Memory loss is simply maturation.


My Mother's Forest Road - Unfinished

Evan Kligman, M.D., who started AgeWell, a membership program of activities related to his practice of Integrative Medicine, is delightfully positive about the process of getting old. A couple of weeks ago, at the first of his summer informal talks with patients (one of the many perks), he explained that when age-related memory loss occurs, often wisdom and creativity are byproducts.

He was referring to the freedom of older human beings, no longer molded to jobs, to become more process-oriented. We become more interested in values, and less concerned about facts; more analytical, and less concerned with mere survival.

You might be shaking your heads right now, wondering if he knows about all those really sick people on medications and devices that keep them breathing and out of pain. To avoid getting into the increasingly distressful debate about whether or not trying to live longer is smart or not, I will just say that Age Well is all about trying to live better once we are “over the hill.” Being positive is one way.

Dr. Kligman looks at memory loss as maturation. We see the forest, though we may not see the trees.

The underlying theme of the morning was “individuation.” This is the future of medicine. There is no one perfect pill for one broad category of disease. Ever since the Human Genome Project, and even more as we try to decipher the effects of experience (especially environment) on DNA, we have gradually come to the understanding that there must be a unique treatment for a unique person. This is happening now in cancer centers.

For those of who want to take control of our health, and who can make changes without harming ourselves, Dr. Kligman and others thinking along the same lines are embracing all kinds of therapies outside the usual kit. There are some things that are obvious: exercise to increase circulation, a diet that won’t lead to diabetes, and – a big one – being aware of side effects of drugs. I know, I know. The fine print is a pain in itself. You can’t even go to the grocery store without a magnifying glass.

I was a victim of Vicodin. Forgive my mentioning my gut problems again, but I want to tell you that I’m better. After reading over my notes from sessions with the AgeWell nutritionist – and finally following her advice to do the most natural and easy thing – eat only fruit for breakfast (along with some pretty wonderful natural foods like Maca powder thrown in) I am FREEEEEEE!!!! Goodbye laxatives. Hello juice blender.

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