Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Longer Life Doesn’t Always Equate to a Better Life

Good Day World!

I’m not sold on the idea that living a longer life – beyond normal expectations - means a better life.

I’m probably in the minority on this subject as most Americans seem to focus on living longer lives. That focus comes in the form of aging creams, surgeries, and diets designed to extend life.

Throw in the fact that most people fear death and do whatever they can to dodge the Grim Reaper, and you have the stuff of a national fixation for extending life.

There’s always people who want to go the next step, and live forever. I don’t see that as happening so let’s stay focused on living longer.

“There are approximately 35 million people in the United States age 65 or older, accounting for about 13 percent of the total population. In 1900, the number of older Americans was about 3.1 million.

With the aging of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, America’s older population will double by 2030, reaching some 70 million.

The study, “Older Americans 2000: Key Indicators of Well-Being,” compiles for the first time statistics from various agencies “to provide a unified picture of the overall health and well-being of older Americans (ABC News).”

The thing about us baby boomers is we tend to be more active – and to live longer than the generation before us. We also spend a lot of time and money looking for that famous fable – the Fountain of Youth.

“The Fountain of Youth is a spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted across the world for thousands of years, appearing in writings by Herodotus (5th century BC), the Alexander romance (3rd century CE), and the stories of Prester John (early Crusades, 11th/12th centuries CE).

Ponce de León was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he traveled to what is now Florida in 1513.” – (via Wikipedia)

The 21st century answer to Ponce de León, David Sinclair, thinks the secret to stopping the aging process is closer than we think. Sinclair, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, has spent the past 20 years looking for ways to help people live longer, healthier lives.

It was Sinclair's research on resveratrol, a molecule found in grapes, that made headlines a decade ago when it showed promising results in keeping overfed mice as healthy as lean mice.

Sinclair even chose to test resveratrol on himself, something he has been doing for the past 10 years, and he says he's feeling fit and healthy.

Likewise, his parents, who are in their 70s, report similar results from taking resveratrol.

While I think it would be nice to live longer, it doesn’t mean much unless I’m in good enough shape to enjoy it. There are no guarantees that’ll happen. I can’t see myself wheelchair-bound and dependent upon other people just for the sake of saying I made it to 150 years-old.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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