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Healthy habits of the world’s oldest people

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It’s human nature to look to those who have enjoyed great longevity as purveyors of living wisdom. We hope to discover the secret to their lengthy lifespans, and replicate the method in our own lives too.

Here’s what three of the world’s oldest people had to say about the path towards greater longevity:

Emma Morano

Born:

29th November 1899

Aged:

116 years

Place of residence:

Italy

 

Emma Morano is the oldest person in the world and the last living link to the 19th century.

A healthy Mediterranean diet full of fresh fish and olive oil is likely to have played a part in reaching such a ripe old age. She’s had an active life – working in a factory before becoming a chef later on in her career. She still wakes up each morning at 8am. Emma has a sharp sense of humour too, offering to sing for guests at her most recent birthday party with her still “beautiful voice”.

Violet Brown

Born:

10th March 1900

Aged:

116 years

Place of residence:

Jamaica

 

Violet Brown is the world’s second oldest person, the oldest verified person from Jamaica ever, and the last living subject of Queen Victoria. Violet puts her lengthy lifespan down to her diet and faith.

Violet favours a diet of coconut sauce (known colloquially as ‘run down’), fish, mutton, cow foot, sweet potatoes and citrus fruits, though she avoids chicken and pork. Violet also knows how to make people laugh; recently chiding the new generation for wearing their trousers below their waistline.

Jeanne Calment

Born:

21st February 1875

Died:

4th August 1997

Aged:

122 years

Place of residence:

France

 

Jeanne Calment was the oldest recorded person that has ever lived. She was not fixated on fastidiously maintaining her health and Jeanne defied all expectations by reaching the ripe old age of 122.

She attributed her record-breaking lifespan to staying active (she took up fencing aged 85 and rode her bike until she turned 100), olive oil (both eaten regularly and rubbed onto the skin), good port and an unshakable sense of serenity.

What can we learn about longevity from the world’s oldest people?

There is no magic combination that will enable us to enjoy the same lengthy lifespans, but there are plenty of shared traits that we can learn from, including:

  • Keeping active: Whether through work or leisure, Emma, Violet and Jeanne all lived active lives and stayed fit well into old age.
  • Staying engaged: All three remained socially engaged well into their later years, meeting regularly with loved ones and using their wealth of knowledge to become pillars of their local communities.
  • Eating well: Emma and Jeanne both enjoyed healthy Mediterranean-style diets, while Violet is passionate about eating a broad selection of fresh meat and vegetables from the local area.
  • Loving life: All of these supercentenarians displayed an outlook on life that ranged from pragmatically positive to impishly humorous. Beloved by their families and local communities, Emma, Violet and Jeanne maintained a healthy sense of wellbeing irrespective of their increasing age.

At The Good Care Group, we passionately believe in the psychological and physical benefits that come from an active social life and long-lasting links to the community. That’s why we train our carers to focus just as much on elderly people’s wellbeing as their physical health. By remaining in their own homes with the assistance of a live-in carer, elderly people can maintain the comfort and familiarity of their environment, eat a healthy and nutritious diet, and continue to socialise with their friends and family.

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