27.05.2024

102-year-old doctor shares her secrets to longevity as she looks to the future with her 10-year plan

A 102-year-old doctor who still works has shared her tips for living a long and fulfilling life as she continues to focus on the future with her 10-year plan.

Dr. Gladys McGarey, from Scottsdale, , is known as the mother of holistic medicine, a form of healing that takes the patient’s mind, body, and spirit into account during treatment.

She co-founded the American Board of Holistic Medicine and had a family practice for more than 60 years. The mother of six continues to work as a consulting doctor and writer.

McGarey was 100 when she started penning her new book, The Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age, which was published last week.

She makes an effort to move daily, including reaching her daily step count and riding her tricycle. In her free time, she knits, listens to audiobooks, and talks with friends.

As she lifts the lid on her keys to longevity while promoting her latest book, FEMAIL has highlighted her best advice below.

Dr. Gladys McGarey, from Scottsdale, Arizona, has shared her tips for living a long and fulfilling life in her new book, The Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age

Dr. Gladys McGarey, from Scottsdale, Arizona, has shared her tips for living a long and fulfilling life in her new book, The Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age

The author, who is known as the mother of holistic medicine, discovered she wanted to become a doctor while growing up in India with her missionary parents

The author, who is known as the mother of holistic medicine, discovered she wanted to become a doctor while growing up in India with her missionary parents

Discover your life’s purpose 

McGarey believes that one of the most important things you can do to live life to the fullest is to find your ‘juice’ — your purpose for living.

In her book, she wrote about how she discovered she was meant to be a doctor when she was just eight years old.

She grew up in India with her parents, who were medical missionaries, and spent years thinking she was ‘stupid’ because she struggled with dyslexia.

McGarey was 100 when she started penning her latest book, which was published earlier this month

McGarey was 100 when she started penning her latest book, which was published earlier this month

McGarey recalled how her father took her older brothers hunting one fateful day, leaving her and her younger siblings to help their mother in the medical tent.

A young man brought over a wounded elephant for treatment. Even though her mother wasn’t a veterinarian, she removed a splinter of bamboo from the animal’s foot and irrigated the infection.

Assisting her mother that day made her realize that she was meant to be a doctor.

‘Each of us is here to connect with your unique gifts, this is what activates our desire to be alive,’ she wrote. ‘Achieving this connection isn’t necessarily the point. The search counts for far more. The process of «finding our juice» keeps us vital.’

McGarey is also an advocate for having a 10-year plan and looking to the future.

She told Insider that her current plan involves creating a village for ‘living medicine’ where people of all ages can care for each other and practice wellness.

‘A 10-year plan makes space for everything,’ she explained in her book. ‘It’s a far enough reach that it keeps our life force activated. Yet it’s close enough that we can achieve it, dust ourselves off, and plan anew.’

McGarey spent two months on a medical mission in Afghanistan and India at the age of 84 (pictured on the trip)

McGarey spent two months on a medical mission in Afghanistan and India at the age of 84 (pictured on the trip)

Know there is a lesson in everything

McGarey has had her fair share of struggles over the years, including surviving cancer and grieving the death of her daughter.

She was almost 70 when her husband of 46 years and clinic partner, William McGarey, left her for another woman.

The author told Today that the painful experience was ‘a huge teacher’ that helped her find her own voice and led her to start a new holistic medical practice with her daughter.

‘Up to that point, I had depended on [his] support in the things that I was saying. After that, I had to believe that what I was saying had strength and was important,’ she explained.

‘Once I could actually find my own voice, I wrote him a letter and thanked him for giving me my freedom. Because up until that time, I did not feel that my voice was strong enough.’

McGarey also takes cues from her dreams because she believes they are the key to the unconscious and advises others to do the same.

In her interview with Today, she explained that when she is wrestling with a decision, she asks for a dream before going to bed. She immediately writes down the dream after waking up and searches for messages from her unconscious.

McGarey believes that one of the most important things you can do to live life to the fullest is to find your 'juice' - your purpose for living

McGarey believes that one of the most important things you can do to live life to the fullest is to find your ‘juice’ — your purpose for living

The doctor (pictured on her 96th birthday) combats unnecessary stress in her life by letting go of things or experiences that no longer serve her

The doctor (pictured on her 96th birthday) combats unnecessary stress in her life by letting go of things or experiences that no longer serve her

Let go of anything that doesn’t serve you 

McGarey combats unnecessary stress in her life by letting go of things or experiences that no longer serve her.

She explained in an interview with CNBC Make It that the happiest and healthiest people she knows understand the importance of releasing whatever isn’t working in their lives.

‘My mom taught me an easy way to release things that don’t matter. She would raise her hand gently in front of us, fingers held loosely, palm up. Then swoop it down and back and say, «It doesn’t matter,»‘ she told the outlet.

McGarey adopted the same practice and has grown to understand the significance of the symbolic gesture.

‘I realize that there’s great empowerment in knowing that whenever I notice something coming toward me, I can choose whether to take it in,’ she said. ‘And if it’s something I don’t want, I consciously give the energy back to wherever it came from.’

McGarey is consistent with her daily fitness goals, which include walking 3,800 steps a day. She also rides an adult tricycle around her yard and neighborhood

McGarey is consistent with her daily fitness goals, which include walking 3,800 steps a day. She also rides an adult tricycle around her yard and neighborhood

McGarey wrote about the importance of having a 10-year plan in her book. 'It's a far enough reach that it keeps our life force activated,' she explained

McGarey wrote about the importance of having a 10-year plan in her book. ‘It’s a far enough reach that it keeps our life force activated,’ she explained

Keep moving 

McGarey makes sure she keeps moving, both literally and figuratively.

She is consistent with her daily fitness goals, which include walking 3,800 steps a day with the help of her walker.

The doctor also rides an adult tricycle around her yard and neighborhood. She recently shared footage of herself riding the bike on her Instagram page.

‘I do things that I can do, that I want to do,’ she told Fortune.

When it comes to moving through life, she follows her mother’s motto: make do.

‘Look for what you can do, not what you can’t do,’ she said. ‘Our bodies are our teachers … if we pay attention to it, we learn lessons.’

The mother of six does a prayer every morning before heading downstairs and starting her day

McGarey follows a daily routine and typically has Raisin Bran and prune juice for breakfast

McGarey follows a daily routine and typically has Raisin Bran and prune juice for breakfast

Find what works for you 

McGarey follows a daily routine, but she doesn’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to living.

She told Insider that on most days she wakes up and does a morning prayer before heading downstairs and starting her day.

McGarey likes to have a bowl of Raisin Bran and a glass of prune juice for breakfast, while lunch is typically a salad and soup.

However, she explained in her interview with Today that she eats whatever she wants to eat, including the occasional hamburger.

She doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol, but she isn’t opposed to the latter.

‘I think wine for some people is a lovely thing. It’s what works for you,’ she said.

‘The individual person has to live their own individual life, so as you find what works for you, bless it and use it and work with it.’

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