixth leading cause of death, and one that most say doesn’t have a cure. If the numbers turn out as predicted, by 2050 the costs for treating Alzheimer’s alone is expected to be over $1 trillion.
There are an estimated 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers, amounting to 17 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at over $200 billion.
If we could get our aging population to be independent in their homes for just one additional year, we could save an estimated $26 billion in care-giving and healthcare per year.
So, how do we change these statistics or prevent this from happening? I believe it is never too late to make changes. I always tell my patients that as long as there is life in the body, there is always the possibility to make positive change. Here are my recommendations:
1) Eat healthy. Add more vegetables and fruits, mostly organic, fresh and raw, to your diet. Chew food 30-70 times per bite. Eat when relaxed and happy. Eat at regular intervals. Don’t skip breakfast. Avoid processed sugar, animal protein raised on unnatural diets like corn instead of grass, and fried foods.
2) Drink water, preferably before or after you eat and NOT with meals. Stop drinking sodas and sugary drinks. Think about how much caffeine you ingest. One cup of coffee contains approximately 150 mg of caffeine, a therapeutic dose, and black tea has about 85 mg, while green tea has only 15 mg, plus it is full of antioxidants.
3) Supplement your diet with fish oil that has been purified of heavy metals, take multivitamins, antioxidants and other supplements as needed. Coconut oil is good for the brain, as are fish oil and probiotics.
4) Move more frequently. Life is movement. Find an activity that gives you joy and makes you feel better. Not everyone is meant to run. Some like to dance and others like to walk. Do what you enjoy.
5) Laugh more. Laughter stimulates good chemicals in the body and makes you healthier.
6) Make new friends, cultivate stronger healthier relationships and do good things for others. No one likes to hear complaints, judgments or orders. Be nice to others.
7) Learn something such as another language or a new skill. Read a book, do a puzzle, play cards and engage yourself in community activities.
Life is too short to be waiting for things to happen or postponing activities until you have more time or money. Be proactive and create a life full of great times and great adventures. You are capable of making masterpieces come to life.
I focus on the topics you care about most.