National Centenarian Awareness Project
Lynn Peters Adler founded the Phoenix Centenarian Program in 1985,
followed in 1986 by the Arizona Centenarian Program, which led to her
National Centenarian Awareness Project (NCAP), a nonprofit organization, in 1989.
National Centenarian Awareness Project celebrates active centenarians as role models for the
future of aging. The centenarians we feature are remarkable and
inspire positive aging. On our blog, we
discuss centenarians and what it’s like to live to 100 and beyond.
a great distinction to live to 100 years or more.” –
Lynn Peters Adler, 1985
ADVOCACY: For the continued involvement of our elders as
members of society.
NCAP seeks to contact and honor all those 100 years old
and older as our living links to history and works with
community entities to promote recognition of our eldest
to learn about NCAP Centenarian Recognition Program and to request a
INSPIRATION: AGE EXCELLENTLY! Active centenarians who are role models
for the future of aging and inspire us to age excellently.
NCAP Background Information:
Under the auspices of city and state commissions in Arizona, Lynn
originated and implemented the Phoenix Centenarian Program in 1985 to seek
out and honor the city's oldest citizens - those 90 and over - with letters
and certificates from the mayor, and community events and celebrations for
those physically able to attend. At the time, there were many naysayers who
thought it best to "leave old people alone, where they were, to not take
them out or bother them." With physically able centenarians and others of
advanced age her willing participants, Lynn was able to show that this was
the wrong approach to living in advanced years--that many old people longed
for socialization outside their familiar environment, and particularly that
they wanted to remain included in the communities where they had lived for
so many years. And they enjoyed having fun!
Lynn found it was also good for
families and caregivers to have an outside interest for their elders.
Furthermore, she found that many community businesses and organizations were
willing to support these activities, finding it good community relations, in
an untapped area. In addition, these new community events attracted the
media, making it a winning concept for everyone--including the naysayers,
who eventually changed their tune.
Because of the
overwhelming success of the initial program, Lynn took the concept to the
Arizona governor's office and was able to expand the program statewide in
1986; she chaired the Arizona Centenarian Program until 1990. Centenarian
recognition is now a permanent program of the Arizona Governor's Council on
Aging. Beginning in 1986, Lynn presented her Centenarian Recognition
Program at the American Society on Aging to interest others in starting
similar programs in their communities and states. In 1987 she served as a
volunteer consultant to the National Institute on Aging in its National
Centenarian Recognition Day initiative; her main contributions were to
contact all 50 states to encourage participation in the program locally, to
advise on implementation, and to have governors' offices recognize
centenarians. She then attended and helped with the national event in
Washington, DC, and implemented similar events that year in Phoenix and
Tucson. Many of these state and regional programs continue to carry out
centenarian recognition events.
In 1988 Lynn developed a
survey addressing quality of life and health issues of advanced age.
Fifty-eight of the 171 Arizona centenarians she contacted completed the
survey, with assistance when needed from their families and caregivers. She
reported her findings later that year in an award-winning issue of a
newsletter published by a Phoenix nonprofit organization dedicated to
improving the quality of life for seniors, and underwritten by a local
business. ... Continued awareness of centenarians led to the establishment
of National Centenarian Awareness Project in 1989.
She has made inspirational
presentations and speeches to audiences large and small, including
professionals in the field of aging and gerontology and the general public,
encouraging people to make the most of their later years. "Centenarians are
not quitters," she says. "Active centenarians are our role models for
living long and aging well. They are the role models for the future of
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