Old age - not prigovorNa the world there are a handful of people who lived in three centuries, says Rachel Nyuer. What can they teach us in this old age?
By mid-century the world will live 3 million people over 100 letSoty birthday - always cause for celebration, but these days there are so many centenarians, scientists do not even try to follow all. Indeed, in 2012, according to the United Nations, the world population of about 316,600 people over 100 years. By 2050, their number will reach three million.
Much rarer superdolgozhiteli, that is, people who live 110 years or more. International Research Group on Gerontology (The Gerontology Research Group), headquartered in Los Angeles, claims that created the database to track the oldest among us.
At present there are 53 people who can be called without exaggeration superdolgozhitelyami. The oldest of them, Misao Okawa of Japan, lived to be 117 years old.
Okawa and four - three American and one Italian, were born in 1898 or 1899, and this makes them unique. Another superdolgozhitelnitsa, born in 1899, Bernice Madigan from Massachusetts, died in January 2015.
The ruthless march of time and will not spare the survivors, prompting the world's experts in many fields - biology, history, cultural anthropology - superdolgozhiteley to explore, to learn more about these extraordinary people, while they are still alive. And it's not just about the secrets of their health.
Superdolgozhiteli - people sustained stareniemNaibolee obvious reason for the study of old people - find a key to the issue of healthy aging. "Superdolgozhiteli seem born with a slower clock than the rest of the people, - said Stuart Kim, a biologist at Stanford University - superdolgozhitelyam sixty when they look at the forty; when they are ninety, they look at the seventy ».
Take Bess Cooper, born in 1896 in Tennessee, who lived 116 years and 100 days, setting a record for the time. "A lot of people just were horrified to learn of her age, and cried:" Oh my gosh, I did not want to live so long! '"- says Bass grandson Paul Cooper. He works for a nonprofit organization named in honor of his grandmother, who provides support superdolgozhiteley. But despite his age grandmother she never seemed to him old. She had no reason to visit a geriatric physician; She lived at home and worked in his garden up to 105 years; He was an avid reader of up to 113 years. "My grandmother showed me an example of healthy aging, and it was absolutely phenomenal - said Cooper. - Old age - this is not something that should be afraid ».
The purpose of research - to identify the cornerstones of a healthy dolgoletiyaIssledovateli trying to identify the genetic and environmental cornerstones that underpin healthy longevity like Bass and other superdolgozhiteley. Until now, one of them was considered hereditary.
«There is no other way to live up to 110 years if you have not won the genetic lottery at birth» h4> «There is no other way to live up to 110 years if you have not won in the genetic lottery at birth, "- says Jay Olshansky, professor of the Department of Public Health University of Illinois. But neither he nor the other researchers were unable to identify the specific genes responsible for superdolgoletie, partly due to the fact that it is difficult to get the right sample size for the study of such people.
According to Thomas Perls, a professor of medicine and geriatrics at Boston University, this research "will give the key not only to how to help more people live to extreme age, but also to how to avoid or delay diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, heart disease and cancer. " In other words, most likely will never come a time when the majority of people will live to 110 years, but the ideas gleaned from research superdolgozhiteley can help us all increase our chances of a full, healthy life in 85 or 90 years.
Living witnesses of the historical society superdolgozhiteley sobytiyTsennost and long-lived, however, does not end with a few selfish pursuit of knowledge about how to make our own retirement more enjoyable. Each survivor has accumulated over the life of a great amount of knowledge that makes it possible to refer to them as living witnesses of history. "Evidence from first-hand open our eyes to some of the historical events, the disclosures of which often may not be available in the official historical documents", - said Doug Boyd, director of the Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky.
"We can see a historical film, but it does not give us such emotions, as the story participant in the events, - says Cooper, - the depth of emotion transfer can not be compared with anything».
That's why Boyd has digitized its collection of oral histories, consisting of more than 9400 records, and put it in the public domain. Instead of 500 people who applied to the collection each year, it now has more than 8,000 users per month.
Years of experience of older people gives us a unique opportunity to look at current events from a different angle. "It's really a very different perspective - adds Perls, who recalls a conversation in the midst of the economic crisis of 2008 with Walter Brüning, a native of Montana, dozhivshim to 114 years, - he said to me:" You try to eat grass every day for a year, as we did in Great Falls during the Great Depression, and then tell me the same whether you feel bad right now "».
Interaction generations undoubtedly blagotvornoMudrost Elders, of course, affects the different cultures outside the West. In Japan, 43% of the elderly live with their children. This figure has fallen dramatically over the past few decades, but are still significantly higher than in Western cultures.
Mayumi Hayashi, a researcher at the Institute of Gerontology at King's College in London, grew up in a family of three generations. Her grandparents, with their love of harmony, hierarchy, and distaste for the emperor and individualism - a window into the past of Japan. Their generation - are the remnants of the traditional Japanese society, which after World War II there was a dramatic coup.
"Their culture and their conception of life are so different from mine that seemed quite old fashioned - says Hayashi - but the fact that my grandparents were next to me while I was growing up, made me more aware of the life of older people and found I like Japan quickly adopted the idea of Americanization ».
"It will be beneficial for us to spend more time with the wise, wise old people? There is no doubt, "- says Olshansky.
Old age does not prevent feel healthy and professionally rewarding obschestvuOdno of the major misconceptions about aging and longevity - that aging automatically entails physical and mental disorders. But Olshansky and his colleagues found that the alleged link between poor health and age is not supported by real data.
"Most of the problems associated with age, does not appear due to aging per se, but because of what we are doing with your body - smoking, alcohol abuse or overweight - says Perls, - in Indeed, many people - even those who have lived 85 years or more - have the same health and fitness are the same profiles as those who are 20 or 30 years younger ».
An increasing number of experts who believe that the chronological age - not the determining factor in the assessment of health status.
"I think that the majority would prefer to fly by plane, managed a healthy 70-year-old pilot with 30 years of experience than some rookie" - says Perls.
There are vivid examples of people who did successfully continued working after reaching 100 years of age. Ephraim Engleman, 103-year-old rheumatologist, still sees patients in his office at the University of California at San Francisco. He says he has no plans to retire. Engleman not the first doctor who continues to receive patients after their 100-year anniversary. «Curly» Watson, a doctor from Augusta, GA, practiced medicine until he died at the age of 102, taking as his 50-year career, about 15 000 children. Leila Denmark and worked as a doctor up to 103 years of age, and then retired and lived to be 113 years old.
Our future is at pensiiNesmotrya that older people can contribute to our life, old age is sometimes seen as something awe-inspiring, or ignored altogether. Ageism, probably will never be defeated completely, but the age of social discrimination in the near future can be transferred, as an increasing number of people in the 80 and 90 years, enterprising and full of life.
In Japan, already it seems to have something like this happens. "Ninety - is not old in the Japanese sense - says Hayashi. - More than a hundred? Then we celebrate ».
Japan - the only country in the world, in which there is an official state holiday, dedicated to honoring all seniors h4> When Japan Hayashi wakes at dawn, she sees the streets filled with elderly couples and single old men who walked on the promenade in the morning. After a morning walk, many Japanese retirees spend their days working as a volunteer, regularly interacting with young people. Japan - the only country in the world where there is an official state holiday, dedicated to honoring all seniors.
Japan can serve as a positive example. The number of people who are approaching retirement age will rise sharply and, consequently, will increase the number of full vitality full-time retirees who continue to live without assistance and work in their 80, 90 or even 100 years. It probably will soon, as the first wave of baby boomers begins to approach retirement age. Olshansky says: "Those of us who are over 70, consider themselves revolutionaries. I can assure you that we unite in protest against age discrimination and change something - he says - and you young people will only benefit ».