Health and Longevity

A friend told me her brother- in- law (a Dutchman) is celebrating his 100 years old birthday soon. And this centenarian is as healthy as can be! What is the secret to his good health and longevity? I see much younger people already bedridden or needing wheelchairs.

What’s the use of living to 80s and 90s if one is suffering from debility? Hence I think it’s a good idea to ‘study’ the habits of healthy octogenarians and nonagenarians (or centenarians!) and try to uncover at least one thing that can impact health in old age positively.

There is a story in the *ST recently about a 99-year-old former principal who is still learning a foreign language. Every day he spends about four hours self-learning Italian. And he is so engrossed in his study he has no time to feel lonely. This made me conclude that serious learning will help keep dementia at bay. This is the one thing I would like to share with others and I hope to practice this one thing myself asap!  :)                              *Sunday Times 12/10

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6 thoughts on “Health and Longevity

  1. Hi Jassmine
    Sorry to disappoint you, but much of what longevity is, is also due to environment, genetics, diet and (less) stress.
    I think we have an uphill task as Singaporeans because of all of the above:
    •We have a hot, humid tropical climate not conducive to health; haze and dampness lead to asthma and arthritis.
    •As Chinese, genetics are not that great; yes, I know that some do live to 100.
    •Western food and commercially-farmed animals, saturated oils all lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and worse.
    •Work and life put great stress on many of us.
    Yes, we can do all we can…but at the end… we are all victims of ourselves.

  2. Hi Kenneth
    It’s true modern living and lifestyle are ruining our health. But a few lucky ones manage to live to a healthy ripe old age – still mobile and pottering around – so am trying to be the fortunate few if ‘blessed’ with longevity. :)
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  3. Both jassmine and kenneth have their point.
    Learning a new skill do help keep dementia at bay in a study of cognitive decline for
    the aged. Lack of Vitamin D has also being linked to dementia in another study.
    True that Singapore hot weather and pace of life is not conducive for longevity. However Singapore do have a high standard of hygiene of clean water, good infrastructure and civil service ( that lessen frustration reducing stress)
    health care that do contribute to health that may lead to longevity. Our human density
    and congestion from traffic is definitely a plus factor for longevity. I have a 2 classmates that migrated to New Zealand after falling in love with environment after tour visit. I dont think I would live long enough to see how long they would live there.

    If you are borne without deformities and defect physically and mentally, it is already the greatest gift. It is then up to us to maintain that gift which however we dont.
    We either abuse our body knowingly and unknowingly. However many of us know that that alcohol, sugar, salt and smoking is bad yet we consume it. How many of us
    know that wheat which form a big part of our diet contribute to faster aging through a process call glycation.
    Our body is the greatest doctor extremely resilient, if we treat it well. Full reversibility from diabetes is an example of such resilient though I have been challenged on this issue. We are most of the time “eating the wrong things for all the wrong reasons” We celebrate with feasting from birthdays, marriage, perhaps even divorce to funeral.
    We fall ill or develop medical condition MAINLY because our body immunity system
    is compromised. We develop autoimmune disease because we confused and upset our immune system with the wrong type of food intake. How much do we know about nutritional immunology when it is so important to our health ?

    There are so many factors from genetics, lifestyle, environmental, yes and good habits to consider to live a long life. Given the knowledge, we should try to create the conducive enclave amidst the larger environment we live in. I know of a lot of Singaporean including myself driving into Malaysia weekly just to experience expansiveness of the space and land, the slower pace of life and to rejuvenate.
    I must add that you need to know the timing to avoid stress from custom congestion.
    Affliction of old age like, dementia, Parkinson disease and many other condition that lead to the failing of our faculties will come about sooner if we do not take care of our bodies.

    If there is any purpose left after retirement to live for, it should be to thrive for longevity healthily so as to enjoy live as much as possible and delaying posing burden to your loved ones.

    To do so, Jassmine has a point previously that one should have build up a safety financial nest by fifties to focus on health and longevity. We cannot rewind the clock
    to undo what is not right thus I always spread the message of the 4 quarter of life planning that
    Age 1 to 20 : Foundation of learning
    Age 20 to 40 : Earning and growing your saving
    Age 40 to 60 : Wealth creation, making money work for you.
    Age 60 to 80 and beyond to whatever : Reaping what you have harvest from what you have sow from 20 to 60. Even if that include bringing up a child who build a business empire to pamper on you for being his or her parents.

    That is why financial analyst always say retirement planning should start from the day you started working.

    Leon

  4. Leon’ s four quarters of life reminded me of *Shakespeare’s seven ages of life, where the last age is second childhood and here the elderly person is “sans everything”! Such a dreadful and frightening image of longevity!

    There are many things an elderly person has the time to do but only if he/she is healthy. Hence I’m seriously thinking about seriously learning something of interest to keep the aging mind lucid (and sharp?) :)

    *As You Like It by Shakespeare.

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  5. There is a Chinese saying which goes like this. …
    Troubles come out from the mouth but sickness enter through the mouth. Though this is not 100% true now, sickness can enter through three main areas – the mouth, nose and skin. So, we are what we eat, where we live, who we are (genes), how we see the world and people around us (don’t create stress – laugh at least once a day by reading or seeing or listening to the funnier part of life).
    Last but not least, challenge yourself by keeping on learning.
    HL

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