What We Can Learn from the Oldest People on Earth

Posted on

Mar 03, 2013

Book/Edition

Utah - Utah

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There is a place where more people live longer and healthier lives than anywhere else on Earth: Okinawa, Japan. Okinawans are 3 to 7 times more likely to live to 100 than Americans. Even more remarkably, heart disease, cancer, dementia and other conditions are rare. Gerontologists assert that up to two-thirds of our lifespan is in our control, not attributable to genetic make up with some basic lifestyle changes we Westerners can also increase our lifespans and health spans. Based on these studies, The Balanced Care Method is a revolutionary approach to senior care.
A steady diet of mackerel, tempeh, seaweed, sweet potatoes, and green tea is probably not realistic for most Westerners. Neither is walking daily between villages, yet there are many ways to implement the principles of the Okinawan lifestyle within a Western framework:
Dietary Factors: The Okinawan diet is plant-based, low in protein and high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and flavonoids. It includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and very low levels of saturated fat and sodium.
Exercise Factors: Okinawan elders have life-long routines of moderate exercise and physical activity. They walk most places they go, keep up daily tasks like housework, gardening and working well past the age of retirement in North America and practice the soft martial art of tai chi.
Sense of Purpose and Active Social Ties: Okinawans inner calm and desire to remain productive into older age offers Okinawan elders substantial stress relief, a sense of social connection and purpose, and a respected, important role in their community.
The Balanced Care Method is a way of viewing aging as a rich and meaningful part of life. Each element fostering independence, encouraging the maintenance of social ties, remaining active supports and reinforces the others. The best lesson we can learn from the elders of Okinawa is to embrace and celebrate aging and approach it with a sense of balance and reverence.

Editors note: This article was submitted by Mark Bowman, President of Home Care Assistance of Utah. Home Care Assistance provides high quality in-home care for seniors in line with its proprietary Balanced Care MethodTM across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. To speak with Mark or another Home Care Assistance of Utah employee call 801.733.6100

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