The Island Where People Forget to Die

On October 28, 2012, the New York Times published the above titled article about the Greek island Ikaria. Ikaria is known as one of the places where people live longest. Residents of Ikaria reach the age of 90 at 2 ½ times the rate Americans do. Ikarian men are 4 times as likely as their American counterparts to reach 90. Of course, lifestyle, diet and stress levels play a significant role.

I was struck by the author’s observation that “It’s not a ‘me’ place; it’s a ‘we’ place. There are physical attributes of the Island that have kept it isolated for centuries, which bring out a strong communal spirit.

Family, Friendship and Community are extremely important. One of the residents stated there is no Greek word for privacy. “When everyone knows everyone’s business you get a feeling of connection and security”.

Now, I am not suggesting we eliminate privacy, but a sense of connection with important people in your life. While the Rogue Valley is certainly not as isolated as Ikaria, we do have the opportunity to create community for ourselves right here.

As Dr. Judith Horstman said perhaps the physician of the future will say: ‘Call two friends and check in with me in the morning”.


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