Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live to one hundred? No? Well, it may be time for us all to think about it. Aging to 100 is the new 80.
The Census Bureau noted that many of the 90+ year olds were women, many lived alone or in nursing homes and had 1 or more disabilities.
These are sobering facts. However, on the flip side is a robust group of centenarians who speak of their joy in still being here and the things they treasure most.
OMG! How Long Will I Live?
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will be among the robust group of centenarians. . But crossed fingers isn’t all I have to do. My Dad sadly passed away from Alzheimer’s at 74; my Mom passed away from vascular dementia at 86. So of course, that worries me. IN this photo Mom is 48 and Dad is 51.
I think despite my family history I need to think about what it might look like for me to live to 100. Why? Because today’s modern medicine has a way of keeping us alive for a much longer time than my parents’ generation.
What I want to look at is prevention. Prevention of the causes of dementia and other ailments.
Here’s a snapshot of my Dad:
Dad, a WW II Army veteran, grew up during the Great Depression and suffered from malnutrition in the form of rickets. He had rheumatic fever. He smoked for 60+ years. He had one lobe of his lung removed and had moderate emphysema. He retired at 65 without a plan for his later years.
And my Mom:
She had a pretty weak vascular system from her early twenties on and had 5 children. She required a vascular bypass in her leg at age 76 after 2 or 3 vein surgeries. She had a non-cancerous brain tumor at age 70. She had advanced macular degeneration and was legally blind at age 64. Her dementia was mild compared to my Dad's, but because of her blindness and lack of executive function she was not able to live on her own for the last 3 years of her life.
What’s a Daughter to Do?
I look at my family history and it gives me pause. But ever the optimist, instead of looking at either of these health paths as inevitable, I look at them as very valuable information. These may be my weaknesses. If they are, what can I do to prevent the same outcome? Actually, I can do quite a lot.
Here’s My Plan
I refuse to believe that I will have the same outcomes as my parents if I make nutrition, exercise lifelong learning, purposeful work and good social connections a part of my everyday life.
I learn everything I can about nutrition and lifestyle that can support lifelong health. I coach others in the same principles which is the best way for me to reinforce it in myself. It is gratifying to see the results.
Only a little bit of this. Blessed is a better word. There are no guarantees; despite our best efforts, things can still go wrong. We need a little divine intervention as well.
I think this matters a whole lot. It surely does to me and I express gratitude for it every day of my life.
What Is Your Plan?
Do you have a strategy? If not, I think you can build one at any age. When I was in my 40’s I couldn’t imagine needing a strategy for lifelong wellness, but I needed one. It’s a great time to start. Your 40s are when the subtle symptoms of lifestyle issues (food, exercise, stress, lack of sleep) begin to show up on your face, on your body, and certainly inside you, as they did for me.
I speak about Lifelong Wellness at conferences and seminars, as that has become my passion. No matter your age, you can get better when you commit to positive changes in your lifestyle.
A Better Message from Medicare
Medicare has a fear of running out of money because of Baby Boomers turning 65 and everyone is living longer. Might a better message be that now that we know we’ll be living longer, we should make lifestyle adjustments that support lifelong health, like quitting smoking, eating better and moving more?
What are your thoughts on your longevity? Press the share button and send to your friends and start a conversation about lifelong wellness.