Welcome Bloggers to Live to 100 and Beyond

We invite you to celebrate your favorite centenarian by submitting photos and short stories or bios. Please email to adler@ncap100s.org.

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"People have been fascinated by longevity ever since learning of Ponce de Leon’s search in Florida, five centuries ago, for the fountain of youth. In the twentieth century, the search for longevity, and the good health that makes it possible, had been enhanced by discoveries such as antibiotics and other lifesaving drugs, heroic medical interven­tions, which included organ transplants, heart pacemakers and other life-prolonging devices, the emergence of preventive medicine, and a new focus on wellness. On an individual level, people were realizing that, to an ever-increasing extent, they were able to influence life-style factors that could lead to a healthier and longer life—perhaps even a life of 100 years or more." (Opening paragraph from "Centenarians, The Bonus Years," by Lynn Peters Adler, Health Press, Santa Fe, NM, 1995)

Longevity itself is one of the greatest advances of the 20th century, adding approximately 30 years to the average life span. Now, in the 21st century, with the advent of even greater medical advances and the promise shown by stem cell and genetic breakthroughs, the chances for an even greater increase in longevity seems possible.

Active centenarians are our role models. They are helping to redefine aging in new and inspirational ways.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Garnett Beckman – “Take a Hike”

Mid-western Garnett Beckman, 101, had always dreamed of hiking the Grand Canyon. When her son and his family moved to Arizona she had the opportunity to visit and left Phoenix one day for a tour of the Grand Canyon, she told her family. When she arrived, the spunky grandmother – barely 5 feet tall and weighing 96 pounds - did indeed hike down the Canyon.

“I thought that when you got to the bottom you just turned around and hiked back up,” she recalls. But when she reached the floor of the Canyon she realized that other hikers were spending the night, and so she made her way to Phantom Ranch, where she enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow hikers at the ranch-style communal dinner and slept in a bunkhouse. “Early the next morning, I set out to make the hike back up,” she tells, and then I drove back to my son’s house.

What she had neglected to tell him was that she had made the trip solo – not with a group or a guide. “He had a fit,” she says with a mischievous laugh. Garnett was 75 years old at the time.

Since then, she has hiked the Canyon 22 times, twice more by herself, and the last time at age 95! Now she contents herself with daily walks of a mile or more, often with her younger friends – or alone if need be – and holds weekly bridge lessons for those of us unskilled in the popular card game. “I have people of all ages show up – everyone should learn to play bridge, she advises. It keeps your mind sharp.”

So does exercise, new research is showing – Garnett has come by this wisdom naturally, and is reaping the rewards in the enjoyment of life.

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ABC Barbara Walters Special - Aging & Longevity

The ABC Barbara Walters Special on longevity aired in April of 2008. I was asked two years ago to participate in this project and it was a wonderful, exhilarating experience. It was both an honor and a privilege to work with Ms. Walters and the talented and caring team of professionals on her staff. I invite you to read the "Behind the Scene" story on our website. Here's the link: http://www.adlercentenarians.org/ABCWalters_special.htm
Posts & comments about the special and the participating centenarians follow. Please scroll down.