Centenarians say attitude is important in long, happy life

    Close to 72,000 people in the U.S. are 100 years old or older. Their ranks are expected to swell dramatically over the next decade.

    In Delaware County, 52 centenarians and their families and friends came together for a luncheon celebrating the 100 plus crowd. This population is increasingly attracting the interest of psychologists, who are wondering if outlook and life philosophy contribute to living to very old age.

    Retired minister Joseph Logan says forgiveness has played a big role in keeping him healthy: “Aggravation and hostility are two things that make the heart beat harder and wear it out!”

    Logan is only 99, and technically not yet part of this crowd, but he was escorting his wife of 73 years, Hermoine Logan. She turned 100 earlier this year, and says being kind has been a guiding principle in her life.

    “To do as you would want to be done by, to treat people in a humane way, that’s the way you get by,” said Logan.

    Staying active and engaged has allowed 100-year-old Alva Mullikin to continue to enjoy life.

    “I don’t let things get me down, you just can’t. And you can’t sit back on a rocking chair and just rock rock rock, I don’t even own one,” said Mullikin.

    In addition to celebrating the county’s oldest residents, Lois Colbert, director of the Delaware County Office of Services for the Aging, says the annual luncheon brings attention to issues affecting senior, senior citizens, such as transportation and medical care.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.