Ikaria, The Fountain of Youth, 2




fad routine adhere to
envy outlive fountain of youth
senile diagnosis investigate
glory disabled combination
brew dementia it turns out
grip trace (2) mental faculty
cane spunky engagement
giggle vice (2) supplement
prowl suspect mindlessly
pine gallon warehouse
sever plant (3) inflammation
kneed terrain vice versa
idyllic consume centenarian
vile digestion repository








What if there was a place, an idyllic island where residents don’t go to gyms; don’t take special pills; or adhere to fad diets.

And yet they live longer and have a quality of life many far younger souls could only envy.

It’s certainly hard to believe in a fountain of youth outside mythology or movies.

But then it might also be hard to believe what my Nightline co-anchor, Bill Weir actually found when he traveled to an amazing place in the Aegean Sea.

When you think of the good life on a Greek island, you might picture all-night bakanals on the sand of Mykonos. Or live bodies toasting the fleeting glory of youth.

And party like there is no tomorrow.

But what if I told you there was another Greek island few people know about, where they party long past tomorrow—and well into their nineties!

A place where they eat amazing food…wash it down with homemade wine…

And make love—without the help of any little, blue pills.

Journalist: Two times a week? That’s impressive.

Well that place is real.

And it is called Ikaria, a 25 mile stretch of mountains in the Mediterranean Sea, and home to about 8,000 hearty souls—many of whom refuse to get sick or senile…

Many simply refuse to die.

Dan Buettner. Largely it’s been a forgotten island.

Dan Buettner is a fellow at National Geographic, and an expert on so-called Blue Zones, places like Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy—places where people manage to outlive us by ten years or more.

Dan: This island has three times the number of siblings over ninety, more than anyplace else in the world.

When he first began investigating this place, he found a guy named Stomitas Moriaitas, an Ikrian who moved to the States as a young man, and stayed until age 66 when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Given just a few months to live, Stomaitas moved back home, planted a garden…and waited to die.

But death never came.

And 36 years later, after he had outlived all of this doctors . . . he passed peacefully—at a 102.

Dan: You don’t want to live to a hundred if the last two years of your life, you’re disabled in a bed. Here they live a very long time, they tend to die peacefully, in their sleep. And occasionally after SEX!

They also have all their mental faculties in place. Americans will spend half-a-trillion dollars a year by 2050 on dementia. Here they only have a small trace of dementia.

So in other words, living a long time and staying sharp to the end go hand in hand.

So what’s their secret here?

And can we steal it?

Well it turns out that finding theories is as easy as finding spunky seniors, like Evangelina.

Journalist: What is your secret?
Journalist: Ah, that’s what it is: you’ve got a friend upstairs.

She’s 97 years old and has grip of a teenager.

Journalist: When you come to New York City, I’m going to take you out to nightclubs.

When she’s not cleaning her own house, or yelling at another lady, she’s playing the mandolin, and singing, but not in demand.

We tried to trick her into singing a few bars, but she was too quick for that.

Journalist: You’re going to be 125.

And then there’s Konstantinos: a century old and showing up for work every day.

The cane helps with the wooden leg—he lost the real one fighting in World War Two.

And his secret is home brew. Wine and wisdom from a hundred year old Greek.

Demetrius is just a baby at 78, but on well on his way.

Journalist: So what is the secret?
Demetrius: Three glasses of wine a day.

And if you think living forever means giving up vices, meet Gregorios: a pack a day smoker.

And attention ladies: he is looking for love.

Journalist: How old do you want your next wife to be?
Gregorios: About 50, 65.

Journalist: You cradle robber.

It soon becomes obvious that these are guys who maximize social engagement.

And minimize stress.

And the best way to do that is to throw away the clock.

Dan: They have a very strange routine: They tend to wake up late. They work in the morning, eat lunch at about one or two, take a nap—and in the summer, people will stay up till two or three in the morning.

Journalist: So that’s my kind of circadian rhythm.

When Ben Franklin came up with that whole “Early to bed, early to rise” stuff, he obviously had never been to Ikaria.

Or met guys like Gregoras; on some nights he’ll be on the prowl till early morning.

Oh, really? You were dancing naked after the wine.

Gregoras: If you don’t like what you don’t like what you see, get out of here!

Journalist: I want to party with you.

But be careful what you wish for. You see, Ikaria is named after Icarus, you remember the guy in Greek mythology who flew to close to the sun, and crashed into the sea.

The story blames his waxed wings—but after this kind invitation from these kind strangers, I suspect it had something to do with the local grape juice.

Journalist: And that wine last night? That is not your typical bottle of Merlot. Well that stuff is like 15 proof.
Dan: You can remove paint with it. They very rarely drink wine by itself. It’s always consumed with a little bit of food, consumed with friends. It’s not like coming home from work and pounding a couple of glasses.

The rest of their diet is typical Mediterranean goodness: a lot of fish, a lot of nuts. A little meat.

They start their day with a spoonful of thick, pine-flavored honey, to coat the digestive tract.

And they drink gallons of local herbal tea, a natural diuretic which keeps inflammation down. There must be some kind of aphrodisiac there.

Dan: Do you give your wife a kiss?
Journalist: She’s giggling like a school girl.

And despite the sever terrain, there are no escalators, no wheelchair lanes, no shuttle buses. These are people who move to live. And vice versa.

Dan: Our grandparents burned up to five times as many calories in non-exercise physical activity. Here there people move mindlessly.

They burn a thousand calories a day just doing chores: kneading bread, gardening, walking to their friends’ house.

Now I think that’s a big secret for Americans. Nobody here tried to live to a hundred. They didn’t go on the centenarian diet, they didn’t exercise their way to health, go to the gym, take a supplement.

It happened.

It’s the result of their environment.

Journalist: And when it comes to mental health, here’s another huge key: old folks are TREASURED in this society.

Journalist: The notion that they would warehouse their seniors is a vile thought here.
Dan: Yeah. The idea that you would put your aging parent in a retirement home would bring shame to the family. They’re seen as a repository of wisdom. They help with child care. They help with the garden.

They feel like they have a sense of purpose. They’re not told: “Well you’ve worked for 40 or 50 years…go down to Florida to retire.

All that we know for sure is that people are living eight to ten years longer without dementia. They do so without depression, without heart disease and cancer—big killers in America.

They don’t have any special genes. There’s some combination of the way they live and their environment that is yielding extraordinary longevity.

Journalist: But if Evangelina gets her way, scientists and reporters will be coming to her house for a long time to come—to find the secrets of a long and happy life.

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Greece. Describe the geography of Ikaria. What is the climate like there? Is it tropical and hot year round, continental or Mediterranean?

What happened to Stomitas Moriaita, the man who was diagnosed with cancer in the US when he was 66?

“My secret is I have a friend upstairs.” What does this mean?

What do the Ikarians eat and drink? Do they take pills or medication?

Are old people romantic?

The old people on Ikaria sit at home and watch TV. True or false?

Do old people live in retirement homes or retirement communities?
Is Ikaria similar to your community, village, town or city; or is it totally different?

Is there a community, village or town like Ikaria in your country?

I would like to live on Ikaria. Yes or no? Would you like to visit the island?

Would you like to live like the people of Ikaria? Can the Ikarians teach the rest of the world a lesson?
Tunisia. What will happen in the future?

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