Living longer: Secrets of being a super-centenarians living to 100 plus
SAN DIEGO, May 11, 2021– Living to 100 is not uncommon today and with super-centenarians on the increase it is projected by 2050, there will be 3.7 million centenarians worldwide.
Working in the field of aging and disability, and an advocate on behalf of anti-ageism, the prospect of living to the age of 100 or more is of great interest.
What are the secrets to longevity and is it possible to become one of the projected 3.7 million super-centarians? Is long life more eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, being surrounded by family and friends, having a purpose and eliminating stress in life?
What does it take to become a super-centenarian?
Published in BestLife, a study from the journal eLife which studied blood samples which they took first from persons age 105 and older. Then from those ages 68 years old who were healthy without diseases common to the aging process.
Persons in the study come from different parts of Italy, obtaining a broad sampling geographically.
When studies were done on their genome sequencing, allowing the researchers to compare and contrast these two groups, it was discovered that both groups possessed similar genetic similarities.
The researchers discovered two significant gene variances:
The STK17A gene, which coordinates cellular response to DNA damage; and, BLVRA, which is important in cellular health.
Researches reportedly also found that those super-centenarians over age 105 had fewer genetic mutations, which could have accounted for greater overall health and lack of the common age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease.
“Laughter keeps you healthy. You can survive by nose at sadness; turn tables on tragedy…You can’t laugh and feel envious.”
-Bel Kaufman, super-centarian age 101
Beyond genetics are other factors which lend towards longevity, of which the psychosocial aspects of life could have a profound impact.
According to Stuart Kim, a developmental biologist at Stanford University, says that centenarians often:
“Seem to be born with slower clocks than the rest of us….When you meet them, they all look and act 20 years younger than they actually are.”
Thomas Perls, a professor of medicine and geriatrics at Boston and director of New England Centenarian Study at Boston Medical Center says:
“Most of what we think are age-associated problems are not due to ageing itself but to the things we do ourselves, like smoking, drinking too much or being overweight….Those things that lead to the disabilities we see with aging,”
“Eat right and do what you love….I have never worked a day in my life!” -Dr. Lalla Denmark, age 114
The average life expectancy of our global community is 73.2 years combined for both sexes.
Currently in the US, our life expectancy ranks 48th from a list of approximately 193 countries, with an average life expectancy of 79.11 years combined for both sexes; with 81.65 years for women and 76.61 years for men.
There are approximately 2.2 centenarians per 10,000 people living the US today; and, it projected that China, followed by Japan, the US, Italy, and India with the largest worldwide population of centenarians by 2050.
With no static limitation to human lifespan,
“Not only do we see mortality rates that stop getting worse with age, we see them getting slightly better over time,” says Kenneth Wachter, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of demography and statistics.
What this could mean for the future is that if an individual ages to 105 and 109 years, there is a 50/50 chance of living another 1.5 years. Further, if one lives to age 90 there is a 15 percent chance of dying within one year; and, perhaps another six years to live. Moreover, if an individual lives to age 95, their chance of dying within one year increases to 24 percent; and, their life expectancy is 3.7 years.
Jeanne Calment – the 122 year old super-centarian
Widely acclaimed as the oldest woman who has ever lived, Jeanne Calment of France lived to age 122 and died in 1997.
Hers is an interesting story of one who broke all the health rules by smoking up to two cigarettes a day, drinking port, preferred spicy foods, and eating over two pounds of chocolate each day.
It has been said that she awoke each morning to do her chair exercises. She self-showered followed by covering her entire body with olive oil–which she also poured over much of her food.
She was reportedly an active cyclist until age 100, and was a relatively unknown actress.
“”Do the right thing, don’t smoke, don’t drink…take some vitamins.”
-Anthony Mancineli, age 101
Mr. Mancinelli quoted above would probably scoff at the lifestyle of Jeanne Calment!
Is becoming a super ager purely genetics, or is it due to how we care for our bodies and our minds?
Maybe there is a bit of both in the equation which would help unlock the secrets of longevity.
Today age 70 might be the new 50; and, living well into our 80’s, 90’s and over the 100’s is becoming a very real phenomenon.
Baby Boomers especially are changing the way we age, and they will likely and proactively fight for quality of life; in addition to social, political, and economic changes and more.
Moreover, Boomers will also debunk ageism and help to create a world that is healthier and abundant, and of great benefit for many generations to come.
Until the next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
About the Author:
Laurie Edwards-Tate is Communities Digital News senior health and aging specialist covering healthful eating, living and aging information. Since 1984, Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm and children. Laurie is Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.
(Main image: Screenshot via YouTube/Allure