These days, more and more people are living into the100s. But, are they happy and healthy? What does it take to live well when you’re over a century old? Well, it could be all in your attitude, according to the findings of a recent survey.
While the survey was not exactly the most scientific one — it was done by a health insurance company — it does give us insight into some of the secrets of centenarian living. The telephone poll was done with 100 adults who were 99 years old or older — 34 of the subjects were male, the rest were female.
Overall, 71% of the interviewees stated that they felt their state of health was either good or excellent. As to regrets about their lives, 61% thought that they had done everything they wanted to during the past 100 or so years, and 78% said that there wasn’t anything they would have done less of in that time.
Predictably, there were some regrets: six percent would have liked to get in more family time; nine percent would have liked to spend less time working; and 13% wished that they had done more traveling. But these numbers are much smaller than one would expect, suggesting general satisfaction with the things the centenarians had done — or had not done — in their lifetime.
What’s the secret to their longevity? When asked this question, a mere three percent accredited health care or good genes. Some said healthy living (including not smoking), a good diet, satisfactory family life, and hard work. The biggest factor was cited as being faith and spiritual care.
When it came to what the interviewees felt was their greatest achievement in their 100 years, 30% felt that it was raising a family and 20% thought it was their career. Marriage, education, and longevity each came in at six percent in this category.
Now, one of the biggest questions that most of us share was also covered in the survey: did the elderly interviewees think about death? Yes, many of them did, but very few felt fear at the thought (four percent). Again, faith and spirituality were both key components here. Approximately 70% of the people polled had some kind of belief when it came to life after death.
All of the survey results lead us to an important point: sometimes one’s state of mind can be more important than his/hers physical condition. The levels of contentment, faith, and positivity found in these interviewees, who had made it into the 100s, are quite amazing. Perhaps it’s one reason why they are living on and are still able to enjoy life.
It’s important to note that the opinions of seniors who were physically unable to participate or who were unwilling to do so were obviously not included in the results, which means that the findings could be slightly skewed.