In 1970 the number of Americans known to have reached the age of 100 and older was less than 3,000; in 1980 it was 14,000. More and more of us are shooting for the Biblical 120 years – which researchers feel is our potential – the age at which Moses died: free of disease and with his faculties intact and full of energy.
Old age doesn’t necessarily mean sick age: 85% of people over 65 have no real physical problems. Many studies show that it’s possible to live a long, full life without being physically or mentally incapacitated. In fact, it is possible to stay physically and mentally healthy for one’s entire lifetime and it is possible to reverse or slow the process of aging and recover physical and mental strength.[i]
In one study nine 86 to 96-year-olds worked out with a weight machine three times a week and increased the strength of their quadriceps by an average of 174 percent. When 92-year-old Dorothy Tishler was first asked to pump some iron, she said “I thought they were cuckoo, but after I started it, I saw what a fool I was. They made a new person out of me!”[ii]
Severe mental decline or senility is not a part of normal aging. Studies of healthy elderly people, as opposed to the sick ones that the world of medicine habitually studies, reveals 80% of healthy North Americans, barring psychological distress such as loneliness, depression, lack of outside stimulation, suffer no significant memory loss as they age. The ability to retain new information can decline, but long-term memory actually improves.
As long as a person stays mentally active, they will remain as intelligent as in youth and middle age.[iii] As they say, “use it or lose it.”
What Prolongs Life?
Gerontologists, the scientists who study aging know that people live longer and better with a less stressful lifestyle.[iv] According to one study:
A long and happy marriage and strong friendships extend healthy life span…when 73 residents (average age: 81) of old-age homes were randomly assigned to groups that practiced meditation, relaxation, or nothing, the meditation group showed the greatest improvement in blood pressure, memory and survival. Everyone in the meditation group was alive after three years; 12.5 percent of the relaxation group and 37.5 percent of the control group died.[v]
The “Other” Drug Problem:
The elderly are prime victims of too many drugs and medical intervention. Today’s generation of elderly are:
- The first generation of old folks to live alone, outside the bonds of an extended family.
- The first to be extensively medicated, often seeing several doctors, none of whom may know what the other has prescribed and
- Excessively drugged and often malnourished and depressed.[vi]
Chiropractic for the Elderly:
Chiropractic care frees the body from a serious form of health damaging stress called the vertebral subluxation complex that destroys vitality and weakens our body’s natural health offering a healthy non-medical alternative to the over-drugged, over-medicated, over-treated victims of iatrogenic (physician-caused) disease.
No one, of course, knows all the secrets of a long and healthy life, but clearly one of them is that a body free of vertebral subluxations is more flexible, stronger and healthier than a body with subluxations. Regular chiropractic spinal adjustments should be a part of every older person’s health care regime to help keep them younger and healthier.
Accepting that certain medical procedures have a place in our lives, chiropractors emphasize avoiding medical care as much as possible.
One last thing:
There is no set formula for reaching advanced age. Centarians have been drinkers and non-drinkers, they have been believers in God and atheists, they have been meat eaters and vegetarians.[vii]
In 1956, Flanders Dunbar, M.D. told the American Geriatrics Society that “exceptionally healthy” people who survived into old age “rarely consult a physician.” Whether they don’t see doctors because they are healthy, or they are healthy because they don’t see doctors is probably a subject for study.[viii] They have learned to cope with the stress of life by developing a healthy attitude towards living.
[i] Bronte, L. The wonderful truth about gr owing old. Bottom Line/ Personal, September 30, 1990, p. 12.
[ii] Strength training for the elderly. East/West Journal, October 1990, p. 12.
[iii] Chopra, D. Quantum healing. New York: Bantam Books, 1989, pp. 25 – 26.
[iv] Roan, S. How long can we live? Los Angeles Times, Dec. 4, 1990, p. E1.
[v] Newsweek, March 5, 1990, p.48.
[vi] Medicare drug utilization review. Inspector General, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. January 1989.
[vii] The Doctor’s People, 1990, 3(2), p. 3.
[viii] Thomson, B. In search of longevity. East/West Journal, December 1989, p. 42.