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Keys to Embracing Aging - Learn from Centenarians

different ages of people meditating
Physical activity can include yoga, a great way to stay social and focus on your health while reducing stress.

The way you take care of yourself through the years, both physically and mentally, will impact the natural process of aging. No one knows this better than centenarians, people who are 100 years old and older. Centenarian studies demonstrate that life does not diminish with aging. In fact, 100 ­year­ olds are teaching us that the acceptance of aging can be positive, joyful and exciting. They demonstrate that aging brings new experiences, knowledge, wisdom and a greater ability to create a positive approach to the aging process.

The twelve keys below are what we have learned from the centenarians.

Attitude is Everything

  • Accept change
  • Get over negative stereotypes
  • Watch out for depression
  • Do things that make you happy

Eat a Healthy Diet

  • A brain healthy diet is a heart healthy diet
  • Low fat/low cholesterol
  • Vitamin A: bright colored fruits and veggies: carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes.
  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, green peppers, broccoli, green leafy veggies, strawberries.
  • Vitamin E: nuts & seeds, whole grains, green leafy veggies, vegetable oil, liver oil.
  • Selenium: cold water fish & shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken, garlic
  • Foods high in vitamin B12: clams, oysters, mussels, octopus, beef, lamb, liver, caviar, fish, crab, lobster, cheese, eggs
  • Foods high in folate: Black-eyed peas, lentils, okra, kidney beans, great northern beans, broccoli, iceberg lettuce, beets, lima beans, sunflower seeds, spinach, sprouts, corn, asparagus, baked beans, green peas, baked potato, cabbage, avocados, peanuts, romaine lettuce, tomato juice, orange juice, strawberries, oranges, eggs, bananas*Note: Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Fats, Oils, and Sweets are poor sources of folate!  Know nutrition and your calories

Engage Your Brain

  • Active learning throughout life
  • Acquire more knowledge"Neurobics!" (brain help attack established routines; e.g., brush teeth with opposite hand)
  • Leisure activity that combines physical, mental, and social activity
  • Diet
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Stay social

Be Social

  • Lowers risk of illness and infection and helps to improve overall health
  • Reduces stress
  • Produces healthy brain cell connections
  • Fights depression
  • Fights isolation

Stay in Tune to the Times

  • There's an App for that (using a cell or smart phone)
  • Computers and the internet  to keep necessary information and for entertainment; they play and store games, music, movies and photos.
  • Video Games aren't Just for Kids - Today's video games also help keep older adults minds and bodies sharp and responsive.
  • The Sound of Music - Music exposure can also enhance perception, create a distraction from pain, reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and even relax your muscles (PMASFA, 2011).
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It - Staying in tune to your community and the world also exercises the brain and can keep you more mentally active as you read or listen and process the news.

Practice Being Safe

  • No smoking
  • Moderate alcohol
  • Regular check-ups
  • Wear your seatbelt
  • Prevent falls
  • Avoid over exposure to the sun and cold

Manage Your Stress

  • Identify the source of stress in your life
  • Examine how you currently cope with stress
  • Learn healthier ways to manage stress
  • Avoid unnecessary stress
  • Alter situations
  • Accept things you can't change
  • Make time for fun and relaxation
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Keep Finances in Order

  • Budget development
  • Money Management
  • Wise use of  credit
  • Consumer protection
  • Savvy savings


  • Catch more zzzzz's!
  • If you have day-time sleepiness, you are NOT getting enough night-time sleep
  • Sleep disturbances are NOT a normal part of aging
  • Identify sleep problems
  • Find ways to obtain more restful sleep

Take Time For Yourself

  • Find things that are important to you
  • Plan purposeful activity
  • Follow your passions
  • Chase your bucket list
  • Make a path of important things ahead of you to help distract your form the parts of aging that are not so positive