Advice from Centenarians

The number of people reaching the age of 100 has quadrupled in the past 30 years, with 1 in 4 now expected to join the exclusive centenarian club and the Queen’s team of telegram senders expanding to seven employees to cope with the surge of an ageing population. But what’s the secret to staying happy for a century? How do you keep healthy until 100? We’ve trawled our sources and found some of the best pieces of advice from those who have lived to the impressive milestone.

Keep positive company

In 2015, the Guinness World Records awarded Susannah Mushatt Jones the record for oldest living person, after reaching a whopping 116 years old. What is her secret? Jones talks of how living to the age that she achieved is a combination of ‘sleep, love and positive energy.’ Jones’ emphasis on love and positive energy highlights the importance of keeping pleasant company and being stress free in the later years of your life. Our Barchester care homes provide an environment in which seniors can be around others the same age – meaning they can enjoy their retirement together – in a friendly, carefree manner.


Back in 2013 and over in the States, Jay Leno interviewed an American comedian Dorothy Custer, shortly after her 102nd birthday. The centenarian had celebrated her last two birthday’s ziplining and base jumping – and seemed full of vigor, potency and passion. After having being asked how she has stayed so healthy, happy and mobile up until her current age, she recommended exercise daily, stating ‘exercise every morning… I have a machine… it’s a cross between a rowing machine and a bicycle. I do 150 rows every morning.’ Whilst at this age it may be difficult to exercise as much as the average 20 year old, there are plenty of light exercise ideas for older people, and at Barchester we encourage a number of activities that get our resident’s hearts pumping to ensure they feel as good as possible.  

Continue eating well

Elsa Bailey is 102, and spent her 100th anniversary on the slopes in Colorado, after having skied on her birthday every year for over 75 years. She tells younger generations, ‘I eat correctly and get fresh air and sunshine, making sure I always eat a fruit, a vegetable and a little meat.’ Mrs Bailey’s advice is spot on – the importance of a variety of foods from all food groups becomes more important to someone as they age, as their nutrient needs rise. Thankfully, at Barchester we recognise the importance of diet and ensure all meals are delicious as well as able to reflect all residents’ likes and dislikes.

So there you have it – advice from three 100 year-olds who appear more active than the average teenage couch potato. The key findings are that in order to grow old, happy and healthy, one must surround themselves with good company, eat well and keep moving. As someone reaches the older stages of their life, it can become easier to feel isolated and lose the motivation to exercise – but life with Barchester is different! We encourage a great diet and offer exercise, as well as providing our guests with the means of staying socially engaged with people of similar age. We also provide the best quality approach to dementia care, so don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our care homes near me to find out more about how you can ensure your loved ones have the best retirement imaginable.