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Notable Book: The Secret to a Long, Happy Life


extrodinary centenarians in america
Afraid of aging and haunted by death in her family, a nutritionist wanted to know how seniors stayed happy and healthy.

In Extraordinary Centenarians in America: Their Secrets to Living a Long Vibrant Life, Gwen Weiss-Numeroff portrays 30 unique individuals, ranging in age from 96 to 116. She chose these persons, not solely based on their longevity, but because they lived their lives in inspirational ways.

For example, Besse Cooper, 116, looked back on her 80s as the best years of her life. During those years she became involved in the local senior centre and traveled across the United States with her daughter, who worked for Delta Airlines. When asked her secret for long life, Cooper said, "Mind your own business and don't eat junk food. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated, work hard and love what you do."

Anthony Mancinelli still cut hair at age 101 and lived independently. "Going to work is what keeps me going," he said.

Realtor Ebby Halliday, 101, was one of Dallas' leading business women.

Gilbert Herrick, a former postal worker, found the woman of his dreams when he was 99 years old.

Weiss-Numeroff also interviewed NBA player Benjamin Goldfaden, who was still active at age 99. His advice: "Don't stay mad at anything – you have to get used to the losses, otherwise you can't win."

According to the author, most of the centenarians did not smoke. A few were moderate drinkers. They followed no special diets and ate moderately.

Genetics counted, but it wasn't the whole story. Most of the participants had disease in their family and managed to avoid it. The author found mental attitude and lifestyle were important factors because they coloured how much people enjoyed life.

These centenarians had a real passion for life. All touted a reason to get up in the morning. Alyse Laemmle, a former life insurance agent, offered this advice: "Never run out of responsibility; if you don't have one, find one. Find a cause and knock yourself out for it. It will enhance your brainpower, interest in life and keep you alive longer. I'm alert because I work. Virtue is its own reward."