*July 2018 Articles*
The World's Oldest Man Just Turned 113.
His Secret? Eating Candy
The headline appears to indicate that candy is the reason this man has lived so long. If you read further, you will see Japan has over 67,000 citizens who are 100-years or older. What can we learn from their culture, food, healthcare and traditions? We don’t necessarily have the answers, just posing the question. If YOU have the answer send it to us to share!
The year Masazo Nonaka was born, Albert Einstein published his paper on the theory of relativity, Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 26th president of the United States, and Bertha von Suttner became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It was 1905.
One-hundred-and-thirteen years later, Nonaka is now the oldest man alive, according to Guinness World Records. And on Wednesday, he’ll celebrate his 113th birthday.
Nonaka was awarded the title in April after Francisco Nuñez Olivera of Spain passed away at age 113 in January.
According to Guinness, Nonaka grew up with six brothers and one sister in Ashoro, a small town in Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's four main islands. In 1931, he married a woman named Hatsuno, with whom he had five children. According to the Independent, Nonaka ran an inn in Ashoro for most of his life near the town’s renowned hot springs.
Nonaka attributes his longevity to soaking in the mineral-rich springs, as well as his love of sweets. His daughter told Guinness she thinks it’s because he leads a stress-free life: "If he doesn’t want something, he’ll make sure everyone knows about it."
He has spent most of his long retirement reading the newspaper after breakfast, watching samurai shows and sumo wrestling on television and looking after his pets, two cats named Haru and Kuro, who receive the table scraps when Nonaka doesn’t care for his dinner.
Nonaka joins a considerable list of Japanese people who have held the titles of oldest living man or woman. In 2017, the country had a record 67,824 people over the age of 100 — approximately 88 percent of whom are women. Nabi Tajima, a Japanese woman, was the oldest living person until her death in April at the age 117. The oldest man ever was also Japanese: Jiroemon Kimura, who died in 2013 at the age of 116.
Such widespread longevity does come at a cost. Japan’s population has the highest proportion of people over 65 in the world, but birthrates are falling and the country is struggling to shoulder the responsibility of caring for the country’s many retirees.
But Nonaka’s title hasn’t come without controversy. Fredie Blom, a South African who celebrated his 114th birthday in May, is widely believed to be the oldest living man. Guinness World Records told The Post at the time that Blom was not being considered for any award.
“We ask for a great deal of paperwork and proof to substantiate claims that meet our official guidelines,” a spokeswoman told The Post at the time. “We also work with various expert gerontologists and consultants who assist in the investigation of such claims to ensure our facts are correct.”
But she said that if Blom wants to apply, Guinness will work to determine his eligibility.
Nonaka, for his part, probably won’t be paying much attention to his competitor as he rings in 113. If past celebrations are any indication, he’ll be celebrating with sweets.
By: Ruby Mellen, Washington Post
10 Reasons Why The Japanese Live Longer
Than Any Other People On Earth
It’s no secret that the people of the land of the rising sun tend to outlive pretty much everyone else. For years, people in the West have been looking at the Japanese and scratching their heads, witnessing as Japan rose from having one of the lowest life expectancies post-WWII, to topping the charts globally.
What gives? Although there are no definite answers, years of scientific research and anecdotal evidence have revealed some answers — and tips for the rest of us.
#1. They eat a lot of vegetables.
Traditionally, the Japanese eat lots of rice, veg and fish — generally in that order — and Japan’s infatuation with fermented soy and seaweed means they have no lack of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial phytochemicals.
Unfortunately, from the 19th century onward, there has been an increase in unhealthy Western habits — breaded and battered meats and more recently, white bread, refined sugars, and copious amounts of sweets.
#2. They cook their food differently.
Tempura, tonkatsu and croquettes notwithstanding, Japanese food involves a lot of steaming, pan-grilling, broiling, stir-frying, slow-cooking, and fermenting. They also have a habit of making at least one bowl of soup and usually they prepare small dishes. It helps when they couple their veg and fish intake with lots of fiber from beans, rice, and often beans and rice.
#3. They drink a lot of tea.
While coffee isn’t necessarily bad, there’s a huge tea drinking culture in Japan — and good quality Japanese tea contains far more antioxidants than coffee. This is especially true for Japan’s tea-time specialty: matcha, which is a fine (and often expensive) powdered tea made of young leaves grown specifically to increase their chlorophyll and antioxidant content by depriving them of sunlight.
#4. Their food is fresh.
It’s seriously, seriously fresh. And seasonal. Being a relatively small archipelago with a large amount of arable land, there isn’t much need for food to travel very far before it enters people’s mouths, and that can be said for Japan’s veg as much as it can be said for its fish and grain. In Japanese markets, food isn’t dated by the day — it’s dated by the half-hour according to Naomi Moriyama, who wrote a book entitled: Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat.
#5. They’ve got smaller plates.
Portion control is a traditional part of Japanese cuisine. Etiquette is a huge part of Japanese living, and part of that is the careful use of chopsticks, the practice of eating from a small plate or rice bowl, only garnishing food lightly, serving each item on its own little dish, never completely filling a plate or serving large portions.
In Okinawa, the locals attribute part of their longevity to the saying: hara hachi bu, meaning “eat until you are 80% full”.
#6. They walk, stand, and squat more.
Part of daily Japanese life is the great commute — getting up, heading to the station, waiting for the train, standing in the train, walking from the next station to work, and getting on with life. Public transport is the norm in Japan. People jump on bikes and hop on trains — a car is considered a luxury. Many employees, such as those at Canon, work standing up.
Even going to the bathroom is different in Japan. While there are a lot of Western-style toilets available, old-school Japanese lavatories involve squatting, which is healthier for the bowels.
#7. They’ve got morning exercise — on the radio.
Called rajio taiso, Japan literally has on-the-air exercise routines that are completed in massive groups every morning. The majority of Japanese partake, and there are several degrees of difficulty for different people. Originally a (now defunct) MetLife, Inc. product straight out of Massachusetts, visiting Japanese employees of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation brought radio calisthenics to Japan in the 1920s.
The benefits are obvious — an increased level of athleticism, alertness and energy, alongside better flexibility and focus at the workplace and in school.
#8. They’ve got universal healthcare.
Since the 1960s, Japan has had a mandatory healthcare system that gobbles up only 8% of the GDP (less than half of what America pays for its current system) while keeping people very much healthy. The average Japanese person visits their doctor over a dozen times a year for check-ups, four times as much as in the States.
#9. They spend more time outside.
In addition to walking practically everywhere, it’s a Japanese custom to eat out with friends rather than invite them in. Japanese living spaces are modest, while restaurant prices are relatively cheap — so socializing outside is a regular occurrence. While the effect of hanging out with people hasn’t been tested on Japanese longevity, social coherence and friendships are important for emotional health.
#10. They focus on cleanliness.
The Japanese are obsessed with cleanliness, and it’s for the better. Their cultural methods are largely based on the centuries-old traditions of Shintoism, a large part of which is the concept of purification. In Japan, it’s not uncommon to bathe twice a day in the summer. Communal baths are a regular thing, and the guidelines and rules within them are strict.
No Strings Attached: Trying Out
Moving to an assisted living community is a big decision. Many seniors hesitate to make the move out of fear of the unknown. But today, more and more communities are making it easier for seniors who want to test the waters and see first-hand if assisted living is right for them. It’s a “no strings attached” approach that lets potential residents move in for a month or two and try out all that assisted living has to offer before making a permanent commitment.
For example, Atria Senior Living, which offers residential independent living, assisted living and memory care services across the U.S., features a temporary stay option called “Atria Retreat” in many of its locations. “Potential residents enjoy the same amenities as our full-time residents, including restaurant-style meals, social activities, transportation services, in-room emergency call systems and around-the-clock staff availability,” says John Hartmayer, regional vice president at Atria Senior Living.
During their stay, seniors get to know the other residents and staff and get a feel for what day-to-day life is like in the community, all without a long-term commitment. Seniors can also book a temporary stay to recover from an illness or injury or provide their caregivers with respite so they can decompress or even travel.
One Couple’s Experience Trying Out Assisted Living
Jackie and Al Haglund are in their late 80s and recently decided to give assisted living a try. The Haglunds currently reside in Palmetto, Florida, but their two sons, Dan and Tim, have been trying to get them to move closer to family for years. So, the Haglunds packed their bags and spent a few weeks at Laurel Oaks, an independent and assisted living community near Tim in Glendale, Wisconsin.
“We enjoyed the stay,” Mrs. Haglund says. “It’s a beautiful community, and we met lots of nice people who we will remain friends with.” However, at the end of their stay, the Haglunds decided that assisted living is not the best fit for them at the moment. “We felt a little confined not having a car,” Mrs. Haglund admits. “They have a bus that takes you anywhere you want to go, but you’re on someone else’s schedule.”
The Haglunds are relatively active seniors, so another issue Jackie cited was that being around other residents who are less mobile made them feel old. They have not crossed assisted living off their list of options, though. “Assisted living is something we will consider at some time in the future, but not right now,” Mrs. Haglund explains.
Dan Haglund, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, says he and his brother were disappointed that their parents decided not to make the move a permanent one. “Dad has early stage Alzheimer’s disease and mom has had a couple of bad falls as well as chronic pain in her neck,” he says. “We worry about them and the distance makes it difficult. We wish they would live closer to a relative in case something goes wrong. We dread getting that phone call that something has happened and we’re both so far away.”
The Haglunds’ story isn’t unusual. According to Atria, about half of the people who stay temporarily in assisted living make a long-term commitment. The other half decides assisted living isn’t the right option for the time being, although many do return as their needs increase.
The Benefits of Assisted Living Trials
These trial programs allow seniors to see for themselves that the stereotypical institutional settings of the past with shared bathrooms, narrow hallways and small double rooms have given way to apartment-style living, gourmet food, on-site spas and more activities and amenities than most people have access to at home. Today’s assisted living communities are more like active retirement neighborhoods and less likes old folks’ homes. While the image has changed, seniors are still reluctant. That’s what makes temporary-stay options so beneficial. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see if it’s a good fit,” Hartmayer says.
The option is also an excellent compromise for families who are trying to seek outside help and support with caregiving. Adult children often recognize their loved ones’ growing needs and encourage a move to senior living before it becomes too disruptive. However, aging parents are notoriously stubborn when it comes to staying put in their homes. A one- or two-month stay in an assisted living community is the perfect middle ground for both parties, and it can be a valuable learning experience that helps everyone involved make an informed decision about long-term care.
Of course, the luxury of modern-day assisted living communities doesn’t come cheap. Prices for temporary stays range from $99 to over $250 per day, depending on the level of care the community offers, the size of the apartment and the location. Some communities charge extra for add-ons like meal plans, housekeeping services or utilities. In most cases, temporary stays are “private pay,” meaning the seniors and their families are responsible for all costs, because Medicare and Medicaid are not accepted. But, for caregivers who are struggling to convince Mom or Dad to give assisted living a try, the cost of a trial run could be worth every penny.
By: Marlo Sollitto, agingcare.com
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