That last graphic reminds me of the following....Our veterinarian often says when he comes to treat one of our elderly cats, "Old age is not a disease." At what point did most Americans start believing otherwise? Yes, I think that most Americans do believe that old age equates with disease.IMO, most of the time, aging does require some changes of what people today call "life style." That said, until relatively recently (20th Century), most "old folks" were able to stay in their own homes until death arrived. Now, most "old folks" die in the hospital or -- God forbid! -- a nursing home. Even when there are plenty of family members who could help out! Certainly, some situations do require a nursing home, particularly when dementia strikes.. But so many situations?
I think some of us have a more fortunate set of genetic predispositions than others, -- hair color, eye color, height, weight and bone structure are just the beginning -- but in the main it is our MENTAL ATTITUDE and the QUALITY of our VALUES that count most in determining whether our lives will be a satisfying or a miserable experience.As long as the basic necessities of life are available to us, our economic circumstances don't determine our capacity to enjoy life. The idea of a "crying need" for "Economic Parity" and "Income Equality" are Marxian myths foisted on us by scheming political operatives whose only TRUE desire is to achieve political DOMINANCE.As for me I am taking a good deal of comfort in Ardith Bruce's appearance on horseback enjoying Barrel Racing, whatever that may be, at the tender age of EIGHTY-FOUR. She's downright FAT, and looks every day of her age, God bless her, and there she is doing what she loves to do bet. Ardith Bruce, therefore, belies the myth foisted on us by current Medical Fashion that one must be THIN THIN THIN if one hopes to live long full life. ;-)
FT,Well, I think that genetics matters more. I base that statement on both science and my own personal observations.That said, genetics does not count for much without the right attitude and values.A lot of people are soft -- and quitters.
I think at bottom i's all about LOVE of LIFE which means love of GOD. After all God IS Love, and God IS Life, itself. And as St. Paul so eloquently testified NOTHING we accomplish no matter how brilliant, great and impressive it might appear means ANYTHING unless it is rooted in and motivated by LOVE (defined as "Charity" in the King James Version of the Bible, but it means the same thing).OR, as Duke Ellington put it more succinctly:It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that zing." ;-)I don't, personally, think longevity per se counts for much. It's what we choose to do with whatever time we are allotted that matters.After all most of the great Romantic poets Byron, Keats, Shelley died very young. Shakespeare never saw age sixty. Emily Dickinson left us at 56. Schubert died at 41. Mozart left us at 36. Mendelssohn died in HIS late thirties. Chopin never lived to see his fortieth birthday. Schumann died in a madhouse at the age of 47. J.S. Bach left us at 65. Beethoven at 57. Brahms at 63.Wagner at 53. Mahler at 49. The Bronte sisters all died pathetically young. Oscar Wilde was dead at age 40, etc., etc., etc.You could call all of that "tragic," if you'd like, but I prefer to look at their immense ACCOMPLISHMENTS -- the splendid LEGACY they gave to Posterity, instead of dwelling the difficulties and deprivation they suffered in their daily lives.Now, I loved my Grandpas, and both of them lived to age 90, but their lives were as NAUGHT compared to the great geniuses I just mentioned.In my view of life QUALITY trumps QUANTITY every single time.
Beside the obvious need for excellent horsemanship, barrel racing requires good core strength and strong legs to stay in the saddle on the tight turns. Ardith Bruth is quite a horsewoman to still be barrel racing at 84 years old.
As a certified personal trainer I can say individuals who remain active can hypertrophy their musculature into their 90's and maintain good neuromuscular control into their 90's.
BUT Ms Bruce APPEARS to be a big fat cow, and certainly looks her age. Belies all our stereotypical notions of what a "fit" person ought to look like,doesn't it? Most are thin as rails and sinewy.
Well, remember Jack LaLaine?
@ "Old age is not a disease." At what point did most Americans start believing otherwise?It's a combination of factors. Big Pharma has turned everything into a disease in order to sell us pills, and we have a huge cohort heading into retirement, the Baby Boomers, who were arguably the first American generation to make a cult of perpetual youth.
SF,The Baby Boomers as a whole have certainly bought into BigPharma.Those commercials on television! The ones, "Ask your doctor if [this medication] is right for you." Hell, sometimes one cannot tell what the medication is supposed to treat! If one reads the lists of side effects, the words anal leakage sometimes appear. Ugh.
I love Bashing Liberals.
I know you do -- I do too, as long as it's creative, good humored, and not witless BOILERPLATE -- but in any case it's not appropriate during this series on Aged Wonders.What do you think of these remarkable older people who are living such full and vibrant lives? I think they make good role models.
If I may be so bold as to agree with FT, you nailed it! Attitude is the defining atribute all of the individuals in this series. Positive, confident, persevering, and undaunted by obstacles because they believed they would overcome.IMO.
I worked with a woman who was a breast cancer survivor and had taken up weightlifting becoming nationally competitive in the 65-69 age bracket.
One has to have great admiration for the woman you speak of. As well as anyone who possesses such character and tenacity.
Of course that's true. I've been privileged to know several such individuals. One developed cancer of the gums, tongue, and jaw at age fifty-eight. She went through numerous painful cauterizing treatments then finally a terribly disfiguring surgery that involved removal of part of her tongue, all of her teeth, and half her jawbone. Caught without insurance she had to mortgage a valuable piece of property she owned outright to pay Sloan-Kettering.Since then, she has helped her youngest child (the last of five) through law school, traveled around the world twice, opened an antiques shop which she manned graciously for about twenty years, and was still living on her own, still driving and helping raise her latest grandchild, whose mother is now a busy, 55-year-old partner in a Philadelphia Law Firm, –– on the eve of her NINETY-SEVENTH birthday.She credits daily church attendance, relentless prayer, and ardent faith in the healing and redeeming power of Jesus Christ for her seemingly miraculous recovery from one of the worst forms of cancer imaginable. If ever anyone deserves to be placed among those photograohed for this series, it would be this redoubtable lady, whose courage, love of life –– and love of GOD –– should inspire us all to take heart and resolve to live our own lives more freely, more generously, more fully and less fearfully.
Whatever it takes for individuals to find that kind of courage and resolve should be acknowledged as having value.. And yes, indeed her picture belongs with those featured in this series.
Two good books on the topic of aging in the 21st Century -- and when to let go: 1. Never Say Die2. A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents--and OurselvesThese books are very important! And, believe it or not, not depressing. Knowing when to let go is equally as important as staying active, IMO.
ADVICE from an HEROIC ONCOLOGIST:"You don't give up until they've thrown the second shovelful of dirt on top your coffin."
FT,Actually, those books support what you said at March 7. 20125 at 6:49 AM.
My maternal great-great-grandmother (b. about 1835, I guess) rode miles and miles on a stallion every day. One day, well into her 70's, she rode those miles and miles as usual, arrived home and said that she was a bit tired, lay down, and didn't wake up. Active till the end!
Way to go, Granny! It doesn't get any better than that.Now, I hope to go peacefully in my sleep the way my Grandfather did, -- not like the poor souls who were trapped in his car after he died as it careened madly off the road and plunged down a mountainside bursting into flame as it bounced on the rocks along the way. };-(>
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