Old age in our culture refers to chronological age. It’s a number identifying how long we have been alive. That’s all it means.
Your chronological age is not a measure of your competence, maturity, appearance, behavior, attitudes or values. It is what it is — just a number. You and only you can give meaning or significance to chronological age.
The significance of chronological age be damned. If you cling to the significance/importance of “your number”, and allow it to influence your decisions about how you should live, you are sentencing yourself to a limited view of what your older years could be and should be.
We have extraordinary control over signs and symptoms of deterioration recognized as “old” that can occur with advancing chronological age yet we blame the deterioration solely on a horse and buggy awareness and significance of “our number”
It’s time to stop telling yourself and thinking of yourself as “old” just because the culture has taught you that “your number” means you are “old” and that the deterioration you are experiencing (or may experience) is a result of “your number”.
Maybe you don’t think of yourself as old, but the culture (i.e. “common knowledge”) reinforces stereotypical thinking and outdated norms, perpetuating the belief that at age 60, 70, certainly 80, and 90 for sure, you are automatically in a state of active deterioration. Not necessarily! Our culture programs us to believe we are what we are not!
Now, let’s switch gears a bit and talk about Alzheimer’s and longevity.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released stats that show the number of Americans who are at least 100 years old jumped by a whopping 43.6 percent from 2000 to 2014. Women make up 80 percent of that group. Among those who are older than 100, death rates declined from flu, pneumonia, stroke and heart disease, but increased dramatically from Alzheimer’s disease and high blood pressure.
I believe Alzheimer’s disease is primarily a byproduct of a lifetime of a mostly nutrient deficient, crappy diet overloaded with toxic sugar. Yes, I understand other factors may be and are at play. However, I think the solution for AD is not a chemical cure, but rather, prevention of onset of the disease.
To that end, can we talk about a natural substance called resveratrol that shows tremendous promise in preventing a variety of mental issues? No, apparently we can’t talk about something as natural as resveratrol. We’ll just continue to wait as research entities waste donated money attacking “tau tangles” in the brain, or until a drug company develops another useless high profit magic bullet.
Another huge part of getting to a healthy 100 is being a cultural renegade. You simply cannot buy into the prevailing mindset and lifestyle that exists today for traditional retirees because it’s decline oriented. That statement makes most retirees angry and defensive but reality is what it is.
We seem to not understand that how we live, what we think, and how we think about ourselves in relation to how we are aging has a profound effect on the rate of individual deterioration. The prevailing retirement mindset and lifestyle is devastating. It is exclusive (the senior culture with its own decline oriented norms for thinking and behavior) and segregationist (chronologically old people crowded together in a “seniors only” apartment complex or in a walled, gated, no-kids- environment where the only thing seen each day are other old faces and compromised bodies feeding off of each other’s mental and physical infirmities.) How can that NOT be depressing?
Harsh? Absolutely. But it’s reality.
Unfortunately, the prevailing retirement lifestyle is an enticing lifestyle sold to retirees as young as 50 as THE way to enjoy retirement. Sure, in the beginning the lifestyle is great fun but lasts only until deterioration sets in, followed by acceptance of the decline: “Well, that’s what happens when you get old” is a common refrain of those trapped in living arrangements that can’t possibly provide a “young forever” environment because the lifestyle is not growth oriented.
It’s time to stop engaging in and promoting the stereotypical “old people” mindset and lifestyle. Kick “your number” to the curb. You don’t have to go down with a sinking ship. Declare your independence from group think and learn how to make YOUR life the best it can be however long you live.
A good place to start is with reading The Neurogenesis Diet and Lifestyle by Brant Cortright, Ph.D. It will teach you so much about what it takes to maintain a youthful, vigorous brain that makes you feel glad to be alive in your older years. Because many are living much longer, Dr. Cortright predicts that “As present trends continue, 50% of adults age 85 or older can expect to receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. . . and other forms of brain dysfunction. But that’s all avoidable if you know what to do.”