A lot of people mistakenly think that super-agers (those who remain healthy well into 100 years of age) simply have “good genes.”
But as we’ve been learning all week, there’s much more to longevity than having immediate relatives who lived into advanced age.
In fact, research shows that genetics account for only 20 to 35 percent of your chance of reaching 100.
So, what else goes into the equation?
Well, in addition to being conscientious, enjoying a social life, and staying active—as I’ve reported throughout the week—a new study shows that where you live matters, too.Here’s what I mean…
It’s not just HOW you live…it’s WHERE you live that matters
For this new study, researchers with Washington State University analyzed data on 145,000 people, who lived to 75 years or older. The data included lifestyle and environmental information, including the participants’:
- Education level
- Marital status
- Socio-economic status
- Access to healthcare
- Access to public transit
- Lifetime exposure to pollution
- Access to green spaces
- Community demographics (specifically, whether they lived in a homogenous community made up of an older population or a diverse community with mixed ages and a lot of younger, working people)
- Neighborhood walkability
Of that long list, the three most significant factors for reaching 100 years of age were:
- Higher socioeconomic status
- Neighborhood walkability
- A high proportion of working-age people living in the community
And these findings make a lot of sense…
For one, someone with more expendable income would likely have greater access to better healthcare and high-quality, unprocessed, organic foods.
Likewise, someone who lives in a community with good, walkable green spaces probably has greater social engagement and regular physical activity—both of which boost longevity, as we discussed this week.
As for living in a mixed-age community…well, I think this is a significant, interesting, and useful finding…
Living in a multigenerational community boosts longevity
The impact of seniors living in a multigenerational community has received some attention from the scientific world.
For example, living in a vibrant, ever-changing, multigenerational community can provide older people with greater mental and physical stimulation…as well as a greater sense of purpose. And this new study seems to suggest that living around younger people improves longevity, too.
For those who need a little extra support as they get older, people are finding more creative, mixed-aging housing options…
For example, homes are built with an attached or separate in-law space for aging relatives who need a little more support. (Similar to how, in previous generations, the older family members often had a room in the family farmhouse or rowhouse. Plus, developers in many cities and towns across the U.S. are even building planned communities designed to support a mix of young professionals, young families, active retirees, and older people who need daily support.
To learn more about multigenerational housing in your area, I suggest you contact the non-profit agency USAging.org.)
In the end, I hope you’ve found all the tips that I shared during our “Longevity Week” helpful.
Of course, I really just scratched the surface on this topic. There are dozens of additional strategies to stay vibrant, youthful, and healthy well into your 70s, 80s, 90s—and beyond—as I outline in my protocol, The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” To learn more, or to enroll, click here.