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Live to be 100 — lifestyle matters

In his bestselling book, “Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being,” Dr. Andrew Weil notes that studies of people who live to be 100 years old or more have failed to find a single, specific formula for senior health and a long life. There is no evidence, he says, “that particular foods, supplements or other substances have anything to do with our living to extreme old age.”

At the same time, however, he emphasizes that lifestyle does matter, especially concerning senior health. He contends that strong family ties, healthy food (but no one, specific food) and lifelong physical activity are probably what make residents of the island Okinawa the longest-lived population in the world, with an average life expectancy of 81.2 years.

With that two-sided perspective in mind, it’s interesting to look at a recent, small survey that asked American centenarians how they conduct their lives. Evercare, a company that specializes in coordinating care for senior health, commissioned a survey of 70 American women and 30 men who were 99 years old or older, and reported the following:

• American centenarians are surprisingly plugged into popular culture. Nearly a third have watched a reality TV show, and 27 percent have watched MTV or music videos. One in seven has played a video game.

• Six percent have been on the Internet, and four percent have listened to music on an iPod.

• Eighty-two percent said their dietary habits had improved or stayed the same as compared to 50 years ago.

• Only 23 percent said they have ever smoked. On average those who quit did so 41 years ago. Two percent still smoke!

• Favorite memory? Twenty-eight percent said their wedding day, followed by 13 percent citing the birth of a child, and 13 percent their 100th birthday. One said his favorite memory was “when I learned to fly at age 76.”

• Thirty-four percent said the person they would most trust to tell the truth would be their priest, rabbi or preacher.

• Seventy percent now live at home, either alone or with a spouse.

This survey echoes conclusions of other studies: centenarians are forward-thinking, open to new experiences, eat generally healthy foods, don’t smoke (the rebellious two percent notwithstanding!) have strong religious faith, and cherish their independence.

One more tidbit to contemplate: if you don’t know a centenarian now, you likely will before too long — it may even be yourself! According to the Census Bureau, there are currently 80,000 people aged 100 or older in the U.S, but there will be 580,000 — a seven-fold increase — by 2040.

ACSS needs you!

Programs available to you at the Senior Center, also known as the Silver Foxes Den, are provided to you through a variety of funders. Without them, we would not have a center.

Our programs are partially funded by a state and federal grant (which is forever decreasing) along with funding through Archuleta County, the Town of Pagosa Springs, United Way, private donations and fund-raising activities.

Here’s where you come in.

During August and September we are hosting a few fund-raisers and we invite you, your friends and family to join in.

• Pancake breakfast, 7-9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 3. Cost is $5.

• Little Caesar’s pizza kits, cookie dough kit and pie kits available. Mmmm, good! Get your order with payment in by Friday, Aug. 14; delivery is Wednesday, Aug. 26.

• Festival of Trees. We are looking for someone to sponsor a decorated artificial tree for this event in November. The tree will be auctioned off with the proceeds to benefit the Senior Center programs.

• Donation to Archuleta County Senior Services.

Your support will assist in providing the congregate meal program, which provides a healthy meal and awesome salad bar for seniors ages 60-plus. We boast that our program is an extended family for those participating in the meal program and enjoying a visit with their friends, who then participate in the many social and cultural activities at The Den. Suggested donation, $3.

Home-delivered meals are provided for the homebound living within our service boundary and frozen meals are delivered to those living in more rural areas. Suggested donation, $3.

Door-to-door transportation via our roomy bus is available for folks of all activity levels. Suggested donation for round-trip service is $2.

Our meal and transportation programs are available weekdays, with the exception of Thursdays.

Your donations are greatly appreciated!

Volunteering

Did you know studies show that people who volunteer one to two hours a week are healthier, live longer, and are more satisfied with their lives?

We are looking for outgoing, friendly, volunteers to deliver meals to our homebound seniors. If you are interested, contact Julia or Musetta at 264-2167 or stop in at The Den.

Weekly activities

Friday, Aug. 7 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.

Monday, Aug. 10 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; presentation on Body language, 12:45 p.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 11 — Chair massage, 10-11:45 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Meditation for Healing, 1 p.m.; AARP drivers training, 1-5 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 12 - Dance for Health, 10 a.m.; AARP drivers training, 1-5 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 13 – Administrative day.

Friday, Aug. 14 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; cook appreciation, noon; ASI board meeting, 1 p.m.

Body language

Have you ever considered that your body might be talking to you? That your symptoms might actually have a deeper meaning?

Our bodies are speaking to us all the time, but we have not been taught the language. This workshop/lecture/talk will introduce you to the various communication systems within the body so that we will begin to speak fluent “body language.” Join us Monday, Aug. 10 at 12:45 p.m. as Dr. Lauren Cohen teaches us how to listen to what our bodies are telling us.

Meditation for Healing

Stress intensifies chronic pain and encourages negative emotions like depression, anxiety, and anger, which continues the circle of pain in the body and mind. Meditation for Healing is a technique that helps the body to relax and ease pain. Join Sarah Barbara every Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Silver Foxes Den.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, Aug. 7 — Chicken cacciatore, mashed potatoes, spinach, fruit and bread.

Monday, Aug. 10 — Meat loaf and onion gravy, whipped potatoes, zucchini, strawberries and topping, bread.

Tuesday, Aug. 11 — Teriyaki chicken, brown rice, spinach and orange salad, fruit and bread.

Wednesday, Aug. 12 — Swiss steak with mushroom sauce, whipped potatoes, greens, cantaloupe and roll.

Thursday, Aug. 13 — Administrative day.

Friday, Aug. 14 — Pork with celery sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans, plums and bread.