Kelley D. Hamilton is co-owner and Chief Executive Officer of Bonaventure Senior Living. The mission of Bonaventure is to provide an exceptional Senior lifestyle through a dedicated and compassionate team, innovative communities and enriched services that promote dignity, choice and independence. Recently, the staff of Interviewing Experts sat down for a brief conversation with Kelley D. Hamilton.
Interviewing Experts: What does it take to join the exclusive club of centenarians?
Kelley D. Hamilton: First of all, you must live to be 100! That is something Americans are doing in increasing numbers.
Interviewing Experts: Do you happen to know any statistics about how many adults are living to the century mark?
Kelley D. Hamilton: The last census data put the number of U.S. centenarians at 53,364. That’s up 65.8% over the 1980 numbers.
Interviewing Experts: What are we doing differently than we were three decades ago?
Kelley D. Hamilton: Diet, exercise, and less stress have been shown to be quite effective in living a longer, healthier life. Perhaps people finally realized that and changed their habits accordingly.
Interviewing Experts: Does attitude factor in living longer?
Kelley D. Hamilton: I believe so. I once heard a man who was forced into retirement say that now he was just sitting around waiting to die.
Interviewing Experts: That’s terrible!
Kelley D. Hamilton: Yes it is, and unhealthy in so many ways. We at Bonaventure encourage our residents to find a new focus after retirement and live life to its fullest potential.
Interviewing Experts: And you think that makes a difference…
Kelley D. Hamilton: Most definitely. Age is just a number. Think younger! Try something new.
Interviewing Experts: Like what, for instance?
Kelley D. Hamilton: Well for starters, we encourage Bonaventure residents to challenge their minds. Get that college degree or start a new career around a well-loved hobby. Become a techie.
Interviewing Experts: A techie?
Kelley D. Hamilton: Yes. A poll of U.S. centenarians showed that many get online to stay connected to friends, family, and current events. It makes them feel relevant in today’s world.
Interviewing Experts: So are you saying that seniors now use e-mail instead of snail mail?
Kelley D. Hamilton: The number of senior adults who keep up with the latest technology is growing. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype help seniors stay involved socially and keep their minds agile.
Interviewing Experts: But doesn’t that mean seniors will withdraw from daily life?
Kelley D. Hamilton: Not at all. When they discover they can google lost friends and make new ones, it opens up a whole new world. It gives them something relevant to bring to their social interactions.
Interviewing Experts: So to recap, what are some characteristics that would make a person more likely to live longer?
Kelley D. Hamilton: Healthy, happy ones! So, eat healthy, exercise, and be happy. Strive to be optimistic and don’t stress over the small things.
Interviewing Experts: Switching gears a bit, can you tell us who is the longest living person ever documented?
Kelley D. Hamilton: A French woman named Jeanne Calment holds that honor. She was 122 years (and her age was verified) when she died in 1997.
Interviewing Experts: She must have been very healthy. Did she remain active throughout her life?
Kelley D. Hamilton: She did. Ms. Calment took up fencing at age 85 and was still riding a bicycle at 100. She lived on her own until she was 101.
Interviewing Experts: Do centenarians have certain things in common that help them live longer?
Kelley D. Hamilton: They are rarely overweight, exercise regularly, eat very little meat, and spend a lot of time with their family and friends.
Interviewing Experts: What about genetics? How much do good genes play in achieving the age of 100?
Kelley D. Hamilton: Genetics play a significant role in longevity, but it isn’t the major factor. One study showed that attaining centenarian status was 20% to 30% genes and 70% to 80% environment.
Interviewing Experts: What country has the highest population of centenarians, and why?
Kelley D. Hamilton: Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa’s citizens eat very little meat and dairy. Their diet is filled with fish, vegetables, and whole grain foods.
Interviewing Experts: What is the biggest obstacle in reaching centenarian status in the U.S?
Kelley D. Hamilton: Well, if I had to pick just one, it would be obesity. Obesity contributes to a number of deadly diseases. Life expectancy has seen a dramatic increase in the last century and half because of advances in medicine and better nutrition, but some experts predict that those rates will decrease if the U.S. population continues to become more obese.
Kelley D. Hamilton is passionate about offering senior adults the best in assisted living and retirement accommodations. Bonaventure communities can be found in the Western United States. For more information, visit RetirementPerfected.com.