I first met Grandma Kay through the words of her grandson, Kevin Ferguson. I fell in love with her for a couple of reasons: first, she was 99 years old and going strong, but she’s a San Francisco Giants baseball fan and lives nearby. She quickly became my role model for aging well.
When Kevin told me about the interview with Dr. Tom Perls for his upcoming book about Grandma Kay’s longevity secrets, I was interested in hearing more - and sharing what he had to say with you.
Dr. Perls is the founder of the New England Centenarian Study, of which Grandma Kay is a participant. This link is to the chapter in Kevin’s book summary that incorporates the interview. Take a look. These were my takeaways.
Proper screening for high blood pressure is a reason more people reach the age of 100.
Dr. Perls said it’s mostly theoretical, when asked if there was any research explaining why women tend to outlive men, but life expectancy stats do signify that it is reality. “We also know that 85 percent of centenarians are women.”
Dodging age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer make it possible to slow aging. Women typically suffer these conditions in their eighties and men in their seventies.
A healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet with minimal or no red meat, daily exercise, not smoking, and limited alcohol consumption can add ten or more years to many people’s life. These practices can minimize the chance of a person dying of age-related diseases.
“Just like exercising muscles is important as in strength training and balance, exercising your brain is important as well in developing new connections with the brain.”
Centenarians have just as many genes associated with age-related diseases as the general population. “What’s different about centenarians is that they likely have protective genes as well.” Protective genes have a modest effect on how long we live, but when you get the right combination [of genes], you have a greater chance of living to 100.
Things to consider for those of us who wish to age well - right?
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Great! Very inspiring.
Wonderful story. Great to have these role models.