What is longevity? This is the question that Dr. Sanjay Gupta posed to the 5,000 members of Leading Age who were listening to him speak during the Annual Meeting, held in Indianapolis, Indiana from October 30th through November 2nd.
It’s an intriguing question to me as someone who has worked in the senior living profession for 13 years and likes “old.” Longevity means about 100 years or so to me. Dr. Gupta and I share this idea because he said that although humans are living longer in general, the human body is not made to last more than 120 years.
He finds that a healthy diet and exercise can definitely improve your longevity, as long as you don’t follow trends (remember low-fat diets and Jane Fonda aerobics). Through his travels as a correspondent for CNN, he has observed many cultures that make walking, relaxation, stretching, and breathing exercises a priority and those countries have a higher-than-average rate of longevity.
Dr. Gupta thinks that setting goals that you are constantly reaching for can help you find purpose to your life and keep you moving forward. He encouraged us in the audience to vocalize our goals or write them down.
Most importantly for those of us in senior living, he spoke of vitality as we age - and that as we age, we can get better. I always keep this in mind when I see our residents learning about IPads, Facebook, or Facetime.