A huge problem in not only this country, but in much of the world, is that of an aging population. For much of human history, births equaled or exceeded deaths. The old were revered for their knowledge and wisdom, but also taken care of by the young because the old were less capable of caring for themselves. The societal burden was fairly constant and normally borne by relatives and the local community.
Today a large part of the medical profession is devoted to elder care. Facilities like assisted living centers and nursing homes combine regular medical care with room and board. The medical profession has been largely successful in increasing overall lifespan, but much less successful in providing quality of life and self-sustainability to the elder population it helped create. Add to this the declining birth rate in most industrialized nations, and you have a globally aging population and an increasing societal burden for elder care.
You may have noticed that you are aging. It’s a universal phenomenon. With age generally comes lowered physical ability and increasing dependence upon the strength and energy of the youth. While you may be many years from this affecting you personally, you will likely eventually reach old age and it will be of concern. How much dependence upon others would you like during your latter years, and for how long would you like being dependent?
“What goes around comes around” fits here. You may now be caring for an older family member or friend, or you may be contributing, either in positive or negative ways, to how soon you will personally need such care. This issue affects all of us in some way. Since it is an increasing problem because of the average aging population, the issue is affecting more people and the burden is becoming greater over a smaller youth population.
The birth rate is declining for many reasons. Some of them are voluntary: some parents are delaying or avoiding having children. But also the fertility rate is dropping, which appears to be a byproduct of modern society’s general damage to health and vitality. The Standard American Diet, toxins, reliance upon prescription (and other) drugs, and modern stress factors all contribute. Many of the same factors that impact fertility are impacting elder care as well, compounding the problem with the elderly developing chronic diseases too readily and requiring more care. Simply put: this is a modern mess. The same technology that is extending life is also leading to a less healthy society, less children, and more burden to care for the aged.
The common thread
We aren’t going to give up our technology and the way of life it has produced. We will continue to attempt to extend life through medicine and take everything it gives us to prop up life for ourselves and those we care about. We cling to life, because it is precious. What we need most to deal with the problem is one thing: health. If parents are healthy, they may have more and healthier children. If middle-aged people stay healthy, they will build up their bodies and be stronger as they age. If the elderly are healthy, they may delay or even avoid the dependence upon others that could increase the burden on family or lead to a care facility.
“With age-related diseases currently being the major health burden for patients, their families and the healthcare system, targeting the process of aging itself would be the most effective way to reduce this burden and increase the number of years of independent healthy living for all of us.” This quote is from one of the researchers publishing anti-aging research in Current Biology, where a research team from the University of Virginia reviewed data showing how detoxifying the body of two by-products of fat, glycerol and glyceraldehyde, through an alcohol-dehydrogenase-mediated anti-aging response (AMAR), slowed the effects of aging. They found AMAR was induced in calorically restricted animals and humans.
Caloric restriction is just one of the tools that can extend what is commonly called healthspan, or the length of time someone can live a healthy life. With the overweight problem in America, where nearly one in four older adults over the age of 51 are obese, the idea that caloric restriction could improve healthspan is just common sense. Two decades ago the U.S. Surgeon General issued The Surgeon General’s Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, which called for “balancing healthful eating with regular physical activity to achieve and maintain a healthy or healthier body weight.” Did we listen to the Surgeon General’s recommendation? At least one in four Americans apparently did not.
Research abounds on the healthspan extension value of good diet (high nutrient density foods found in a raw, living plant-based diet), good hydration, exercise, stress reduction, sufficient sleep, avoiding drugs that are not absolutely necessary — everything that improves health generally lengthens healthspan. This is the common thread, the best answer to managing our aging population.
If we devoted as much energy and research into proactive disease prevention as we do to chronic disease symptom squelching, our whole society would be better off. We are much too accepting of the bad lifestyles that lead to so-called age-related diseases, which are often poor health management diseases that show up as the body ages. We then look to medicine to magically fix the symptoms, when all they can do is suppress them. This may get us over a crisis and extend life, so the lifespan increases, but at a cost of healthspan.
Who is hurt the most
We note that reducing stress is one key to longevity, yet there is a caregiving epidemic sweeping the country, where many of us are burdened with caring for one or more older adults who need assistance regularly. While a labor of love, it is labor nonetheless, and stressful. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues statistics on caregiving in this country:
- Nearly 17% of the U.S. population, 41.8 million Americans, provide unpaid care to an adult over the age of 50.
- The average caregiver age is around 50 years old.
- More than 75% of caregivers are female.
- Caregivers provide around $470 billion in free labor each year.
- Caregivers provide an average of 23.7 hours per week providing free care to loved ones they don’t live with, and 37.4 average hours per week to those they do live with.
To call this a burden on society is understating the problem. This has huge societal impact. We can and must address this issue with health promotion. There is no other way. In an article published in the Journal of Population Ageing, the author, a researcher with Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, made this appeal: “Pursuing further lifespan extension for older populations via disease control will yield diminishing health dividends because a new treatment for one specific disease of aging does not reduce the other risks of multi-morbidity in late life…If an applied gerontological intervention can be developed that delayed and compressed the morbidity, frailty and disability of late life, then the current strains placed on health care resources and basic scientific research could be dramatically reduced.”
You can improve your own health — that’s a good start. You likely don’t wish to become a statistic, a burden on society, one of the many requiring living assistance due to previous poor health maintenance. No guarantees of course, but you can greatly improve your chances of personally minimizing or avoiding that outcome. If you can influence others around you to live a better lifestyle, to improve their health, you may improve their later-life outcome as well. If you are a caregiver, what can you do for the nutrition and health of your loved ones? And if you are not a caregiver, can you assist someone who is? Perhaps someone in your own family is taking on this role, and the burden is great — can you help take some of the load? Is that load fairly divided by your family?
One of the great modern motivations for people is to “change the world” — presumably for the better. Many social causes gather under this banner: social justice, climate issues, political battles. Yet with all this fervor, 65% of the U.S population believe the world is getting worse, according to the Cato Institute. So much for changing the world. How about improving the world one life at a time? Good health isn’t just a nice option. It is a key to fixing an existential crisis of our time.
Dr. Nemec’s Review
This is definitely a crisis in the world, especially the United States. Our years of poor habits: poor eating habits, poor exercising habits, poor lifestyle habits has caught up with us.
We could change the entire population’s health in a matter of a very short time — less than one year — if everyone would adopt more of a living, raw plant-based diet, and exercise for a bare minimum of 45 minutes a day by walking, bike riding, swimming, walking up and down stairs, weight training, and body exercises.
The biggest factor is diet. With every bite we take, with every drink we drink, everything that goes in our mouths will either inflame us or deflame us. It’s a simple as that.
Why are elderly living longer but having a less quality of life?
Why is there such a burden on the healthcare system and then personal family members to keep the aging living a long life, when it is such an artificially boosted life of medication to suppress symptoms? Each one of these medications has between seven and 500 side effects.
In the physical world, you reap what you sow. This is a law.
The problem is, we are reaping an inflammatory body and brain, because of sowing an inflammatory diet from early age on and way, way too much of a sedentary life from an early age on.
What happened to the old fashion country doctor? You know, the one that cared about the patient — not about quotas of how many medications they prescribe in a month, not about quotas for how many people they admit into the hospital each month.
What happened to the person who would recommend changing diet, getting exercise, eating more natural remedy foods to help decrease inflammation naturally?
This country is too far gone for the medical establishment to even begin to help, because their only help causes more problems. Each medication you take has a bare minimum of seven abnormal affects on cellular biochemistry and physiology.
Let me use this analogy. The way we see health in America is so out of balance, so miss perceived, because we’re so blind that we can’t even see the right thing to do.
It’s almost like depositing $100 into your savings account every month, expecting to have a retirement, yet when you get to your retirement age, you learned that for every hundred dollars you saved, they are withdrawing $700 from your account.
This means when it’s time to retire, not only do you have no money, but you owe seven times the amount, so you are bankrupt. Now the system takes your house and all your assets to cover the debt.
Sometimes we are just the blind leading the blind.
It’s time to open our eyes and see the truth about health and about life real life, not artificially induced life.
Medicine works amazingly in emergency situations to save lives. This is where it shines, but as far as chronic health conditions, its only answer is more medications with more side effects that just temporarily patches symptoms, but in the end hurts you more than helps you. This is not the way that this country should be going.
We have grown fat and lazy, and filled with excuses. Well, everyone you know eats like this and lives like you do, without exercising much — that’s why this is the blind leading the blind.
Let’s get back to common sense. Let’s get back to the facts. Let’s get back to health promoting habits, healthy diet and lifestyle
If we do not, this story will not end well. Children are being diagnosed with adult diseases very early in life. This is not the way we want to go. Middle aged dying early of very preventable diseases. Elderly not able to enjoy life to the full because of their health — not only physical, but mental health. Remember, inflammation from diet and lifestyle inflames the body, and the brain, not just the body.
We do not need people living longer, unless they are living longer with a higher quality of life, with a purpose in life, with a vitality for life. To have someone just live longer without a quality of life is no life — it’s just mere existence.
We could rationalize this by saying they deserve to live as old as the system can allow them to live. The problem with this approach — since they are reaping what they sowed — not only does the nation and national debt have to pay the bill, but also — and much more importantly — other family members have to pay the bill in many ways, not just financially.
To care for an elderly parent is one of the major mental and emotional stressors on the body and mind. This is because, as most people age and the inflammation increases in their body, needing more and more medications for more conditions, that inflammation also increases in the brain, making them very selfish, self-centered, and very difficult at times to be with.
What does this mean to the person giving the caregiving? Higher amounts of inflammation in their body because of the stressors, and potentially increased risk of early onset disease leading to just a much lower quality of life for themselves.
If you go to natural countries that don’t rely on the government, but instead rely on their own resources, their own ability to take care of themselves, aging can be quite a beautiful thing. You’ll see countries where the great grandmother is 102 years old, still working in the garden, still walking to church, still laughing with her family — and taking zero medication. How can this be?
Is this the place of the fountain of youth? No, it’s just a place where people eat off the land, grow their own food, work hard as a lifestyle, and enjoy it because not only does it make them healthier but also makes them live longer while remaining healthy.
We would love to have all of our family members live to be 100 — if they could live the same lifestyles, have the same activity, have the same happiness and laughter in their lives that they had when they were 50. But this is usually not the case in the United States: as the inflammation from poor diet and lifestyle builds up, it damages body and brain, and this leads to very set in their ways elderly people that are very difficult to be with socially. Needless to say, there’s no laughing. There’s no fun. There is no life — where there could have been if things were changed.
So what can we do right now — for ourselves, for our children, for our grand children, and for our parents and grandparents? We can get back to basics: we can all work on family diet changes, family goals, family physical activities, family accountability — all this leads to family fun, family laughter, and family longevity. The way we want it to be, not the way it is.
The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step. All you have to do is take that first step, but don’t do it just yourself, share the gift in love — make those around you accountable to the family unit, not the individual.
At first, this will be high stress, because nobody likes change. It’s painful to change, but as time goes on the pain will be less and the gain will be more, and you will finally start reaping the kind of life that you wanted to for yourself and your family.
Somebody has to stand up for what is right. Somebody has to make a change. Somebody has to open their eyes and wake up before everyone is affected by this downward spiral.
Are you that someone? Or will you just choose to be another victim of the system and try to pass the blame to someone else?
It’s all up to you. I put before you today blessing and curses, you choose which you will have, but remember that choice doesn’t just affect you. It affects all the generations, so choose wisely. The whole future is counting on it.
Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.