Through my work, I've noticed common traits shared by men and women living joyful, productive, healthy lives past age 90. First of all, they don't let age tell them what they should or shouldn't be doing. They're cautious, but they're also optimistic. For example, they may use a walker to avoid falling, but if they fall, they're sure they're going to recover.
Other characteristics of our "senior" seniors: having a wide and strong social network, staying mentally and physically active, eating and drinking in moderation, having a "glass is half full" approach to life, and following a religious faith.
A website dedicated to the study of centenarians says that geography and genes also have something to do with it. Apparently, there's a "centenarian belt" that extends from Minnesota up through Nova Scotia, which may be attributed to those hearty Celtic or Scottish genetics. The world's oldest man recently turned 114. And wouldn't you know it? He lives in Minnesota.
Most centenarians also have at least one other long-lived relative, prompting researchers to believe that there's a genetic predisposition to reaching old age.
But for the rest of us who don't have geography or genetics on our side, there's still hope. We can work harder to: manage stress, nourish our friendships and grow new ones, keep learning, stay physically fit, say "no" to cigarettes and excessive alcohol, and develop our spirituality.