Continuing with Holiday Retirement’s “100 Years of Wisdom: The Perspective of Centenarians” series, Jamison Gosselin, Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Resident Enrichment Programs at Holiday Retirement in Oswego, Oregon wrote the following article that shares centenarian secrets on how to have a happy marriage and how to be a good parent.
In the past 100 years, centenarians — individuals who have lived 100 years or more — have seen significant changes in the American family unit. Divorce rates have skyrocketed; women have taken on more breadwinning roles; parents are having fewer children and waiting until later in life to start their families.
But one thing has not changed: centenarians’ own families have significantly contributed to the joy they felt in their own lives. In a recent survey of centenarians from across the country, Holiday Retirement revealed that 84% of individuals who have lived 100 years or more attribute their health and happiness to spending time with family. In fact, when asked what they would change if they could do it all over again, more than one-third of surveyed centenarians say they would spend more time with loved ones.
In the survey, centenarians share their secrets to having a happy family, both by building a strong marriage and being a good parent.
In 1910, nearly 80% of households contained a married couple. That number dropped to 48% in 2011. Although marriage as an institution may be less common and more diverse in its definition today, centenarians’ perspective on what it takes to make a happy marriage stands the test of time.
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The surveyed centenarians, two-thirds of whom were married for more than 40 years, advocate getting back to basics when it comes to building a relationship that lasts.
Today’s centenarians are well versed when it comes to raising kids; after all, they have thousands of years of combined parenting experience. In the early 20th century, adults began having children at younger ages and frequently had more kids. Today, the average American birth rate is 1.86 kids per woman; among centenarians in this survey, the median number of children respondents had was 2.6, and one respondent had more than 10 kids.
Though experience does not necessarily equate to expertise, the insight gained from raising children, then watching children raise children, and, even in some cases, grandchildren raise children, gives centenarians an unparalleled perspective on parenting. They offer these five centenarian secrets to being a good parent:
Though most of the centenarians’ advice centered on building strong relationships in the family unit, one insight highlighted the importance of broadening the definition of family. Almost 80% of centenarians polled feel that living in an independent senior living community had contributed to their longevity either somewhat or a great deal. For these centenarians, building an extended family inside of a retirement community has helped them build a healthy, happy, long life.
View the complete report, “100 Years of Wisdom: Perspective of Centenarians,” which also includes centenarians’ life lessons on personal finance, health and happiness, and longevity at 100yearsofwisdom.com.
Jamison Gosselin has served in the field of senior living for more than a decade in a variety of communications and marketing roles, with a keen interest in the consumer behavior of seniors and their adult children. Currently, Jamison is vice president of marketing, communications, and resident enrichment programs at Lake Oswego, Oregon-based Holiday Retirement, an early pioneer of retirement living communities in the United States.