109-Year-Old Independent Man Shares His Tips for Longevity. Listen Up!
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Although I love getting older and truly believe that aging is one of life’s greatest blessings, my biggest fear when it comes to reaching ‘oldest-old’ status (which is 85 years and older) is losing the ability to be independent. This is why I am so passionate about being proactive about health on a daily basis through nutrition, exercise and newer methods such as red light therapy. My goal is to live my longest life while also being free of chronic illness such as heart disease and diabetes as well as always be able to see, hear, walk, drive and essentially just take care of myself.
A man named Vincent Dransfield is living proof that this is quite possible. At 109-years-old, he drives, shops for groceries and lives in his own home independently.
“The centenarian requires no help navigating between the home’s main floor, his bedroom upstairs and the basement where he does his laundry, his family says,” according to this report from NBC’S TODAY.
“He doesn’t get back aches. He doesn’t get the daily aches and pains that I, at 48, get. He doesn’t get headaches, anything like that. It’s crazy,” said Erica Lista, his granddaughter.
It's not just about longevity. It is healthy longevity that is important.
What good is living a long life if we are not happy and healthy?
“Born on March 28, 1914, Dransfield not only enjoys incredible longevity, but healthy longevity, with a fit mind and body. He says he has never had major diseases, like cancer or heart disease. Dransfield has just always been healthy, Lista adds,” reports TODAY.
So, of course, everyone wants to know what his long, healthy life tips are. And here they are:
- Use your time to do something that you love.
Dransfield attributes some of his longevity to the fact that he served more than 80 years as a volunteer for his local fire department, where at one point he held the position of chief. The fire team became like another family to him and brought him so much joy and comradery.
- Take the pottery or acting class...Whatever it is, pursue it unapologetically.
If you are thinking there is no way that you could volunteer that much or have the time to do something you love, know that this man worked for 60 years (primarily as an auto parts manager). He did not retire until his late 70s.
So, let this be an inspiration to do the things that bring you joy. Take the pottery or acting classes. Go to the beach. Spend the money on that trip. Go bird watching. Whatever it is, pursue it unapologetically. It may help you live longer and happier. What better gift to not only give to yourself but also your friends and family.
- Drink milk.
Okay. I know this one is going to be controversial, but remember these are tips coming directly from this man’s experience. Let’s hear him out.
Dransfield has a deep history with milk. According to the report from TODAY, he left school and worked at a dairy farm at just 15-years-old in order to help take care of his family.
“He delivered milk for five years and drank as much of it as he wanted, which he attributes to giving him a healthy boost — especially during the Great Depression in the 1930s,” according to the report.
“I was drinking milk and eating well because I worked on a farm. And I often go back and think they gave me a good start in life and for my bones in my body,” Dransfield says.
I am not saying that everyone needs to be a milk drinker. I think the key takeaway here is that he ate well and got an adequate amount of nutrients. I think it is also important to note that he was drinking milk straight from a farm that was most likely very fresh and not as processed as many of the milks we may come across in the store.
Milk is rich in calcium as well as other invaluable nutrients including potassium and phosphorus. The good news is you can get these essential nutrients through other foods such as broccoli and other greens, nuts and seeds.
- He also recommends staying active.
This I can definitely get behind. Leading a sedentary life will certainly increase the risk of an early death or a less pleasurable life. You can preserve your bones and muscles by exercising and eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. Keep in mind that if you are older, you may need more protein.
When it comes to exercise, you do not have to be extreme or put a lot of pressure on yourself. Do things you enjoy. If you have pain or disabilities, speak with a competent healthcare practitioner about what exercises you can do. For example, if you are in a wheelchair perhaps you can focus on upper body strength or do knee lifts and toe taps if you are able to move your lower body. If you have bad back pain, yoga might be a good option for you.
- Enjoy food.
Dransfield apparently is not super careful about his diet, but has always been fit and healthy. He may be a genetic outlier, but I do think this brings up a good point that although we should eat healthily it is still important to not deprive ourselves. With deprivation usually follows binging. I also think it is important to look for healthier alternatives. For example, go for baked sweet potato fries if you are craving fast food fries.
- Never too late to fix a bad habit.
I so agree with this! You are never too old or it is never too late to fix a bad habit.
“Dransfield started smoking when he was 50 after a fellow firefighter offered him a cigarette and he liked it. But about 20 years later, he quit,” reports TODAY.
Again, this man seems to be a genetic outlier, however, many people lead with a mentality that they may as well continue to eat poorly or not workout because they have always been and will always be overweight. The truth is it is never too late to be proactive about your health.
- Stay positive.
This is one of my favorite tips for healthy longevity. In life, circumstances that we do not control will occur. It is our ability to appropriately manage our response which will determine how healthy we will remain. Managing stress, which is inevitable, is a great way to maintain good mental health and a positive attitude.
For more tips on longevity, check out these pH Labs blogs.
Enjoy your healthy, happy and long life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.