How to Live Until You’re 104

Yesterday’s NY Times included a story by Janny Scott about Brooke Astor, 104, who has been in the news about a lawsuit filed alleging bad things against her 84-year-old producer son. The story mentions that there are 1253 women aged 100-104 living in NY, and just 104 who are between 105 and 109.

“Mrs Astor, the philanthropist and socialite, took her Dubonnet in moderation, practiced yoga, gave up smoking a lifetime ago. She swam laps all winter, walked with her dogs, had flocks of friends. She was disciplined, curious, flirtatious. She had a mission She was resilient. She never let herself, she said, become depressed.

An expert on aging weighs in: “I have no one who was exercising, I don’t have vegetarians. Nobody ate yogurt or anything like that. If you have longevity genes, well, lucky you. If you don’t, you know what to do.”

Elizabeth Corbett, who worked as a dressmaker for Mrs Astor, said Astor used to advise her to take a vacation. “She said, ‘Elizabeth, you have to get to the shore, you have to get to the mountains, you have to get to four different places to stay alive. You have to refresh the body and the mind.” And did Elizabeth take this advice? “Of course not,” she said, “I didn’t have the money or the time.”