Lessons for Successful Aging: A Centenarian's Lifestyle in a Mexican Community of Aging
Keywords:Mexico, Active Aging, Successful Aging, Planned Behavior,
AbstractIt is clearly established in the scientific literature that an appropriate lifestyle is key to achieving and maintaining optimum health and functional status in old age. In this frame, the practice of physical activity on a regular basis fits into the active aging paradigm, a notorious shift away from aging as a dependent stage of life. Through a longitudinal case study conducted in the outskirts of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, an aspect of the lifestyle –physical activity – of a centenarian who lives permanently in senior-only housing, has been documented in contrast to his coresidents’ lifestyles. Extensive open-ended interviews and direct observations of a convenience sample of residents of a community of aging, from 1999 to the present, allowed for a triangulation and saturation of data.
In contrast to his peers, who predominantly displayed sedentary lifestyles, the centenarian consistently had a related physically and socially active lifestyle. I suggest that the attitudes of fellow residents can be understood in light of the Theory of Planned Behavior (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975). Fieldwork also provided the opportunity to document how fitness and independence
affected the quality of life of the centenarian. This individual is atypical in his environment and the external validity of this study is analytical rather than statistical. However, it suggests that non-institutional barriers may challenge the promotion of an active aging paradigm.
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