Longevity by John Chrysochoos, Ph.D.
This semi-autobiographical work of nonfiction represents a studied examination of numerous issues, dilemmas, and concerns facing the planet’s elderly. The various topics discussed include suggestions as to how people may prepare for the challenges of old age, how the modern medical industry exploits and misleads our elderly, and how the elderly must continue to be integrated with their families and grandchildren, despite today’s changing social trends. A carefully collated series of anecdotes is used to demonstrate how all of these topics have in some way influenced the author’s life and, more importantly, how he has overcome them.
‘Blue zone’ is the term given to certain isolated communities around the world whose inhabitants often live far beyond the average global life expectancy. Famous blue zones exist all around the world, including Central America, East Asia, and the Mediterranean. Chrysochoos himself hails from the village of Ikaria in Greece, which is a well-established blue zone. Given this unique yet dubious gift, Chrysochoos is the perfect person to engage readers in a discussion of what it means to successfully transition into old age. He argues that despite society’s emphasis on wealth and prestige – which isn’t to say that financial security is not important to the elderly, because it certainly is – the most vital resource for maintaining one’s physical and mental health into advanced age is the support and involvement of one’s family. In one of the book’s most poignant chapters, Chrysochoos describes the symbiotic usefulness of mixed-age relationships: the vitality that young children bring to the elderly, and the wisdom that the elderly can bestow upon the young. While this is indisputably true, it is a fact often overlooked in a society that favors youthfulness and competition. In the end, Longevity contains lessons for both old and young readers alike.
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