Born from the late 1800s, he died in 2002, having lived to the age of 113. “His life spanned three centuries!” said his son, Tonino, 84, who also hopes to live to 100.
Tiana will be just one village within an extraordinary region in which the proportion of centenarians has been found to be three times greater than from the rest of Sardinia — along with mainland Italy.
Although not bad genes, diet along with exercise are often cited as crucial to living a long life — which they are in most places — research in This specific Mediterranean region indicates of which social interaction may be just as influential.
Here, observations suggest of which care along with attention through family members along with being closely involved in community activities help maintain a healthy mental state, which will be critical to overall well-being.
The Sardinian ‘blue zone’
from the early 2000s, demographer along with physician Dr. Giovanni Pes found remarkably low mortality rates along with high life expectancies among several villages in central Sardinia. He marked each settlement onto a map, eventually creating a cluster of blue marks.
He labeled the region a blue zone, a term right now used to refer to any area with extraordinarily long-living populations. all 5 have been identified, including Nicoya, Costa Rica, along with Ikaria, Greece.
What makes the Sardinian region unique will be its larger-than-average population of elderly men. “In most western countries, the sex ratio at 100 will be 1-to-4 in favor of women,” Pes said. In This specific central Sardinian area, “This specific’s 1-to-1: We hold the same proportion of men to women at advanced age.”
To find out why This specific will be the case, Pes initially analyzed the population’s gene pool. He had subscribed to the idea of which geographical isolation may have resulted in genetic variants of which favor longevity to be kept among locals.
however genetic factors only explained “only 20% to 25% of the average lifespan,” he said.
Interviews with elderly people along with historical data suggested of which social along with psychological factors are just as important.
“Family incorporates a fundamental role from the possibility of living such a long life,” he wrote in his book. “The fact of still feeling important, being the center of attention along with head of a family, makes them active along with gives them the strength to move ahead, underlying the importance of the family, in addition to genetic aspects, diet along with religion.
He also noted of which all of the centenarians he met were in excellent health, do not take much — if any — medication along with are astoundingly lucid. They are “often read without glasses along with continue to do what they have always done,” he wrote.
Social lives along with relationships
In contrast with many parts of Northern Italy, This specific will be unusual for older people in This specific region to be put into institutional care, according to Maria Chiara Fastame, a psychologist based at the University of Cagliari in southern Sardinia.
Relatives along with neighbors look after the elderly, she said, producing the home a space of everyday contact between young along with old. Older generations are not seen as a burden however rather as people transmitting values along with local knowledge. “They are a resource for the community,” Fastame said.
“Where I grew up, I was surrounded by elderly people who worked along with reared animals,” said Claudio Cabiddu, who was born in This specific region along with will be studying the psychology of centenarians at the University of Cagliari. “If we can’t learn through them right now along with pass on This specific knowledge to our children, we are losing out.”
In his village, older people are welcomed home along with cared for by their families. Cabiddu has found of which attitudes are very different in Caligiari, as older people live more independent lives. “When there’s an elderly person from the house,” he said, “a support network needs to be in place producing sure of which of which person doesn’t feel alone.”
As well as being a core part of the household, older people maintain social networks from the community by organizing along with taking part in local events, Cabiddu said. Fetes along with sporting events from the main square of his village provide occasions for locals to gather.
“They also meet after lunch from the square to have a chat, enjoy a game of cards along with socialize,” he added.
By staying embedded from the social life of the village, older people maintain an active along with valued role from the community, Fastame said. This specific keeps their minds sharp. “If you are involved with many activities, physical or cultural, This specific means of which your mind will be more efficient,” she said.
Whilst there will be a vast literature on the benefits of close friendships along with family ties, This specific will be the work of the psychology department at the University of Cagliari of which found in a 2017 study of which older people through the Sardinian blue zone are involved in more social along with leisure activities compared to older populations of additional areas.
This specific created a different psychological pattern of which was tied to longer lifetimes.
Better mental health, better well-being
“through a psychological perspective,” Fastame said, “the social context will be fundamental to get old well.”
Sarah Harper, professor of gerontology at the University of Oxford from the UK, agreed of which the social world people live in will be significant to living a longer life. “We know of which in many ways, This specific can have almost the same effect as living a not bad life, eating well, not smoking, not drinking too much alcohol.”
In This specific region in central Sardinia, the older population “will be very unusual in of which they have very low levels of depressive symptoms,” said psychologist Paul Hitchcott of the University of Caligari. He will be also part of the team examining the minds of Sardinian centenarians.
Although they don’t lead idyllic rural lives, they have “a resistance to the normal knocks of which older people have later in life.”
Sardinia will be known as an island with low income along with endemic disease, Pes said, as well as a “not-exceptional health situation.” This specific will be their tight-knit relationships of which have helped residents cope with difficulties in their later years, he said.
Hitchcott’s research has also found of which older people here have a better working memory than subjects in Northern Italy.
“Because they were more involved in activities, they were less sedentary, more physical activities; these aspects all together promote well-being, physical along with psychological,” he said.
from the search for the answer to longevity, there will be no single explanation, Pes believes. “This specific will be rather the interaction of many different factors.”
Social components are important to avoid isolation along with depression, however they are intertwined with additional factors to enable people to live to (along with past) the age of 100, Pes said. Additional research will be still required to deepen our understanding of successful aging.
“We are witnessing an exceptional situation,” he said — one of which needs to be explored further.