Do you want to know the secret
to a longer, happier life?
As you read this, there are 75 people on our planet 110 years of age or older.
In our own country, 5825 Canadians are now over the age of 100.
It appears that the age of the supercentenarian is upon us.
So what makes a super-senior?
Is it the luck of the gene pool?
Scientists at Stanford University thought they had the answer.
They began searching for key genes indicative of extreme longevity
by sequencing the genomes of 17 of those 75 people aged 110 to 116.
Their intent was to determine if their test subjects possessed genetic traits
that accounted for their long life.
In November of 2014, they released their findings.
The answer, was not so simple.
The research could not identify a common genetic characteristic among the study’s cohort.
The findings underscored the idea that living to extreme old age may involve lots of factors, not just genetics.
In fact, the lead researcher, Dr. Stuart Kim, Professor of Developmental Biology and Genetics at Stanford, expressed his frustration directly,
‘Our hope was that we would find a longevity gene. We were pretty disappointed. We know now that it’s a lot more complicated, and it will take a lot more experiments and a lot more data from the genes of more supercentenarians to find out just what might account for their ages.’
If genetics alone aren’t the answer, then where else can we turn?
Another study, this one from Harvard and well past its 70th year in field, sheds a more intuitive light on our elusive quest for longevity; Dr. George Vaillant, Professor, Harvard Medical School, sums up decades of findings simply,
‘There is 70 years of evidence that our relationships with other people matter, and matter more than anything else in this world. A successful old age may lie not so much in our stars and genes as in ourselves.’
That’s why Yee Hong matters.
The Centre for Geriatric Care has known the secret to a longer, happier life since it opened its first Centre 20 years ago; caring, not simply care, makes all the difference in the world.
Dr. Vaillant concludes, ‘Warmth of relationships throughout life have the greatest positive impact on life satisfaction.’ Dr. Joseph Wong, his staff and all the volunteers at Yee Hong continue to live and breathe that conclusion by providing cultural specific caring to over 16,000 seniors each and every day.
Thanks to your continued generosity, Yee Hong is able to share the secret to a longer, happier life with its seniors and now with you.
Genetics and good fortune certainly play their part.
However, at Yee Hong, we like to think as Dr. Vaillant scientifically summarizes,
‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’
Message from the Co-Chair
Randy VanDerStarren, President of Open Access Limited
and Member of the Board of Directors of Yee Hong Foundation