The hardest thing to see is the obvious.
About 27 years ago, I got involved with Frank Chopp's Fremont Public Association (Seattle), when caregiving was beginning to emerge as a mainstream topic, with the panic over the AIDS epidemic, as well as other life-ending conditions often self-inflicted as well as what was regarded as the natural consequence of people living longer.
My background and orientation up to then, was really about high-end athletics, and particularly the problem of optimizing growth at any age, hoping that it was possible to remain competitive (high-performance) throughout an extended duration than had been accepted as possible -- if the state-of-the-art knowledge was perfected. It was often noted that this fall from Olympian heights could be very rapid and undoubtedly distressful for those who had up to then known nothing but a high level of proficiency and freedom from injury and dysfunction. However, it was more likely the case that such high-intensity participation was unsustainable as well as often contributing to their rapid demise through increasing injury, disease and dysfunction.
This conclusion was unmistakable: People's behaviors (and lack thereof), was the overwhelming single greatest factor to their condition and conditioning. Things seldom just happen. Individuals are largely responsible for what happens -- and particularly, what happens to them selves -- even though they may think they are doing all the "right" things. But the results do not corroborate those conclusions.
That happens when we are just flat out wrong in our certainty of knowing what is happening -- when we have not even begun to ask the right questions. That has largely been the case with Alzheimer's and the other increasing dysfunctions associated with age and aging. The only true experts are those who have not fallen victim to the ravages of these conditions -- and not those who have in spite of their expertise and knowledge.
Yet billions go to fund this expertise and knowledge -- because that is their game and turf -- that perpetuates the academic hierarchy and status quo, just as in previous times, there was no "cure" for other terminally chronic conditions -- until we jumped to a higher level of understanding of it, which then made it moot. That is what is happening at the present time -- but not in the traditional academic and research institutions, but in the laboratories of our individual lives -- and how we actualize it.
It doesn't matter how long we live anymore; the important question is how well we can live our lives to the end -- however long that may be. That is the qualitative shift into the 21st Century -- which renders a lot of the problems of the 20th Century mute. The essential question is not how can we take better care of others -- but how can we take better care of ourselves, which breaks the dependency-codependency of 20th Century culture. Obviously, we can't have more people taking care of more people -- but need more people to take better care of themselves to reduce the need for more "professional" caregiving, which as everybody familiar recognizes, multiplies the problems and difficulties.
But that is not the kind of society we want, or should envision. Instead, we can cut to life without these problems -- which are largely self-inflicted. As one of the most observant persons in the field of movement and exercise, it was obvious to me that the weakness of the human condition, was largely the inadequacy of effective circulation at the most critical organs of the human body -- at the head, hands and feet -- resulting in the notable decline in brain function, grip strength and foot strength to maintain balance -- areas that are easy to improve, but will not happen with traditional/conventional exercise regimens that don't regard that development as their highest priority, with its focus on the heart function, and core muscle strength.
In order to gauge the effectiveness of the circulation to the head, hands and feet -- it must be measured at the head, hands and feet, and not simply measured and implied at the heart. The effectiveness of any circulation, has to be measured at the extremity -- and not at its source. That would be tantamount to putting the thermostat in the furnace -- rather than at the extremity where one spends most of their time -- and then wondering why one is never comfortable. In the same way, one can only detect the effectiveness of the circulation to the head, hands and feet -- when there is fullest muscular contraction and relaxation just as with the heart, because while the heart pumps the blood out to the extremity, it is the extremity that must pump blood back to the heart -- to optimize that cycle.
Therein lies the problem -- as anyone would recognize visiting a large population of those with dementia. They never move their head. The marker for decline in any person, is the atrophy particularly of their neck muscles -- caused by never moving them through the full range of its movement from fullest contraction to fullest relaxation -- which is the distinctive action required to pump any fluid through a hydraulic system. The heart does that automatically -- but the defining difference, is whether the muscles at the extremity effectively pushes the spent blood back to create room for the new. Failing that side of the equation, the cells and organs will die and be diminished.
That active, muscular functioning and range of movement by the head, is never exhibited by those with dementias -- as far as I've ever witnessed. The range and movement of the head, is an indication of its cognitive functioning or decline -- in everyone! And vice-versa. The human body is not designed to run, lift or jump -- as much as it has evolved to move its head, hands and feet -- as its primary, health-sustaining movements. That is not done by conventional/traditional exercise -- no matter how much of it is done. That is why conventional/traditional exercise is no help -- but rather diverts the flow to all the wrong places -- the core muscles, rather than the extremities which are invariably ignored as unimportant.
That's how the human body fails -- in everyone, some faster than others. What can we do about it? Throw billions more money at it -- for the same results -- and worse? It's a good business for the grant-writers. Of course they don't want the situation to get any better. How could it?
It requires a new insight into the obvious. That different understanding is the turning point -- and not however many billions you want to throw at the traditional/conventional profiteers. And if you rely on such experts, their answer will be invariably, that they need infinitely more money -- to not solve the problem, which is within the grasp of everyone experiencing these difficulties in their lives. That is the only way it can be solved -- and not by the caregiving industry. They are the problem.