The part of POParenting that is “caregiving” is knowing how to make the best of those precious years you have left with your aging loved ones and how to respectfully encourage your parents to do what will make them function optimally and feel good. And a part of life-long learning for us all is benefiting from the lessons of those who have “successfully” come before and discover how they lived healthy, happy, fruitful lives.
These are the methods centenarians (those who live past 100) report have helped them feel great and continue to do what they loved:
1. They eat anti-inflammatory foods.
Senior athlete Fred Winter is still competing in track and field events at the ripe old age of 100. His secret? He eats loads of blueberries and salmon, his wife told The Huffington Post, for their health benefits. Many scientists now believe that low levels of inflammation are the key to living a long life since Inflammation is believed to cause a number of chronic diseases associated with aging. Blueberries, for example, are delicious and loaded with antioxidants; salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, both of which can help reduce inflammation.
2. They take naps.
Birthday girl Flossie Dickey became a viral internet sensation on her 110th birthday when she wasn’t interested in being interviewed by a TV crew. It seems she’d rather be sleeping and she naps as often as she can. So do many of the people in Ikaria, the small Greek island which has been dubbed a “Blue Zone” for the large number of living centenarians. Naps are said to help give you a “second wind” so you can stay productive, rest and return to being productive. And don’t forget: naps can give you a much-needed break from the stresses of daily life.
3. They keep both their minds and bodies active.
Living all the days in 100 years means people must learn to fill many, many hours, hopefully with meaningful, engaging or at least enjoyable activities. At a retirement community in Rhode Island which is home to a whopping six centenarians, they keep themselves busy. Many are even exercising daily, whether it’s going for brisk walks in the fresh air or diligently hitting the indoor gym. Others are excited by hobbies like reading and book clubs, some watch old movies together, keeping their minds active. And, of such importance, as both the geriatric professionals and the older folks themselves keep saying: they all stay social!
4. They make it a point to avoid unnecessary stress.
Maybe it’s the perspective of 100 years of gaining wisdom, but many centenarians have become experts in not sweating the small stuff. Studies have shown that centenarians tend to have optimistic personalities and always laugh a lot. Some of the oldest people in the world say that learning to relax and not worry were their key principles in their long life.
5. They indulge … but in moderation.
Diet and exercise are good, but hey, you’ve got to live a little. Centenarians seem to have found a balance between taking care of their health and learning when to indulge a bit. Whether it’s a glass of wine, a bowl of your favorite ice cream, a strong cup of coffee or Dr. Pepper, it’s all about striking a balance between giving yourself all that you need and a taste of what you want. Just not going “overboard.”
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