Assisted Living Residents are Living to 100: Tips for Becoming a Centarian

In Iowa, they credit good luck, clean living and good genes as the secret to a long life. Twenty-six of Iowa’s senior seniors recognized their 100 plus birthdays in style as the State celebrated the centarians. Centarians are increasingly common in nursing homes and in many assisted living facilities across the country. Every day, we see stories of individuals who have accomplished this coveted feat.

According to an article in the DesMoines Register, Iowa is ranked second in the nation with the most residents over the age of 100, with 793 hitting the ten- decade mark; twenty percent of them have aged in place and 78 of them are over 105. Centarians common in assisted living

Attitude and Action

Over the years many have learned to accept what life throws at them.  They know there are situations simply beyond their control.  Mildred Brendeland, 101, told the Register, “You have to accept all the things that come to you,” and Louis Frederick, 101, of Des Moines said, “Don’t worry about something you can’t fix.”

Perhaps, it’s her Carpe’ Diem attitude along with an active lifestyle that can be credited for Hilda Crabtree’s longevity. Keep real active,” said Crabtree. “Don’t just sit around and watch television. My health is still so good. If I can keep active like this, I’ll gladly stick around for a while.”

But topping them all is 101-year-old Berdena Reeves who last year went zip lining when her dreams of skydiving were vetoed.

So, how do you make it to the 100 year mark? Whether you’re living at home, in assisted living or a nursing home, here are some tips to making it to the century mark:

Change Your Attitude

  • Reduce Stress: Find a way to relieve the pressures of everyday life in a positive manner.
  • Stay Social: Maintaining close relationships is tied with better physical and mental health
  • Be Optimistic: According to the Mayo Clinic, people who believe the glass is half full tend to live longer.

Watch Your Diet

  • Increase the fruits, vegetables, whole grains and amount of fiber in your diet
  • Limit foods high in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats
  • Limit refined sugars
  • Drink one glass of red wine daily which appears to lower the risk of heart disease
  • Drink Green Tea whose antioxidant properties may help fight some cancers


  • 15-30 minutes a day has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer
  • Resistance training guards against the loss of muscles’
  • In general, exercise promotes mental well-being

Keep Mentally Active

Research shows that retaining cognitive capacity helps in the aging process.  There are several exercises which can help keep the brain active and sharp:

  • Word games
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Writing
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Traveling
  • Taking Classes

Floss Your Teeth:

Besides the obvious of preventing tooth decay and loss, flossing can also help prevent heart disease.  Evidence suggests that inflamed gums release substances into the blood stream which can clog arteries.

With an arsenal of tips, there is one factor of aging that no one can control: Genes.  If you have been blessed with good genes and have had parents or grandparents who have lived long, healthy lives, you too may have the opportunity to celebrate birthdays well into you golden years.

What’s Your Secret?

Reality is, more and more people are living long, healthy lives.  They are spending their days enriching the lives of others, sharing their stories and hoping to leave behind a positive legacy.  Are you or someone you know nearing that century mark? What are your secrets to a long and healthy life?

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