Gerontologist and commentator Mark Lachs says one of the keys to a long, healthy old age is the ability to keep moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.
One question I get asked a lot is, “How old is your oldest patient?” Answer: 109.
The next question is usually something like: “What nursing home is he or she in?” Answer: She is living at home, with all her marbles, profoundly engaged in the world around her.
The last question: What is this lady’s fountain of youth? A thousand calories a day and an hour of yoga?
No, Helen Reichert likes chocolate truffles. Her favorite beverage is Budweiser. And she once announced to me that she was thinking about smoking again. When I protested, she reminded me that she has outlived several other physicians and told me to mind my own business.
So what’s going on here? Unusual longevity often has a genetic basis, and Reichert probably does have a gene that contributes to her unusual longevity. But she also exhibits a powerful trait geriatricians call adaptive competence.
I define it loosely as the ability to bounce back from stress. Many scientists view this solely as biological stress. But many of us who care for older patients see adaptive competence as psychologically critical as well.
via Want To Live To 100? Try To Bounce Back From Stress : NPR.