I caught a glimpse on TV yesterday of an interview with a doctor who specialises in ‘Age Management’, which I discover from the internet covers a range of treatments, all of which seem to be about pretending that ageing doesn’t happen. From hormone treament to dietary advice, there is clearly a whole business going on devoted to age denial (or ‘age-control’ as the A.M. proponents might say). I was quite unaware of all this, although constant adverts using middle-aged film stars advertising anti-wrinkle creams should have prepared me for it.
Most of the companies who offer treatment and advice are American. One of them speaks of the ‘unique science of A.M. offering a ‘state of the art electronic body composition analysis by harmless near-infrared light to provide the body fat, lean mass, normalized body water, Body Mass index measure’. Physical strength assessment is done with ‘Spirometry and handgrip dynamometer.’ Money of course is involved, but I didn’t get that far.
It all sounds very impressive if, for me, incomprehensible.
But the real and for me illusory agenda is revealed in another American website which claims ‘contrary to some who would sensationalise, ageing is not a disease, but rather a process, that hopefully, we will all experience over an increasing, lengthening period of time’. No complaints about that, but then I read this, ‘the new specialty provides opportunities to not only maintain, but to regain youthful vigor and live healthier, higher quality lives’’. We all want to be healthy and have quality lives, but getting young again? That’s dangerous nonsense.
We have had friends staying with us whom we first knew when we were students. Inevitably we found ourselves comparing those days with how we live today, sometimes regretting our present limitations, but mostly being very positive about the pleasures we enjoy as older people, rather than wanting to be young again or, worse, pretending to be young.
There was no manifesto-statement about it, but I think we were saying that the ageing ‘process’ – and two of us are now 76 – is endurable and quite often enjoyable. The average age expectation in the U.K. is 79. If we ever crash on into the 80’s, we might of course have a different story to tell.
The inference in these commercial websites – and by what I heard from that TV interview – is that all of us want to go on living as long as possible. I think most of us do ; but hopefully without the aid of ‘spirometry and handgrip dynamometer’.