National Centenarian Awareness Project
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Founded in 1989 by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D.
Centenarian Expert and Older Adults Advocate

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About Lynn Peters Adler, J.D.


When Lynn Peters Adler was 15 years old, she went shopping with her grandmother for her Christmas gift, a new winter coat.  As Lynn’s grandmother was completing the purchase, the saleswoman asked Lynn, “How does she want to pay for this?”  Realizing that the saleswoman was ignoring her grandmother, Lynn replied, “Why don’t you ask her?” 

 

 

       On the bus ride home, Lynn’s grandmother, who was in her 60s, remarked sadly, “No one wants to talk to you when you’re old.”
       Lynn began to pay attention after that and noticed that her grandmother was right; people did treat her differently, often indifferently, and sometimes even within the family.  This struck Lynn as both wrong and unnecessary, and ever since that experience, she has made it her life’s work to prevent the diminution of a person’s stature in society due to advancing age, and to improve the quality of the daily lives of elders.  The level of her activities evolved and matured as she has, and for the past 23 years, she has been involved full-time in this cause.

       This lifework has featured many milestones.  In 1995 she wrote a seminal book titled Centenarians: The Bonus Years (Health Press, Santa Fe, NM, 1995).  The book received excellent reviews as a contemporary window into the lives of remarkable people who have lived 100 years or more.  Although the book was written for the general public, it has become a teaching resource for students of gerontology, nursing and social work, and an organizational guide for groups and projects in the field of aging.
       She co-produced the first centenarian documentary, “Centenarians Tell It Like It Is,” which aired on PBS in 1998 and 1999, and has been used as a resource by senior centers and other aging services groups; she compiled a year 2000 calendar of inspirational centenarians with the theme “Age With Grace: The Centenarian Spirit,” published by Cedco; and she has contributed to articles such as “Women of the Century,” published in Ms. Magazine in 2000.

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       Moreover, active centenarians are helping redefine aging itself.  So many say they don't feel old — in their 80s, perhaps, but not old!  NCAP endorses this platform and has crusaded to have centenarians on television, radio and in print media, promoting their inclusion in programming by sending thousands of informative press kits and releases nationally and in centenarians' regions over the years.  Lynn has served as a source and backgrounder for countless stories on centenarians and successful aging.  Although much awareness has been achieved such as the above-mentioned appearances and media coverage for active centenarians in everything from the front page of The New York Times to feature articles in Newsweek (including a Phoenix centenarian on the cover of a Japanese edition) to national and local radio and newspapers; from the Discovery Channel and BBC World Service to local television stations nationwide, NCAP will continue to provide positive role models to help encourage all of us as we grow older.
       Lynn is working on a second book on successful aging, which she expects to be published later this year.  In it she reiterates a point she made in 1988 after her first Arizona study.  Centenarians are a distinct group of distinctive individuals.  As evidenced by contemporary centenarians over the past two decades, there is no one model centenarian and not one road to 100.  Aging is individualized, and that is good news — it presents the possibility for each of us to make the most of whatever years we have.  And while the spirit of active centenarians has remained consistent over the past 23 years, Lynn has found that what has changed noticeably is the health, vitality and activity level of more centenarians.  A greater number of the centenarian population today is both mentally and physically healthier and more active than their counterparts two decades ago; this bodes well for the future of aging and for an improved quality of life for boomers and others in the years ahead.
       Lynn has now embarked upon her next milestone:  Through NCAP she is undertaking a much-anticipated large scale regional study of centenarians, concentrating on the research she is passionate about.  She maintains an active circle of centenarian friends, a national registry, a popular website (Adlercentenarians.org), a inspiring blog (LiveTo100andBeyond.com) and ongoing communication with centenarians, their families and friends, which remains the heart of her work. 
       If you know of someone 99 years or older, she would love to hear from you:   Adler@NCAP100s.org or on this website, click on "Centenarian Registry."

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1998-2013 National Centenarian Awareness Project & Lynn Peters Adler, J.D.
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