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  • Longevity

    Anyone have any stories to share about old people who have lived long healthy lives, ie, still living, and got their marbles pretty much or just died in their sleep or after a short illness.

    When I read stories about people that make it to 100 they all seem to have similar threads in what they have to say, good food (and I mean good old days food, like meat and bacon and eggs and everything CW says we shouldnt eat cause we'll die from heart disease), and hard work.

  • #2
    One of my great Aunt's died at age 95 about 10 years ago. She wasn't overweight and ate fairly simply, liked a glass of sherry. Not sure what she ate exactly but it would have had plenty of bread, meat, veges, cheese, cake, butter, cups of tea etc. She did have a very good sense of humour and died after a short illness.
    Another relation the above aunt's first cousin also died in her mid 90s. Aunt Em also had a good sense of humour and had a tough life when young. She was overweight and probably had a similar diet. Sadly her son died suddenly when in late 60s, he had high blood pressure was on medication and was very overweight and of a nervous disposition - dont' know if that makes a difference.
    All 4 of my grandparents died between 75 and 79.
    My husband's grandparents lived late 80s early 90s and two of them kept very active walking on Dartmoor, Devon until mid 80s and I think kept themselves busy and had a big veg garden. Another of his grandmother's was very overweight a real misery guts, bitter and twisted and she lived until 88! so having a happy disposition may or may not help you to live longer.
    I think we are far more educated about what constitutes a 'healthy' lifestyle now, well at least we think we do as we wouldn't be members of this forum....unless it's all an illusion!


    • #3
      My great grandmother died last June at the age of 101. She had macular degeneration the last ~15 years of her life but was otherwise in good health with her full wits about her and a great sense of humor. She died after a week in hospice. She and my grandmother lived together in Florida. At the age of 50, she nearly died from debilitating asthma. At this point, she eliminated sugar, flour and dairy and regained her health. She worked hard as a saleswoman after her husband's death in a car accident when she was about 35. She started selling door-to-door and had a vacuum cleaner showroom in Texas until she was about 90. All of her descendants got together in Florida for her 100th birthday a few years back. She was an amazing woman!

      ETA: Great-grandma recovered from a cracked kneecap (tripped on her walk; macular degeneration left her blind except for her periphery) at 98 or so and pneumonia (!) a couple months after her 100th.
      Last edited by prib81; 09-13-2010, 10:25 PM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Suse View Post
        Anyone have any stories to share about old people who have lived long healthy lives, ie, still living, and got their marbles pretty much or just died in their sleep or after a short illness.
        Jeanne Calment had the longest confirmed lifespan at more than 122 years. I think she was reasonably mobile. I also recall that she liked wine and chocolate.

        Just looked her up on Wikipedia:

        Calment's remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85, she took up fencing, and at 100, she was still riding a bicycle. She was reportedly neither athletic, nor fanatical about her health.[
        Ah, fat ...

        She ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin

        I suppose Old Parr (studied by William Harvey) would be something of a challenge to the Cordainian eating ideology:

        His ordinary diet consisted of sub-rancid cheese and milk in every form , coarse and hard bread, and small drink generally sour whey. On this sorry fare, but living in his home free from care, did this poor man attain to such length of days ...
        How old he really was is something of a question, but he seems to have been pretty ancient even if he wasn't actually 152 and also fairly robust and active for most of his life. I believe was even sexually active when in fairly advanced years.

        Bruce Chatwin has some intriguing comments about a very elderly but extremely sprightly and still upright lady in The Songlines. She's a member of a small band of hunter-gatherers somewhere in North Africa - can't recall where. These are, perhaps surprisingly, blond people - you do get that sometimes in North Africa - and seem to be descendants of people who've been in the area since the Palaeolithic. The country, however, is now ruled by an Islamic people. There's also a young woman who looks to be about twenty-five, but who turns out to be about fifty. She has a grown son by a Swiss anthropologist who last did field work in the area many years ago.

        I guess one could say Chatwin was spinning tall tales, and I don't know how verifiable any of this would be:

        So there's a small sample of anecdotes. On the basis of those one doesn't have to give up wine but should be active but not overly "athletic", should eat enough real fat, live "free from care". One could possibly do worse than drink sour whey - but chocolate's probably OK. Sounds fair enough as far as it goes.


        • #5
          I'm named after my Great Aunt Naomi who lived to be 105. Her two sisters lived to be 106 and 107. I have no clue what their life-styles were like, but considering they died about 50 years ago, I doubt that they ate anything too unnatural.

          In the few pictures I've seen, they all looked lean (and wrinkled).


          • #6
            My grandma is 85, sharp as a tack, and has a body that many younger women would envy. She has always worked hard, gardened, and eaten everything in moderation. My entire life she's been full of energy and never sits still. She's a renowned cook that used to own the small-town cafe where I grew up - she used lard in everything. Lately she's taken up weightlifting because 'she's heard about the osteoperosis...' I really don't see her having the long, slow decline.


            • #7
              If you are interested in this topic, check out a book (and website, I believe) called BLUE ZONES.



              • #8
                Both of my grandfathers were 92 when they passed. One of my grandmothers was 96 when she passed and the other is 97 and is still kicking. Longevity seems to run in my family.


                • #9
                  My great grandmother is 95ish, and is doing better than her daughter. Her daughter is on the Alzheimer's slope and really can't care for herself anymore, where my great granny still lives "alone" (she's in a retirement apartment, but she's in the highest grade, where they still live on their own without interference unless requested or they get hurt.) To my knowledge, my great granny eats what she refers to as "good farm food:" sausage, eggs, bacon, biscuits, meat & two veg dinners, and leftovers or something small for lunch. If I remember right, she still has all her teeth, has only broken her hip once (I think that's all she's ever broken), and battled (and won!) melanoma without a hint of trouble. I hope those are the genes I inherited.
                  Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
                  My Latest Journal


                  • #10
                    Maternal aunt 98, cousin 97 -- both flirty, showed off their legs, liked to travel and were sharp to the end. Ditto my paternal grandmother 100, and father 94 (Dad didn't show off his legs, though). All four liked their cocktails before dinner till the very end and ate the way we did in the 50s: meat, veg, salad -- dessert rarely. Good genes, undoubtedly, but I think they were also intellectually engaged, enjoyed walking and, the women anyway, were helped along by their vanity so they stayed trim. Dad travelled well into his 90s. He died last January after a rapid decline. I believe he lost a lot of pleasure in life when, a few months before he died, he stopped reading, playing golf and driving. He was also a champion sleeper, by the way.


                    • #11
                      I love these stories. Keep 'em coming. I'm seeing a trend and it isnt low fat


                      • #12
                        I don't really think that trying to extrapolate any imperatives from inductive observations of old geezers is particularly fruitful. For all we know each of us could easily make 150 with the optimal diet determined by science, so looking at "blue zone" this and old-fart that is probably just an exercise in affirming the consequent. High cholesterol, low insulin, low inflammation, IFing and/or caloric restriction, and possible low protein aside from gelatins appears to prolong life, at least in rats. Nutrition is likely a factor in humans, who have lost their ability to synthesize and retain nutrients due to a generally varied and nutrient-dense diet. I think there is a role for attitude and will to live as well. If every day is full of positive and stimulating experiences then however could tomorrow be the day one dies?
                        Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                        Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!