Why Are We Living Longer Lives?

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

August 14, 2006

Nowadays more people are living well into their 90s, even to 100 years old. Researchers are studying families to see why that is. They are hoping to discover the secrets to living a long life.

Louise Walton celebrated her 89th birthday on Aug. 15. She comes to the Jefferson Area Board for Aging Monday through Friday to stay active.

"If you just sit around and don't do anything you get old pretty quickly," said Walton.

However, is staying active the key to aging so gracefully? That is what researchers are trying to find out. They are studying senior citizens, preferably siblings who have lived into their 90s and beyond.

"We want to find out what these family members have in common that allow them to get to such old age such as environment, behavior, even genes," said Dr. Thomas Perls, of BU Medical Center.

It is believed genetics play a major role, as well as diet and exercise. The doctor conducting the study also thinks people with little stress in their lives are living longer. However, the CEO of JABA said it is about more than that.

"We want to add quality to our life, not just years to our life so the younger you start ,the better. Learn how to have good social relationships with people; those things will carry themselves into older age," said Gordon Walker.

Louise said she can't make it to 100 without the support of her friends and loved ones. "Well I think that is the key to success, so to speak."

Louise bets happiness will also be a contributing factor in the study.

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