Jeanne Louise Calment was born in Arles, France, on February 21, 1875. Her life was fairly unremarkable and unnoticed, except for her birth date, which was recorded in the Arles birth register. When Calment died in 1997 at 122 years old, she had officially lived longer than any other person.
Did she live so long because she ate two pounds of chocolate a week, started fencing lessons when she was 85, rode a bicycle until she was 100, drank a daily glass of port wine or had a great sense of humor? Jean-Marie Rabine, public health researcher and author of a book about Calment, credits her long life to her “immunity to stress.” Calment, after all, married into money and did not have to work. She spent much of her time playing tennis, roller-skating, cycling, swimming, and joining her husband’s hunting parties. But will any of us be so lucky as to live such long, full lives?
While there is much press about ever-increasing human longevity, scientists believe that humans have largely reached the upper limits of our life span, and that limit is 115 years. Calment’s 122 years, researchers say, is an anomaly. While the improvements of modern life increase our chances of living longer, no matter how many health advancements and breakthroughs humankind uncovers, we cannot live forever. And scientists are quick to remind us that we do not want to. After all, a full life is better than a long life. A social network, trading white bread for whole grains, moderate exercise, being conscientious, getting enough sleep, and having a sense of a higher purpose, these are the hallmarks of long, full lives. And don’t forget a sense of humor. As Calment said, “I will die laughing.”
The Chesapeake is currently home to five centenarians. What we hear is they are living a life free of stress: no snow shoveling, no leaf blowing, no daily chores, monthly entertainment, craft classes, card games, bus trips, weekend movies and more! This “cruise ship” affords residents the luxury of living their life to the fullest, while enjoying familiar, stimulating and new programs.
To learn more, schedule an appointment with one of our retirement counselors today!