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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Secrets of Those Who Lived Past 100
By Nicole Yoo
Fox News Magazine
(excerpts)
Sometimes spending a weekend with the relatives feels like it ages you 100 years. But if you really want to live to be 100, experts say it pays to have strong family ties. It doesn't hurt to embrace spirituality and adapt with the changing times, either.

“Social interaction with families and friends is key," explains Lynn Peters Adler, JD. As the founder of the National Centenarian Awareness Project, Adler stresses the importance of keeping the mind active as you age. One of the best ways to do that is to keep up social interaction with the people close to you.

"We know that people in integrated environments have improved health

measures compared to their cohorts," says Eric Tangalos, M.D., a geriatrician and internist at the Mayo Clinic. "They want that social interaction," he explains. "Being in a social environment itself helps their health."

...While those who have lived to be 100 have no doubt witnessed major moments in history, many have also easily adapted to the changing times.

"Yes, centenarians have seen huge improvements over their lifetime from the flapper period to African Americans gaining equal rights to the first man landing on the moon, but they just see these changes as a part of life," Adler says. "They learned to deal with the changes as they came." 

Of course, many of these changes came with improving technology, and centenarians have been enthusiastic about embracing that.

“There is a preconceived perception that older people live in the past,” Adler says. “Twenty to twenty-five percent of the 500 active centenarians surveyed used computers or emailed,” she explains, mentioning one specific man who received a computer for his 105th birthday and promptly hired someone to teach him how to use it. ...

To read the entire Fox News Magazine story, click here.
 

Dr. Will Clark Meet Dr. Will Clark.

Lynn Adler mentioned Will in the Fox News Magazine story above. Will is the centenarian, who on his 105th birthday, received a computer and then promptly hired someone to teach him how to use it.

Click to read more about Dr. Will Clark.

 


Number Of Centenarians Is Booming In U.S.
Matt Sedensky
The Huffington Post
4-26-11

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Not too long ago, Lonny Fried's achievement would have dropped jaws. TV and newspaper reporters would have showed up at her door. She would have been fussed over and given a big party. 

But turning 100 isn't such a big deal anymore. 

America's population of centenarians – already the largest in the world – has roughly doubled in the past 20 years to around 72,000 and is projected to at least double again by 2020, perhaps even increase seven-fold, according to the Census Bureau.

Fried turns 100 on Friday. Her retirement community, Edgewater Pointe Estates in Boca Raton, observed her birthday two weeks ahead of time with other residents born in April. 

"In the `80s, we'd make a big deal about it by calling Willard Scott on TV to make that huge announcement," Diana Ferguson, who has worked at Edgewater for 25 years, said of the "Today" show weatherman known for his on-air birthday wishes to viewers who hit the century mark. "But today we have so many residents turning 100-plus that it's not as big a deal." 

Fried doesn't mind at all. Simply making it to 100, she said, is enough. "I don't want any celebration or nothing," she said. 

Born in Germany, she lost her first husband in the Holocaust and was herself held at the Westerbork concentration camp before coming to the U.S. She takes no medication, moves around steadily with a walker and said she has been fulfilled by a life in which she found a second love, raised a family and worked as a nurse. 

"I still don't believe it," she said. 

The Census Bureau estimates there were 71,991 centenarians as of Dec. 1, up from 37,306 two decades earlier. While predicting longevity and population growth is difficult, the census' low-end estimate for 2050 is 265,000 centenarians; its highest projection puts the number at 4.2 million. 

"They have been the fastest-growing segment of our population in terms of age," said Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University. 

The rising number of centenarians is not just a byproduct of the nation's growing population – they make up a bigger chunk of it. In 1990, about 15 in every 100,000 Americans had reached 100; in 2010, it was more than 23 per 100,000, according to census figures. 

Perls said the rise in 100-year-olds is attributed largely to better medical care and the dramatic drop in childhood-mortality rates since the early 1900s. Centenarians also have good genes on their side, he said, and have made common-sense health decisions, such as not smoking and keeping their weight down. 

"It's very clearly a combination of genes and environment," Perls said. 

The Social Security Administration says just under 1 percent of people born in 1910 survived to their 100th birthday. Some have speculated that as many as half of girls born today could live to 100. 

Those who work with people 100 and above say the oldest Americans are living much healthier lives. A good number still live independently and remain active, their minds still sharp and their bodies basically sound. They have generally managed to confine serious sickness and disability to the final years of their lives. 

When Lynn Peters Adler, a former lawyer who founded and runs the National Centenarian Awareness Project, began to recognize the oldest members of the community, she didn't even know the word "centenarian." Now, some weeks she talks to a dozen people who are 100 and older. And in her 25 years of contact with centenarians, she has culled some similarities among them:

_ A positive but realistic attitude. 

_ A love of life and sense of humor. 

_ Spirituality. 

_ Courage. 

_ And a remarkable ability to accept the losses that come with age but not be stopped by them. 

"Centenarians are not quitters," she said. 

Peters Adler cautioned against growing too accustomed to centenarians, saying they still deserve to be recognized. After all, census estimates indicate they represent only about one out of every 4,300 Americans. 

"It's a great distinction," Peters Adler said. "I think we're sort of shortchanging everything if we become blase about it or say it's not enough to be 100 anymore, you have to be 110." 

For their part, some centenarians aren't as wowed by the magic number. 

Leo Lautmann, who lives at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York City, reached 100 in December. He paused for a moment when asked how long he'd like to live. 

"One hundred and twenty," he said in Yiddish, before reconsidering. "Maybe 110 would be enough."


Three centenarian friends

Our celebrity centenarian Elsa Brehm Hoffmann, 102 (left), (click to read about Elsa's book: "Elsa Own Blue Zone"), attends a birthday celebration for her dear friend Dottie Jones (center), who recently turned 100.  Dottie's friend Gladys Carls (right) is also 100.  These lovely women know and practice two of the important longevity secrets: Stay social and enjoy life.
      Elsa was interviewed by Barbara Walters in 2008 for a longevity special. Most recently, Elsa was featured in the February edition of
"US News and World Report" (click title to read) and on the magazine's website.

The Christian Science Monitor
Redefining longevity: the new centenarian spirit
The US centenarian population is doubling every decade – and they're redefining aging and longevity.

By Chris Landers, Correspondent / April 17, 2010

Baltimore
Garnett Beckman says she'd prefer to just be known as a little old lady who walks. For a long time, she didn't tell people her age. It proved to be an impediment when she wanted to hike the Grand Canyon at age 75 – no one would take her.

"Nobody would go with me. They didn't think I could do it," recalls Ms. Beckman, now 102. "I was afraid I couldn't do it."

Garnett Beckman, 102
Garnett Beckman, 102
Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman/Christian Science Monitor

So she got up early, told her son she was taking a trip with friends, and hopped a bus by herself, hiking nine miles down Bright Angel Trail and overnighting at Phantom Ranch on the other side of the Colorado River. She woke up early and hiked back to catch the early bus. When her son picked her up in Phoenix, she told him where she'd been.

"He almost wrecked the car," she says.

She was just getting started. She hiked the canyon again a few weeks later, and her son came with her. She'd make the trip more than 20 times in the following decades.

Though she discontinued her Grand Canyon hikes when she was 91, Beckman still walks closer to home, sometimes to the senior center where she volunteers to "help with the old folks" and teach bridge on weekends. She's used to people asking her age, but she doesn't let it slow her down much. She runs with a younger crowd, she says: "My companions were always a generation behind me."

As a centenarian, Beckman has achieved what some demographers project most kids today will achieve: to live past 100 with mental and physical health largely intact.
 

Medical science attributes increasing longevity to a complex interplay of diet, exercise, and genetics. But attitude, researchers suggest, is another factor we can learn from our elders: Act as if you're still living, rather than dying.

It's what one elder advocate calls "the centenarian spirit."

Continue reading article: page 2

The Christian Science Monitor
Related Articles: Click title to read.

Portrait of a long life: faith, friends, and a few laps

Portrait of a long life: He's not retiring – about himself, or from his job

Portrait of a long life: An original social networker


 
A Long Life: 7 People, Sailing
Past 90 With Lots Left to Do
By Katherine Hobson
Read the article at U.S. News        


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