Elder

Life Lessons From The Elders

ElderIn an article I found, 3 centenarians shared their life stories and words of wisdom on longevity. This was especially interesting to me since my father was 100 years old when he passed and my mother was nearing 98.  

They all agreed that a positive attitude, gratitude and appreciation for living is apparent and plays a major role in longevity.  Age is, after all, just a number. This became quite evident when the 3 elderly people were interviewed in the LifeHunters video. They each had their own story. Their birth years are 1915, 1913 and 1914.

Their strength and positivity are apparent, along with a will to live and a continued interest in and curiosity about the world around them.  While times were changing throughout their lives, they kept on living and adapting to the new phases of their lives. It was noted that they each looked far younger than their chronological years and definitely didn’t act their age.  Positive attitudes are undoubtedly to credit for helping them stay young at heart.

The mind has definite power over your body, according to evidence, and these centenarians exemplified this.  Don’t assume your body and mind will fail as you age or it will probably follow suit. Keep positive while challenging and welcoming changes.

None of these centenarians were health nuts, but they each understand the value of eating real food, which was the only option when they were born.  Home-cooked food was all they were offered. Plus the fact that most families raised their own food and many raised their own meat. Reverting back to this traditional way of eating is the best route for health and longevity.

A woman, at 116, revealed her dietary secret as eating three eggs (two of them raw) and raw minced meat daily.  All the others mentioned the importance of variations of intermittent fasting. In Japan, many who live to 100 and beyond believe in eating until you are only 80% full.

More agreed upon traits were having strong positive relationships, fond memories and living in the moment.  They were all able to look back on their life experiences and relationships with appreciation and gratitude.  Research shows that the types of social relationships someone enjoys can actually put them at risk for premature death.  About 50% increased likelihood for survival for participants with stronger social relationships. They expressed that the newness of possessions wears off just as the joy they bring you.  Experiences improve your sense of vitality, and being alive during the experience and when you reflect back on it.

Regardless of their health, they tend to have positive attitudes, optimism and a real zest for life. Their motto seems to be living in the moment, living for the day and having no regrets. They do not dwell on what they have lost but appreciate all the living they have done and have yet to do. Keeping active physically, mentally and socially will help them to stay young and healthy.

Helping others will come back to you hundreds-fold as well as being a lifelong learner.  They sincerely wish they had taken their studies more seriously early on in life. Educations early in life is regarded as a crucial point and correlated with a longer life.

Based on years of data the following is reported for those centenarians at age 70:

  • 37% were overweight
  • 8% were obese
  • 37% were smokers (for an average of 31 years)
  • 44% reported only moderate exercise
  • 20% never exercised at all

However, Israeli physician Nir Barzilai of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York emphasizes you should not disregard the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices.

The words of wisdom from these centenarians are “keep right on to the end of the road.”  Be independent as you can but don’t be reluctant to ask for help when you need it. Behave well to other people and show them respect.  Help them as much as you possible can, and it will be repaid hundred-folds.

It seems to me all the above advice from these centenarians should be valued by those of us approaching this stage of life.  What better advice to take than that experienced by someone who has actually lived it?

Dr Fredda Branyon

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