Dear Rosemary - a very sad column indeed

Dear Rosemary - a very sad column indeed 

Rosemary McLeod wrote a column on June 14, 2012 talking about living to 100, how terrible it is to grow old, and how, and I quote: “you get to be old as hell for far longer than you’ll enjoy living...”  How very sad.  I have written to Rosemary below.

Dear Rosemary,

Clearly you have not spent time around healthy older people.  My grandmother died last year age 104.  She was in great shape, mentally sharp, happy, healthy and disease-free right up until her natural death from old age.  She would ring from the other side of the world and talk to the great-grandchildren she had never met (my eldest son had the honour of spending time with her in 2010 and at age 21, could not get enough of her, so for a 103 year old to fully engage the attention of her 21 year old great-grandson says a great deal about what the elderly can offer us). 

She was a thoughtful, intelligent and smart woman.  She gave up eating animal products and became a strict vegetarian in 1930.  Did it serve her well?  Yes of course, as she lived a further 81 years in good health because of it.  She was an absolute inspiration to me and my family and a living example of how to age well, with class, warmth and with memory and dignity fully intact.  Longevity is not “genetic” or “by chance”.  When you study the longest-lived peoples of the world, you learn that healthy longevity is dictated to by the diet, lifestyle and environmental choices they make on a daily basis. 

I have written on this many times and all the studies, research and epidemiology figures say the same thing.  As the 100-year 1913-2012 study by the University of Gothenburg said, and I quote: “Hereditary factors don’t play a major role.  Lifestyle has the biggest impact.  We do not inherit mortality to any great extent, but instead it is the sum of our own habits that has the biggest impact”

It is sad that you feel the way you do about the elderly and growing old, when it can be an extra 40 years of magic.

Rosemary’s column in full is here:


Posted: Tuesday 26 June 2012