Now 40 seems positively infantile. I am quite sure I am not fit enough to live that long. Nor do I have the resources, so I don’t wish to. I am still impressed by centenarians (100 or older) and supercentenarians (110 or older). But it does make you think that perhaps age is relative not only to how you feel, but also to longevity.
What really struck a chord with me was that Eugenie was called sweets because she was so kind. I guess that’s all that matters at the end.
Eugenie Blanchard, who was born in February 1896, passed away in the hospital where she spent the last 30 years of her life on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy.
Cousin Armelle Blanchard said that although Miss Blanchard could no longer talk, she had seemed to be in relatively good health.
‘When you talked to her, she would smile,’ she said. ‘We don’t know if she understood us.’
Miss Blanchard worked hard from an early age, her cousin recalled.
‘At that time, life was very hard in St. Barts. She tended the garden and took care of the animals.’
After returning from Curacao, she lived in a quaint house in the Merlette district of Saint Barthelemy with a cat as her only companion in the 1950s.
She was the last survivor of a family of 13 brothers and sisters and apparently earned the nickname ‘Sweets’ because of how she treated others.
Here are some secrets of the world’s oldest people that I found interesting:
1. Eat Grains, Vegetables, and Fish. To learn about the lifestyle of the old and healthy, many researchers look to Okinawa, Japan, which boasts the world’s highest concentration of healthy 100-year-olds. Their diets consist mainly of grains, vegetables, and fish, and are low in eggs, meat, and dairy.
2. Avoid Soda. Stick to water and juice, and stay away from sodas (even diet). There are plenty of reasons to stay away from Coke, but in the end this is on the list because the world’s oldest people just don’t drink pop. Caffeine and alcohol aren’t great when consumed in large quantities, but when consumed in moderation they can actually be beneficial.
3. Indulge Every Once In a While. We all know which foods to avoid, but researchers say that some of the world’s oldest people have certain indulgences – a scoop of ice cream, a brownie – and doctors say this is good practice. Avoid eating red meat and sugar too often, but small portions of your favorite foods or drinks can have a good impact on your overall well-being.
4. Get Up and Get Busy. Sleeping in and watch soap operas through your retirement may sound like a fun plan, but the world’s oldest people say they’ve kept to routines of getting up early and filling their day with activities and chores – not just relaxing.
5. Walk. Your personal trainer would love you to go to aerobics every day, but doctors say that your workouts don’t have to be intense to have big benefits. Walking regularly, taking the stairs, and doing active chores like taking out the garbage or carrying groceries can have great benefits. And every 100-year-old that Forbes interviewed reported that they make a point of walking every day.
6. Do Puzzles. The crossword may seem like a trivial distraction, but habitually partaking in focused activities like puzzles, trivia games, or word games helps keep you mentally fit – an important part of aging healthfully.
7. Stay Married and Keep Strong Friendships. Studies show that married people live longer, and they also show that having strong friendships and friends with whom you speak on a daily basis makes a big impact on your emotional health.
8. Love Your Work. If you’re unhappy or stressed by what you do, it can have serious impacts on your emotional and physical health. Loving what you do and avoiding constant stress triggers can make a huge difference in terms of how long you stick around.
9. Maintain Spirituality. Studies have shown that 63% of those who live to 100 maintain a regular spiritual practice – whether faith-based or not.
10. Don’t Harbor Regrets. Living a simple life surrounded by friends and family is what got many of the people interviewed by Forbes to their triple digits. Minimizing emotional stress and drama is a good policy to live to old age by.