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Another Perspective

How to Live to Be 100 without Dementia

I recently attended a seminar entitled, “Brain Injury: Alzheimer’s, Stroke & Head Trauma.” The seminar was put on by the Institute for Natural Resources (INR). One of the topics that caught my attention was 16 characteristics of centenarians who do not develop dementia. Imagine living to be 100 or older and not being mentally impaired. That would be terrific.
While genetics plays a role in determining who lives to be this way, lifestyle also plays a significant role in determining if we will live to be 100 and if we will develop dementia or not. The 16 characteristics are common to the lifestyle of the dementia-free centenarians regardless of where they live, their gender, race, culture, or religious beliefs. These characteristics were identified by analyzing two dozen studies of centenarians around the world.*
In the United States there are 70,000 people who are at least 100-years-old who are much less likely to have dementia than the rest of the population. This is especially true of the 50% of those centenarians who still live independently. In contrast, 30-50% of those Americans who are 85 years old have dementia, mostly Alzheimer’s.
If you want to live to be at least 100 and not be impaired by dementia, try adjusting your lifestyle to be in accord with these 16 characteristics.

1. Have low blood sugar (less than 100mg/dL fasting)
2. Have low blood pressure (target is 115/75 mg Hg)
3. Have low blood total cholesterol (less than 200 mg/dL)

4. Keep weight low and steady (BMI from 18.5 to 25)
5 Eat fewer calories (target 2200/day)
6 Eat mostly vegetarian “Mediterranean diet” with coffee and tea
7. Take your vitamins

8. Exercise regularly, be active and stay busy after retirement
9. Don’t smoke or stop smoking if you do
10. Drink less alcohol
11. Get regular and restful sleep
12. Have healthy gums

13. Challenge your mind
14. Stay positive in attitude and avoid anxiety and depression
15. Shed those stressors, have daily structure, and be resilient
16. Stay socially connected with serenity and a purpose to life

* This information was taken from M.E. Howard’s, How to Live to 100 Years Old: 16 Lifestyle Characteristics of the Oldest and Healthiest People in the World, Biomed General Press, 2010.
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