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, May 28, 2009

Garnett Beckman turns 102 – Still on top of her game!

Bridge, that is. Avid bridge player, as well as hiker (see blog post for March 26th), Garnett Beckman (pictured at left with Lynn) celebrated her 102 birthday on April 23rd at the senior center where she plays duplicate bridge every Tuesday night. The large community center room was packed with her friends and admirers – as well as competitors at the bridge table. “Garnett is a serious player,” one of them remarked. “She’s very competitive.”

Garnett also teaches bridge, informally, in her apartment where she has a permanent table set up, to those of us who never took the time to learn. She invited me to join the Friday morning group, all about my age – her neighbor, a lawyer, a photo/journalist and now me. The last time I had cards in my hand was when my Grandmother used to play Old Maid and Go Fish with me whenever I was sick with some childhood malady – and she would let me win.

Garnet is serious, all right, but she’s also very intelligent and knows just how to initiate someone like me with no skills to the game, and her other “students” were very helpful. I’m sure my first lesson was boring for them all. Eventually, I gave up and just let Garnett play my hand – I think that was after I splattered the deck of cards, trying to learn to shuffle them.

Garnett – true to her spirit – has not given up on me. Early one morning she called to tell me that there was an article on the front page of The New York Times about the benefits of playing bridge as one ages, and featuring an almost-centenarian. It was titled “At the Bridge Table, Clues to a Lucid Old Age” and that I’d better read it, adding: “So I’ll see you next Friday morning. It’s for your own good” “You bet,” I answered. She shot right back: “No, we don’t play for money.”

Garnett is one of many extraordinary centenarians that appear on our site, and she is inspiration enough all on her own and a wonderful role model for so much of what’s good about living long and aging well. She’s a good and caring friend. And a heck of a good bridge player and teacher!

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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.