According to a 2016 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the number of U.S. citizens 100 years old or older rose by 43.6 percent from 2000 to 2014. The numbers quoted were 50,281 centenarians in 2000 and 72,197 in 2014.
At the same time, all of the experts agree it is difficult to determine the exact number of people living that long. Many of these people were born before birth certificates were mandatory, or without other certification.
A small percentage of centenarians live in seclusion or with dementia and no birth certificate. These citizens were not counted in the U.S. census.
Even with conflicting data this month’s column was fun to research and to write about. Everyone said basically the same thing yet each person had their own viewpoint.
No one mentioned a specific diet, yet everyone agreed eating quality foods is very important. Some said they never drank any alcoholic beverages. Others said a good glass of wine was important. A few even said the healthy properties in whiskey helped them live longer.
There is a doctor who is 103 years old and is still practicing. He said marriage and a good social life are important, as well as staying away from doctors – unless absolutely necessary.
A friend told me about one 100-year-old man who still skis. An acquaintance of mine in Sequim is 102 years old and still dances.
Another good friend recently posted an article about how important being outside in nature is to one’s mental health.
About 30 percent of the centenarians interviewed contributed their long and healthy life to their strong faith.
Here is a breakdown of the activities recommended by our centenarian friends for living a long and good life.
Be active mentally
• Continue to learn new things
• Do something interesting every day
• Enjoy life
• Exercise your brain
• Have a pet, or friends with pets you can spend time with
Be active physically
• Eat healthy foods
• Engage in enjoyable exercise
• Get outside and enjoy the fresh air
• Travel, even if it is only regional
Be sociable (this was mentioned more than anything else)
• Be likeable
• Have a purpose in life and be passionate
• Have a sense of humor
• Spend quality time with family and friends
• Volunteer or get a part-time job and continue to contribute to society
Everything I learned can be summarized into these two points: Live a healthy lifestyle and have a good attitude.
What I found fascinating is only three people, out of hundreds, mentioned the importance of sleep. Experts in the area of sleep have discovered sleep is one of the most critical activities needed for a long, healthy and positive life.
After all of this research my personal advice is to make sure you get enough quality sleep and live a healthy lifestyle, whatever that looks like to you. Then when you turn 100 years old you can pass on your advice to the younger generations.
As always, we welcome your comments. Send them to email@example.com.
Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award winning poet. Since moving to northeast Olympic Peninsula in 2015 she has been actively involved in creating new opportunities for local authors. She looks forward to connecting with even more writers, and readers living in this area. When not writing, or teaching workshops, Crystal enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking, and sailing with friends and family.