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Centenarians on the increase in Arizona

August 19, 2011 by Bob Difley · 14 Comments  
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By Bob Difley

senior_cyclingWant to live a long time? Drive your RV to Arizona. The US Census reports that there were 832 centenarians in the state in 2010, a 27% increase since 2000. According to Anne Morrison, director of education for the University of Arizona’s Center on Aging, “Once they’ve hit 85, the healthy ones have shown they’re strong enough to overcome problems,” Morrison said. “If something hasn’t taken them before that, they’re good beyond 100.” In all, residents between 100 and 104 increased from 598 in 2000 to 772 in 2011. Those from 105 to 109 increased from 42 in 2000 to 53 in 2010.

There are a lot of contributors for the increase in old folks, like the improvements and discoveries in medical care, nutrition, and exercise. People smoke a lot less than previously, eat healthier food, and are generally more knowledgeable about their health and how to maintain it. And, believe it or not, falling down from slipping on ice or snow and breaking bones was a contributing factor to a shortened lifespan–and one of the reasons Arizona had such good numbers, there is not much of that down there.

“They’re starting to experience the vulnerabilities of aging, but they’re camping, hiking, biking,” said Melanie Starns, assistant director of the Arizona Department of Economic Service’s Aging and Adult Services division.

senior_hikerThat’s good news. It means that a lot of the things that we RVers like to do–camping, hiking, biking–are the activities that keep us healthy and able to live longer lives.

There are trails wherever you happen to be. Some are for hiking only, some are especially good for biking, like the Rails to Trails Conservancy where  former railroad beds have been converted into level, improved surface, hiking and biking trails–more than 30,000 miles of them. Many go through scenic areas inaccessible by any other means, while others wind through historic sites and small towns. Check out their trail finder to find a trail near your campground.

Check also the National Park Service’s National Recreation Trails, over 1,100 trails in all 50 states. So get out of that camp chair, tune up that bicycle, dig out the hiking boots, and get out there and enjoy life–you will probably have a lot more life to enjoy  than you thought previously.

Check out my website for more RVing tips and destinations and for my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public LandsSnowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts, and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar.

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14 Responses to “Centenarians on the increase in Arizona”

  1. Adult World Blog on August 19th, 2011 11:01 pm

    Adult Protective Services Arizona…

    [...] ’s the little things that make a boondocking lifestyle – Part 2 [...]…

  2. Curtis McRee on August 20th, 2011 8:25 pm

    I am close to 77 years old and I live in Pensacola,FL. I am in exellent health.My blood pressure is 120/70 and I don’t take any supplements at all.I practic positive living and thinking. I eat nothing that will ruin my good life.After all, what goes in your mouth has a lot to do with how good your health is.I am not over weight and
    I feel great. I am working on living well over a hundred years. I will be living until God takes me to Heaven. I enjoy life and I enjoy living.I never worry about things I can’t control.If anyoene can prove to me that worrying changes anything, Then
    I will worry.To much worrying can weaken your heart and shorten your life. Life if
    as good as we make.

  3. butterbean carpenter on August 21st, 2011 7:35 am

    Howdy Bob,

    Thank you, but no, in my shape I’ve lived my life and I’m ready to go to the big campground… All of my benefits (that I have) are running out and I don’t want to be
    a burden on anyone or dependent on charity or the taxpayers.. Only the folks with disposable income can afford AZ prices and the ‘ healthy’ lifestyle.. Think positive?
    I do !! I positively don’t think I’m agonna live forever !!!!!!!!!!!

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. MrsGaryM on August 21st, 2011 8:06 am

    I am with butterbean, however I do have that RV bug to travel. Gary is 68 and I am 63, just retired. I haven’t seen or done everything on my bucket list so I am taking better care of myself. I have learned to pull the 5th wheel and have been practicing backing it into the rv barn. I think that we are doing everything we can to make these retired years way better than the working years were. I think that the stress you have when working does take a mountainous toll on how long you live. I think that retiring is going to add years to my life and putzing around my state of Montana with it’s clean air and water certainly helps as well. We have been to ARizona and the joints feel better in that air. By the time I golf every course in Montana and fish/camp by all the streams and rivers, I might be ready for a winter stay in Arizona. We have been there testing things out but for now, we are staying a little closer to our mountains, lakes and streams.

  5. Geoffrey Pruett on August 21st, 2011 10:27 am

    Am still a youngster at 71 but will try my best to be an embarasment to my great grand children. When my wife and I were dating we went on a 2 day 1000 mile motorcycle tent camping trip. After sleeping on the ground in a tent under 3 feet tall we had decided out next trip was going to be an RV or motel but the couple next to us, both in the high 80’s with a few strands of white hair between them were in no worse shape at breakfast than we were. I thought it was that they had just purchased a new road bike but now know that it was sharing something fun with a partner. We still dance but hiking on uneven ground is too big a risk to her knee’s. We are probably healthier now that in our 30’s and there are only 3 states filled in on the map inside the compartment doors. Used to tell both my sons that needed to purchse a large house for my retirement years, here is to that being just a bad joke!

  6. Jim G on August 21st, 2011 2:30 pm

    I always find it fascinating to read Bob’s stories and occasionally am bemused at the off-topic comments which folks choose to post. Anyway, as a life-long resident of New England I certainly appreciate and can attest to the hazards of ice and snow. Our Spring has become a few weeks of transitioning from cold weather to hot, humid summers and Fall ( which used to be my personal favorite) seems to be excessively rainy and damp, along with the threat of hurricances. So, if I can convince my wife, this might provide the impetus to include moving to Arizona to my bucket list.

  7. Gary on August 22nd, 2011 3:14 pm

    Wow. Live to be 100 or more. Sort of like the temperatures that are in AZ. Maybe it’s all the air-conditioning that makes you live so long.. Got friends in AZ and they get outa town until it cools off. Still, a person can only go by the facts.. One being that since so many have or are moving the prices to live there make a person light-headed. Can’t do that heat. 85 is about tops . So what then. Stay in with A/C!!! But everyone has choices. Live long and hot, or, live a little shorter, but be “cool” Thanks for the info.

  8. Bob Difley on August 22nd, 2011 3:37 pm

    Most of the Arizonans I know leave the hotter parts of the state for two or three months during the hottest parts, unless they are still employed. It isn’t far to the cool Ponderosa pine forests and cool temps around Prescott or on the Mogollon Rim around Show Low. Some even take extended vacations to the Sierras and Rock Mountains.

  9. marianj on August 30th, 2011 5:57 pm

    Our you could come to Alaska for the Summer It never gets over low 70’s here.

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