Very few people have lived more than a few years past their centenary birthday. | MDB files


Over a hundred billion humans have lived and died, and only one of them- a French woman named Jeanne Calment, lived substantially longer than average mortality. At her death in 1997, she was 122 years old. Very few people have lived more than a few years past their centenary birthday. Calment was the exception to one of nature’s fiercest rules.

According to Australian American biologist Dr David Sinclair, however, things are going to change. In recent years, Dr Sinclair and his colleagues figured out how to accelerate the age of a mouse, making it grow older, faster. By removing the treatment, they also found that they could reverse ageing. With a molecule called NMN added to their water, mice muscles appeared younger, they could run further, and their hair didn’t grey.

In his book, ‘LifeSpan: Why We Age- and Why We Don’t Have To’ Dr Sinclair says that ageing isn’t a natural biological process. The hallmarks of ageing- such as epigenetic damage, inflammation and stem cell exhaustion, can be treated like any other disease. “Address one of these, and you can slow down ageing,” argues Sinclair. “Address all of them, and you might not age.”

Sinclair is adamant that these new molecular drugs and supplements, along with other treatments like fasting and cold-water therapy, will help the next generation routinely live to 120 years of age. Yesterday was my daughter’s 4th birthday, and if Sinclair is right, she’ll die at a similar age as Calment. She won’t be the exception but the norm. The fountain of youth may sound like a fantasy, but like sending someone to Mars, the science might not be far behind the dreamers.

Dealing with death
Of course, talk of future treatments to slow, stagnate or even reverse ageing is of little consolation to the terminally ill. When living longer isn’t an option, palliative care ensures maximum comfort and peace of mind in the precious time we have left.

According to the World Health Organisation, “Palliative care is an approach to improving the quality of life of patients and their families confronted with problems associated with a life-threatening disease, through prevention, alleviation, early detection, impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial and spiritual complaints. Palliative Care offers affected patients and relatives support and assistance, enabling a dignified farewell and peaceful death.

As Ann Richardson, author of ‘Life in a Hospice: reflections on caring for the dying’ wrote, “We cannot change the outcome, but we can affect the journey.”
Many ex-pats wonder if they can get the proper care here in Spain in the face of a terminal illness. It’s not just the expertise that might fall short. Language is also a barrier, as explaining your physical and emotional pain in your native tongue is crucial to feeling like you’re receiving adequate support.

Doctor Susanne Esser is a general practitioner who specialises in palliative care and, earlier this year opened up the Dr Esser Medical Center in Llucmajor. Dr Esser completed her specialist training in clinics in the Ruhr area of Germany. There, she focussed on cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology and nephrology (study of the physiology and diseases of the kidneys). For Dr Esser- who is fluent in English, Spanish and German- chronic and malignant disease shouldn’t force ex-patriots to flee their adopted home. At the Dr Esser Medical Center, you’ll find the medical, psychological and spiritual care and support needed in the final stages of life right here on the island.

Palliative care represents a paradigm shift in medicine, as it is not limited to physical issues but takes a holistic approach. Dr Esser wants to know more than just your medical history. She is also interested in your current living conditions, stresses and spiritual needs. The basic assumption is that pain, like other symptoms, is not only caused by physical components but can be triggered or exacerbated by other areas of our lives.

As no single discipline caters for a holistic approach to care, the Dr Esser Medical Clinic has a multi-professional team, offering an array of medical services, whether you’re terminally ill or just in need of a check-up. To fill the sizeable clinic, Dr Esser is accompanied by Dr Barbara Korn- a specialist in orthopaedics, trauma surgery, and traditional Chinese medicine, and Dr Joe Arrindell Jr- an osteopath and physiotherapist.

The facility provides internal medicine, performs heart ultrasounds and echocardiography to monitor long-term heart conditions and blood pressure. It also assesses metabolic syndrome, lung function, veins and arteries. Dr Esser and her team also provide strategies for weight loss and sleep management to achieve healthier minds and bodies.

Even with advancements in longevity treatments like that of Dr Sinclair, ageing and death are still part of life. Whether you have a headache or are facing the emotional prospect of a shortened life, find the care you need at the Dr Esser Medical Center.
Contact the Dr Esser Medical Center on +34 971 740 145, email them at or visit the clinic at Ronda Migjorn 2, 07620, Llucmajor.