Ageing Gracefully - It Is A Personal Choice

By Ali Imran Mohd Noordin

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 (Bernama) -- Many people do not view the process of ageing in a positive light. They believe that the process of ageing is a journey towards the end of life.

Many individuals who are trapped in this mindset do not cherish happy moments during their old age. Instead, they only think about death.

The world's population is ageing, and by 2050, one in every five people in developing countries will be more than 60 years old.

According to the United Nations, by 2030, 15 per cent of Malaysia's population will be over the age of 60.

LIFE EXPECTANCY

Americans spend 28 per cent of their income on healthcare services to increase their life expectancy by 18.5 years. It is predicted that global expenditure on anti-ageing products will reach $274.5 billion by 2013.

In fact, the number of cosmetic surgeries had increased by 155 per cent last year.

This writer spoke to Dr Rico Ricketts, who has been in Malaysia since December to avoid winter in Canada.

This 70 year old retired dentist had studied homeopathy, acupuncture, energetic and Ayurvedic medicine, and nutrition over a period of 20 years.

Today, he is a consultant in the area of wellness and health.

The former dentist indeed appears younger than his actual age.

BEHAVIOUR

Over the past few months, Dr Ricketts observed several Malaysians and analysed their views on health. He came to a conclusion that 75 per cent of Malaysians do not exercise.

In fact, they consume a lot of sweet food, including sugar and condensed milk. Consuming a lot of sweet food is unhealthy, he said.

"Malaysians have a sweet tooth, and they love to 'makan'. They add sugar in fresh fruit juices and condensed milk in 'Teh Tarik'," he explained.

According to Dr Ricketts, this has resulted in an increase in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

"To solve these health problems, Malaysians have to change their habits," he said.

MAKING WISE CHOICES

"We make many choices in our lives. We can either spend money on products and quick fixes to fight ageing or control our bodies," said Dr Ricketts.

He also said given the number of technologies available today, one should make an informed choice.

With the Internet, mobile phone applications and other technological devices, many people are well-informed, or at least have access to huge resources of information.

In addition, there is an increase in the number of health and wellness products and services, health awareness campaigns and other initiatives.

Dr Ricketts referred to diet culture practised in a few places on Earth, labelled as 'Blue Zone', where people lead healthy lives even at the age of 90.

"The reason why many people can lead healthy lives at the age of 90 is because they eat to live and not live to eat," he said.

MYTH OF AGEING

A public talk called 'Myth of Ageing' was organised on Jan 19 by Friends to Mankind (F to M), an international non-profit organisation based in Canada.

The talk was held at the Tropicana Medical Centre at 10 am. Dr Ricketts and Dr Rajbans Singh, president of the Malaysian Wellness Society, spoke for three hours.

Dr Rajbans spoke on 'The 10 Points of Healthy Ageing'. He talked about mental stimulation, nutrition, stress management and exercise.

He also talked about bio-identical hormones, DNA profiling and stem cells.

Dr Ricketts talked about elements that contribute to ageing. He also talked about the negative impact of unhealthy living, including diseases caused by eating unhealthy food.

-- BERNAMA