Aging and Death as a Vital Stage of Life

by | May 30, 2024

When naturopathic doctors treat people in the early part of their lives, we strengthen them and optimize as much as possible. We help young people to go on to have vibrant lives, equipped with creativity and resilience for the journey. Then, they take their journeys and despite the good diets and exercise and positive thinking and everything else we recommend they do for health, they still age and they still die. So much of medicine is an attempt to delay and defeat death. In natural medicine, Anti-aging is a field in itself. The Fountain of Youth has always been sought.


Naturopathic medicine has much to offer to deal with wear and tear and the effects of time. In my experience, the most important considerations in aging well are

1. A sense of purpose, meaning, and a connection to others, and

2. Exercise.

After those two come diet and everything else. Humans need a reason to get up every day, people to relate to and decent physical self-care. Naturopathic Medicine has a wealth of nutritional approaches, herbs, homeopathy, supplements and more that can support changing bodies in powerful ways. But even so, the longer we live, the more we lose…people, things, capacities – and if we do things to help us live longer, changes will continue to happen to our bodies. Its normal.


Something I didnt know when I was young is how profound the opportunity for personal growth is in older age. So many elders have shared their liberating and transcendent process of realization. As they age, theyve experienced growth and freedom from their dysfunctional old patterns. Having a body that is comfortable enough, that is vital enough, helps them do that.


What is necessary going forward into aging well is a game plan. Inspired by Atul Gawande in his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, I ask everyone to make a list. This list consists of what makes life worth living. What are your personal goals as you age? What is most important to you?


Perhaps not surprisingly, most people are more concerned with quality rather than quantity of life. Although many tell me they want to see their grandchild graduate or attend a wedding, more people tell me they want to be mobile, they want to eat, they want to be lucid, they want their pets cared for. It can be all kinds of things, but the list is essential. The list is the beacon that can inform our health care choices. If we want to be mobile, we need exercise, we need joint supplements, we may need new joints, but it is worth committing to those behaviors and choices to achieve mobility. Wanting to stay mentally clear means we need to learn something new and take different nutrients, correct hearing and vision and communicate meaningfully with others. Making the list, being clear about what matters most to us in our later years, is motivating and organizing. Without having our priorities outspoken, healthcare becomes an ineffectual hodgepodge.


Aging and all that comes with the years can give previously unavailable perspective. It presents opportunities for transcendent inner development. Nourishing the body and mind into a strong and comfortable enough vehicle allows the later years to be the capstone of a life well lived.

Naturopathic Doctor Jody Shevins

By: Dr. Jody Shevins |  Boulder, CO

Dr. Jody K. Shevins is a Registered Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Boulder County, Colorado since 1984.  Completing her pre-medical studies at Cornell University, she graduated from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Dr. Shevins’ central expertise is homeopathy. She is a gifted, experienced diagnostician, able to discern core issues.  She is well versed in conventional medical science along with natural therapeutics.The initial in-depth history provides a brilliant starting place to elucidate what must change in order to get well. Sometimes we need chemical support, nutrients, amino acids, herbs or medications.  Sometimes we need to change our behaviors, change how we choose what we do, how we eat, move, sleep, love, work.  A homeopathic interview provides insight, not only to a homeopathic medicine that can allow healing and change, but gives direction to the next steps for getting well.

Whether it is refinement of the mind-body connection or surgery, this kind of communication between doctor and patient provides clarity and a platform for resolving our health concerns. 


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