Centenarian tips on love and longevity
Finding health and happiness at 100: Centenarians share their keys to longevity from a century of experience
Everyone has their own hunch to secrets to longevity, keys to happiness, and healthy habits, but those answers often contradict each other. For example, some people swear by a clean diet and healthy lifestyle, while others say their love for whiskey is the contributor to a long life.
The matter begs the question: is a healthy life necessarily a happy one? In an attempt to answer these questions, we recently conducted a survey of 68 centenarians to capture their thoughts, experience and perspective on longevity, health, and happiness. After all, centenarians, or those who have celebrated a 100th birthday, certainly know a thing or two about longevity. While answers predictably differed, some constant trends emerged from the survey.
Focus on family
Centenarians overwhelmingly attributed their health and happiness to spending time with their families. In fact, if offered the opportunity to do it all over again, more than one-third said they would spend more time with loved ones. Today’s rise of technology use may serve as a distraction, but uninterrupted time with family and friends should remain a priority for optimal health and happiness.
Lean on community
The power of community should not be overlooked when it comes to longevity as 40 percent of centenarians said community contributed a great deal to longevity. A sense of community also echoed in what respondents think today’s adults will regret, “wasting time” and “being so critical of others.” Additionally, 80 percent of survey respondents feel that living in an independent senior living community has contributed to their longevity either somewhat or a great deal. Whether it is a traditional community, one built upon shared interests or hobbies, or even a digital forum, harness the power of community.
Not surprisingly, centenarians overwhelmingly contribute exercise and staying active to their longevity, followed by hard work, eating healthy, family and friends, and faith. Staying active may look different for each of us; for example, one survey respondent said he played golf nearly every day for 55 years. Taking steps each day to fit in activity is a great way to make exercise a habit for life. Exercise also played a large role in what centenarians think today’s adults will regret, such as “not taking care of themselves” and “eating too much.”
While the keys to longevity will surely continue to be debated, it is comforting to know we can all achieve health and happiness in different ways. Some might insist a daily helping of chocolate and laughter is all you need, while others find the key to longevity is found within a passion, hobby, or simply hard work. And as you keep this in mind, remember that our surveyed centenarians hint that a combination of family, community, and an active lifestyle certainly do not hurt in discovering health and happiness at 100.
Interested in the full report, “100 Years of Wisdom: Perspective of Centenarians,” and accompanying infographics? Visit 100yearsofwisdom.com.