I had a chance to preview “The Age Of Aging,” from National Geographic Channel’s newest series “BREAKTHROUGH”. It’s a Ron Howard and Brian Grazer produced series that follows the different story lines of scientists working on breakthroughs that will change the world of tomorrow, today.
The show will premiere this Sunday evening, November 29th, on the National Geographic Channel (check your local listings in your area). I highly encourage you to watch it or set your DVR to record. (If you miss it you can likely watch at a later date online.) It is a fascinating look at what a group of experts are researching in regards to aging. Instead of just treating each disease associated with aging separately, the team is working on a breakthrough that they hope will slow the overall aging process, impact all the diseases at once, and enable older people to live longer, healthier lives.
Aging Is A Sensitive Subject
While I don’t think I want to live to be 200, I do think it would be wonderful if people had a chance, as one of the doctors said, “to be less sick at the end of their lives.” This is especially important for our aging society. According to Ron Howard, who moderates the show, “by 2050, people over 65 will double in the U.S.”
If this team of experts can develop medications to slow aging, it could have a huge impact on our economy, our healthcare costs, and caregiving (a topic I wrote about last week). Imagine if your mom or dad who is 80 or 90 years old was healthy enough to live in their own home without any debilitating diseases and without the need for extra care? The stress and the costs of caregiving would decrease dramatically. “If you slow down aging, then you can slow down the diseases that are associated with aging, such as Alzheimers, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer,” said one of the doctors.
A Peek Inside A Mayo Clinic Retirement Community
The show featured a couple who are living in a Mayo Clinic retirement community. Martha is 90 years old and has Alzheimers, heart disease, osteoporosis, and is a cancer survivor. Her husband Ed, a former doctor, is 84.
Sadly Martha is very ill with a blocked artery to her heart. She elected at her age not to have surgery to clear up the blockage. “Life is a pilgrimage and I’m on my way. I am looking forward to it,” said Martha. She realizes she won’t live much longer but would rather have a better quality of life for the short amount of time she has left than take a chance on surgery and a long recovery.
If you get a chance to watch “The Art of Aging,” please let me know what you think about the show. Leave a comment or two or if you wish just share your thoughts on aging.
Meantime, take in this quote from Maya Angelou, she knew how to age well:
“The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you’re wrinkled.”