Reuters just released a report about a survey they did comparing the attitudes and lifestyles of centenarians and baby boomers. The results were pretty interesting. It seems that centenarians are more content with their life, have an overall general sense of satisfaction and well-being, and reflect back fondly and confidently on the choices they made.
Baby Boomers, on the other hand, aren’t quite as happy with their lot in life. Baby Boomers would change some of their decisions if they could and wish they had saved more. Very few centenarians felt they needed more money to be happy.
Centenarians got more sleep and had a more healthy diet than Baby Boomers, which probably contribute to their longevity. Genetics probably plays a role as well. However, according to Dr Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of the healthcare company United Healthcare & Retirement, many factors contribute to longevity, including a positive attitude. Other research supports this, showing that an optimistic attitude, longevity and better health seem to go hand in hand.
Other results from this survey showed that both centenarians and Baby Boomers felt it was important to be connected to family and friends. In fact, more than a third of the centenarians had kept up friendships of more than 75 years! Both groups also felt it was important to stay socially engaged and involved in community, faith-based organizations, volunteering, etc.
In what I personally was glad to see, both groups said they thought cellphones, email, texts, and the internet were important and made it easier to keep connected with friends and family. Thirty nine percent of centenarians and fifty-six percent of Baby Boomers used social media.
Census Bureau figures show that in 2010 there were more than 53,000 centenarians in the United States, an increase of 65.8 percent since 1980. By 2050 their numbers are expected to hit 600,000.
There’s no doubt that advances in medical research and technology are helping us live longer. What’s up to us is how we spend this additional time we have. I watched a great talk this morning by Tim Carpenter, from engAGE. He has a wonderful model of engagement for older individuals he implements in low income housing communities in southern California. Instead of hours of bingo and shuffleboard, these folks take classes in art or acting and then at the end of the course present their work to an audience. Engage the mind, learn and grow, climb new mountains, explore new trails, LIVE OUT LOUD!!
The researchers stated that the centenarians willingness to keep up with technology was part of their positive attitude and shows it’s never too late to learn! I think it shows why they reached the century mark – they are continuing to learn new things, challenge their minds and their bodies and are still fascinated with the world around them. Now, that’s Living.