A recent analysis by Dr. Jan Vijg and his team at Albert Einstein College suggests that the upper limit of the human lifespan tops out at around 115 years old. In the past few years, scientists have debated whether we could expand human longevity indefinitely, however these findings prove otherwise.
But despite that humans are capable of living longer, some surprising poll results released in 2013 by the Pew Research Center showed that most Americans don’t want to live past current life expectancy. Sixty percent don’t want to live past 90 years, and thirty percent don’t want to live past 80. Why don’t people want to live longer? Perhaps because we believe that living longer means living in discomfort. Is it possible to have a life that is balanced with both longevity and good health?
Adding life to years — not just years to life — is what it is all about, and David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and co-author of the book “Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth about What Makes Us Well,” agrees. He says, “aging well is preserving the capacity to live well — right up to the end.”
According to Katz, there are six lifestyle factors that help you stay well. He refers to these six as feet, forks, fingers, sleep, stress, and love. Translated, they amount to: eating well, being active, not smoking, getting enough sleep, dissipating stress, and sharing love.
Dr. Katz’s research affirms Brookdale’s Optimum Life philosophy, with its six dimensions of well-being: physical, emotional, purposeful, social, spiritual, and intellectual. From the meals we prepare to the brain-stimulating, physically active and socially enriching programs we offer, the Optimum Life philosophy means we take a holistic approach to life at Brookdale.
Similar findings about living a long and healthy life continue to support the six elements of Optimum Life. In one study focusing on those who live to be 100 and older, Dr. Thomas Perls and other researchers from Boston University discovered that while genes play a small role in living to be 100, lifestyle choices are the most important factor in having healthy, fulfilling golden years.
Are you hitting all six elements of the Optimum Life philosophy? Dr. Perls has created a longevity calculator to help you find out. Go to livingto100.com to get your personalized results, then decide what lifestyle change will help you put more life in your years. And remember, it doesn’t matter how old you are now — anyone can make a positive impact on health and well-being by making some small changes.