This is a photo I used in one of the first Where's Armand articles I wrote, titled "Why I'm Chasing a 92 Year Old Man". This was taken in August 2004, three months shy of his 90th birthday and it quickly came to mind when I watched a documentary about some amazingly fit seniors in Japan. Although, like Armand, some of the people featured in the movie may have passed away since it first aired, they were all mentally and physically productive well into their 90s and 100s.
As the documentary opens, you'll see 102 year-old Ryohei Omiya jogging along a country road as he trains for a marathon. What you'll discover later in the show is that there was a time in his mid-80s that he was unable to walk and suffered from depression. The film literally looks into the the brains of these vibrant elders to show the importance of exercise: physical and mental. There's no mention of their diet, but you can easily gather that they don't expect to die soon (one man begins learning Chinese in his 90s) and their routines are healthy.
What can we learn from these "super seniors" and their healthy brains? Health writer, Jean Carper, did some extensive research upon finding that she has the ApoE4 gene that predisposes her to Alzheimer's disease and compiled her results in a new book. Some of her 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss, are similar to the actions of the super seniors. I see several Armand traits and actions, and would love to explore them in his diaries for future articles.
For now, enjoy:
- The Brain Tour, a set of interactive slides that will give you a quick lesson on the anatomy of the brain and the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
- The Art of Aging. The documentary is a Google video that's a little over 50 minutes and you can enlarge the screen size by double clicking the picture.
- Read more about Jean Carper's book or purchase it (available for Kindle too) from Amazon.