Woody Allen, now 70 years old, said recently ‘I haven’t mellowed. I haven’t gained any wisdom. You don’t wanna get older. There’s nothing going for it’. These blogs in their modest way suggest a different attitude to ageing, but without ignoring it. So, this is new territory and the challenge is to learn how to live in it positively. An elderly friend said to us the other day, ‘ageing is not for wimps’. Regular visits to the doctor can make us feel very wimpish. Some doctors compound the feeling by appearing to agree with it. But keeping track of our health means making those visits and accepting prescriptive medical advice. But looking after ourselves by supplementary remedies can be helpful too.
First, what about the prescriptions? Wisely when we have health problems we consult our doctors. I think it important to consult, rather than to accept treatment without explanation. Too easily we just take what we are given without sufficient knowledge of what the treatment or more usually the drug is intended to achieve.
Similarly any likely side effects should be explained, rather than leaving us to read the list of possibilities when we open the packet. Our relationship with doctors should be as open as it is between any two human beings, however dependent we are on them. Only once have I had occasion to feel ill treated, otherwise I am grateful to the profession. But we should never allow doctors to intimidate us.
And the supplementaries? Apparently as many as 43% of British people regularly take vitamin and mineral supplements. There has also been some recent research that a sensible diet is all you need and supllements are unncessasry. I am not qualified to advise on this, and there is a whole market run by enthusiasts many of whom come up with something new every day, often gathered around a single theory, such as the book I saw in our local library’s health section with the title ’The Ultimate Cabbage Soup Diet’.
(If that’s the route to good health, I think I’d rather be unhealthy). But as we get older we do need to look after our joints, watch our level of cholesterol and be sure we have a proper intake of basic vitamins – we will have a look at that later. Most of all, as we’ve already said, it is so important to get regular exercise and to have a good balanced diet in which the nutrients we need can be consumed naturally and pleasurably, without much additional or alternative medicine.