Secrets to Healthy Aging



WHAT CENTENARIANS SAY

The third annual Evercare 100@100 Survey of 100 centenarians-reports that consistent themes have emerged. GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media conducted the study for Evercare, a Minneapolis-based care coordination program. In addition to polling 100 centenarians, the 100@100 Survey also polled 900 respondents in other generations to compare and contrast the generational findings on topics of maintaining relationships and staying independent. The program is part of Ovations, a division of United Health Group.

The values-centered themes will come as no surprise to psychologists familiar with Abraham Maslow’s b-values. Nor will they surprise marketers who subscribe to the writings of international mature marketing expert David B. Wolfe, or results of Yankelovich Research, or the values-based advertising studies by J. Walter Thompson. What is surprising is how closely they align with innovative planned community models.

According to survey results, longevity is a function of having both a feeling of independence and engagement with others. Centenarians perceive independence as centering primarily on the ability to take care of themselves on a daily basis, staying in good health, and being able to make their own financial and health decisions. Centenarians further perceive that engagement ranges from sharing direct connections to friends and family to broader connections with current affairs and, ultimately, to nurturing spiritual connections. Centenarians place greater importance on lifestyle and things under their control rather than genetics or other factors outside of their control.

The healthy aging message from centenarians corroborates what some experts have offered as models for successful aging. The Life Fulfilling Community® (LFC) built upon the “Six Keys to Living Well®” is such a model. PRAXEIS, LLC of Jacksonville, Florida created the LFC operating model using documented later life values (autonomy, connectedness, spirituality, simplifying life, and lifelong personal growth. In the table below, the links between the six keys and the items ranked highest by the centenarians when asked what is very important to healthy aging is clearly evident:

Six Keys to Living Well Very Important to Healthy Aging

Social Staying close to friends and family; Continuing to make new friends
Mental Keeping my mind active; Following current events
Emotional Laughing, having a sense of humor; looking forward to each day
Spiritual Staying in touch with my spirituality
Physical Keep moving and exercising; Eating right
Financial Maintaining a sense of independence

What centenarians identified as longevity cornerstones mirror what the most progressive organizations are using to guide the development and management of planned communities for older adults. The creators of Life Fulfilling Communities for older adults believe that member empowerment is critical to success. LFC managers believe that respecting and utilizing the wisdom and life experience in meaningful ways is a sure path to self-actualization and longevity.

For more information on Life Fulfilling Communities and the Six Keys to Living Well, visit www.lifefulfillingcommunity.com.



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