What’s age go to do with it?

Pamela Savage contributed the following inspiring piece for my blog.  Thank you Pam!

•© GLOW IMAGES

• © GLOW IMAGES

Pamela Savage contributed the following inspiring piece for my blog.  Thank you Pam!

While watching television recently, I was really amazed at the number of commercials that were targeting a more mature audience.  These ads focused on diminishing health expectations associated with old age – dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, restless leg syndrome, etc.  All were negative views on what to expect as “normal” that included a solution the viewer could find in a drug.

“There is a view that aging is associated with frailty, decrepitude and disability.  And many people confuse aging with diseases,” explains Dr. Richard Suzman, associate director for behavioral and social research at the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Md.

Gee, what a dismal picture these ads paint of our future.

Fortunately, there is a flip side to this view of aging.  More and more research is showing that age is not necessarily a harbinger of declining health and lifestyle. In fact, our experience has a lot to do with how we view it, how we live our lives, and our connection to God than we might realize.

According to a study at the Yale School of Public Health, how you feel about getting older has as much to do with your health as the aging process itself. Viewing the future from a positive standpoint, with the expectation of good, has a host of beneficial outcomes. It increases a persons’ will to live, in turn making them more resilient to illness.  Research today indicates that this approach effects how we age as much as, if not more than, genetics and lifestyle.  It can help us live happier, healthier and longer lives.

Long before historical records give us examples of what was possible if we adopt a positive attitude, there were people who lived long, healthy, productive lives. For some, it wasn’t about just being humanly positive, it was also about staying close to God and serving others. Moses, the Hebrew leader and prophet, led the people of Israel out of Egyptian slavery, wandered in the desert for 40 years, kept his focus on serving God and eventually delivered his people to the promise land.  “…Moses was 120 years old when he died; his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated.”(1)  A more recent example is Mother Teresa. Her long, active life did not include spending a lot of time worrying about how many years she had accumulated but rather living her life in service to God by serving the poorest of the poor.

A few members of my own family lived well into their 90s with joy, good health and vitality. They continued to see themselves as interesting, productive, important and engaging.  They had strong spiritual and religious beliefs, and woke up every day ready to live life to its fullest.

It’s a choice for each one of us to consider before, or instead of, buying into the myth that we have to become unhealthy and useless.

  1. The Holy Bible, Deuteronomy 34: 7

Pamela enjoys writing and learning about health, spirituality, and the importance faith and prayer have on maintaining a healthy body and spirit.  She is in the full time practice of Christian Science.  She lives in Nottingham, Maryland with her husband and Siamese cat.  She enjoys hiking and the outdoors.