Aiming for 100

In My Eyes: By Edward Antonio

When my father reached 75, he suspected he had heart ailment. I was alarmed. We brought him to the hospital, with the doctor quoting: “You are already 75. You must be glad God has given you a 5-year bonus.”

The doctor further quoted that 75 is already a good age (to die).

“You must have enjoyed life already, eh,” he said.

But my father simply refuses to die at 75 or 80. He is now almost 82. His father was 84 when he succumbed to various illness.

A good friend of mine is aiming for 100 years.

He said he exercises daily, monitors his blood sugar and cholesterol levels regularly and has shifted to being a vegetarian and yes, regular sex.

Living up to 100 years old has become the goal of many people. And many of them achieved it.

Jeanne Calment is, according to Guinness World Records, the oldest person to have ever lived for whom there is irrefutable evidence. Born on February 21st 1875 in Arles, France, Calment’s mother, father and brother lived to 86, 93, and 97 respectively.As well as living through two world wars, Calment also met Vincent Van Gogh while he was staying in Arles, and attended Victor Hugo’s funeral in 1885. At the age of 114, she appeared in the film Vincent and Me, making her the world’s oldest actress, and in 1996, the nursing home she resided in released a CD of her reminiscing about her life.

Calment lived on her own until she was 101. She took up fencing at age 85, and was still riding a bicycle by the time she reached 100. She survived a hip operation at age 114 to become the oldest verifiable surgery patient, and remained an ardent smoker until she decided to quit at age 117.

She died on August 4th 1997, age 122.

Another famous centenarian was the popular all-around performer George Burns. George Burns was an Academy Award winning comedian and actor. His career spanned vaudeville, film, radio, and television, with and without his equally legendary wife, Gracie Allen. His arched eyebrow and cigar smoke punctuation became familiar trademarks for over three quarters of a century. Enjoying a remarkable career resurrection that began at age 79, and ended shortly before his death at age 100, George Burns was as well known in the last two decades of his life as at any other time during his career.

The likelihood that Burns would live to see his 100th birthday became a running gag in his stage work, but he indeed intended to live that long, even booking himself to play the London Palladium as a 100th birthday celebration. However, his health seriously declined towards his centenary, and although he eventually reached it, he was too ill to perform any engagements and died just 49 days later.

And who could forget Bob Hope?

Bob Hope was an English-born American entertainer who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, in movies, and in performing tours for U.S. Military personnel. He was well known for his good natured humor and the longevity of his career.

Born in London, England on May 29th 1903, Hope and his family immigrated to the US in 1920, when Hope was 20. He began by entering dance and talent competitions, winning prizes for his Charlie Chaplin impersonations. Soon he was landing roles in various film and theatre productions, and numerous broadcasting shows.

As well as commercial work, Hope performed over 60 USO shows, across half a century, entertaining troops during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. A 1997 act of Congress signed by PresidentClinton named Hope an “Honorary Veteran”. He remarked, “I’ve been given many awards in my lifetime — but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most — is the greatest honour I have ever received.”Hope died on July 27th 2003, aged 100.

Centenarian Katharine Weber, now 102, shares her secrets for a long life, even beyond 100 years:

1. Never act your age

In Okinawa, Japan, a region with the longest-living people in the world, residents are considered children until they hit 55, and a ritual called kajimaya heralds a return to youth on their 97th birthdays.

In Sardinia, Italy, the traditional greeting, a kent’annos (“May you live to be 1003 ) is appropriate in a place where age is celebrated and people work into their 90s.

Katharine doesn’t look or act her age. “Mum is definitely young at heart,” says Thomas. “She recently danced at her granddaughter’s wedding and still flies out to visit relatives in Ottawa and Vancouver

2. Shut down stress

Katharine has always embraced a quiet, simple life. “I try not to worry, I just try to live,” she says. “And I try to have enough trust and confidence in myself to deal with things as they come.” The best way to battle stress is to carve out time for the hobbies you enjoy.

3. Eat quality

Calorie restriction (CR) — eating 30 percent fewer calories per day without eliminating essential proteins, vitamins and minerals — has the potential to extend life and slow aging. Think nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits (seven to 10 servings), complex carbs that slowly release energy (unrefined whole grains and legumes) and healthy fats from olive oil and oily fish.

4. Sleep and have sex

“Most North Americans live in sleep deficit,” says Wassef. “If you look at long-lived cultures, you’ll see they get routine, adequate sleep. They prioritize it and they don’t feel guilty about it.” Lack of sleep can offset important hormonal balances and it contributes to weight gain, depression and heart disease.A little nocturnal action also has lifelong benefits. A study by Duke Medical Center in North Carolina found a woman’s past enjoyment of sex (indicating a history of a healthy, active sex life) was one of the top three most important predictors for increased and enhanced longevity, adding as much as four extra years.

5. Move every day

Exercising today offers benefits beyond tomorrow. Yoga, dance, tai chi and other core-building workouts improve balance to help you avoid falls as you age.

Research also shows the fountain of youth may flow between the treadmill and dumbbells. “Muscles weaken with age; physical activity helps rejuvenate their stem cells and promote circulation,” says DafnaBenayahu, a medical researcher at Tel Aviv University. “Regular workouts may undo signs of aging elsewhere in the body.”

6. Connect

All the way across the globe, centenarians cherish close ties. In Okinawa, they form part of a person’s ikigai, or reason to live. Elders connect with young people and report some of the lowest depression levels in the world. “Centenarians generally don’t stay isolated,” says Wassef. “Prolonged loneliness can weaken the immune system.” He points to a study involving 7,000 people: Women who felt friendless were five times more likely to die from breast, ovarian and uterine cancers.

7. Tweet about it

There’s a growing movement in social networking among the 65-and-older set. Nearly half of all internet users are between the ages of 50 and 64, and social networking among those 50 and older rose from 22 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2010. Googling grandmas report up to a 30-percent decrease in loneliness and symptoms of depression, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. to help her stay sharp.

8. Just believe

A survey of centenarians found almost a quarter attributed longevity to their faith. Katharine doesn’t fear death, but she also doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. Instead, she finds peace in her belief in a higher power and the goodness of people.#