The secrets of a long life

The secret to healthy aging is more about staying close to friends and family
and keeping the mind active than having good genes, according to a recent US survey.

The Evercare [email protected] Survey™ looked at 100 Centenarians to discover what
they believe to be important for healthy aging. (The poll also included 900 people
from younger generations for purposes of comparison.)

In addition to staying connected with loved ones and keeping mentally active,
maintaining a sense of independence also ranked high among the 100+.


While younger generations consider the ability to drive and travel key factors
in feeling independent, the 100-year-olds surveyed feel that independence comes
with:


– The ability to take care of themselves on a daily basis


– Staying in good health


– Being able to make their own financial and health decisions


And in terms of maintaining a sense of independence, 85 per cent of Centenarians
also ranked spirituality as very important.


Perhaps contrary to conventional stereotypes, two-thirds of Centenarians report
feeling very independent in their lives.


And having a sense of humour apparently doesn’t hurt either, with 88
per cent of Centenarians saying that having a frequent good laugh is important
for longevity.


It’s your life


Most Centenarians surveyed (63 percent) say they believe healthy aging comes
from lifestyle choices, not from genetics or other factors beyond our control.


“After three years of conducting this survey, common themes emerge when
it comes to the keys to living longer — our lifestyle choices, our spirituality
and our interest in staying engaged in the world around us,” Dr. John Mach,
a geriatrician and chairman of Evercare said in a news
release
.


And, according to the survey, more Centenarians are staying engaged with the
world in a tech-savvy way. They’re talking on cell phones, sending emails,
“Googling” old friends and acquaintances, and surfing Wikipedia and
online dating sites.


<!—

And age certainly won’t interfere with these older citizens heading to
the polls. 70 per cent of Centenarians say they are very likely to vote in this
year’s US presidential election. This compares with only 60 per cent of people
in their twenties.

—>

“If I could leave any message, never stop learning. Period. That’s it,”
said Evercare member and Maryland-based Centenarian Maurice Eisman.


Increase in the number of Centenarians


According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau data, there are more than 84,000 Centenarians
in the United States, and that number is projected to increase seven-fold, to
580,000, by 2040.


In Canada there are 4,635 people aged 100 or older, according to the 2006 Census.
This number is up more than 22 per cent from 2001 (3,790 Centenarians) and nearly
50 per cent from 1996 (3,125 Centenarians). According to the latest population
projections, the number of Centenarians could triple to more than 14,000 by
2031. (Source: Statistics Canada)


ON THE WEB


Read
the complete survey report

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/Robert Simon

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