Peg’s Perspective –The Longevity Project and Conscientiousness

By February 22, 2019Lifestyle, Our Stories
Adult Fitness

“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip # 11 of 50 –The Longevity Project and Conscientiousness

By: Peg Carmany

In 1921, a forward-thinking psychologist, Dr. Lewis Terman, began a study of 1500 children born around 1910.  The purpose of the study was to research intellectual leadership — Dr. Terman wondered if he could identify early markers of high potential in children who were identified as “gifted” by their teachers. Their lives were followed and studied in meticulous detail. Out of this now famous study Dr. Howard Friedman and Dr. Leslie Martin began to study a different question: who lives the longest, and why? The results are revealed in The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight Decade Study. 

One of the factors in living a long life is conscientiousness, that is, the young adults who were thrifty, persistent, detail-oriented and responsible, tended to live the longest. Conscientious people simply do more things to protect their health and engage in fewer activities that are risky. They are more likely to wear seatbelts and follow doctors’ orders. And not only do conscientious people have better health habits and healthier brains, but they also tend to create healthy, long-life pathways for themselves, including happier marriages, better friendships, and healthier work situations.

So, if you are a conscientious person, keep doing what you are already doing! And if you are not engaging in prudent, dependable habits, take heart. People can and do slowly change their patterns and habits to promote a healthy, happy, and long life.

At The Wesley Communities, we have an impressive number of residents who are living well beyond 100 years old, maintaining their independence, their minds, and their sense of purpose. We do not quiz them on their conscientiousness, but we do provide many wonderful options to help all of them make good, happy, and fun choices!

Source:  The Longevity Project, by Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D., and Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D