They Live Longer

The Secrets of Healthy and Active Ninety-Year-Olds.




They Live Longer is a GREAT GIFT to those who want to age gracefully. It is an interesting and informative book with a human touch.”


- Mike Starcevic, Retired Teacher.


“This book presents a fresh perspective on living a longer life. It reveals that there is MUCH more to health than proper nutrition and exercise.”

- Edmond Rivere, Associate Professor, Dept. of Critical Studies, UBC Okanagan.

“A thoughtful book on Aging and Health, with some tips to incorporate into your own lifestyle.”

- B. Lynn Beattie, MD, FRCPC, Professor Emeritus, Geriatric Medicine, UBC.

Two men shake hands

About the book

Imagine being an active, healthy, and independent 95-year-old instead of “doing time,” living out your days deteriorating in a sterile care home. Imagine happy years as the matriarch or patriarch of a family with all your faculties intact and in the physical shape of a fit and much younger adult.

In They Live Longer we show you it is possible to age gracefully. We take you to places where pockets of youthful nonagenarians exist. We introduce you to communities around the Mediterranean where living well past ninety is the rule, not the exception. We set out determined to learn the secrets of longevity and on these pages we share them.

In They Live Longer we meet men and women ninety and well beyond who live meaningful and active lives, contribute to their communities, and enjoy the trust and respect of everyone around them. They do not know nursing or retirement homes and rarely see the inside of a hospital. Some of them have never even visited a doctor or taken drugs of any kind.

It is inspiring to watch very old people interacting with family members, participating in various activities, shopping, having coffee with friends, and working around their homes or even part-time jobs. Their stories, pictures, details of their environment, diet, lifestyle, and attitude toward life are presented here in the hope that we can all benefit from their secrets.

What are the secrets?

A number of small communities around the world are blessed with great concentrations of these “youthful elderly.” We focus on ten of these communities in Greece, France, Italy, and Spain. In some locations there are unique factors that allegedly contribute to the longevity of the people who live there. In Limone sul Garda, Italy, a special protein in the blood of some locals protects them from heart attacks. Orsara di Puglia, Italy, sits on selenium-rich soil that may lessen the incidence of certain cancers. Cretans in Greece claim benefit from their Mediterranean diet. The Gersois in France age well by drinking their red Madiran wine. Residents of Lanjaron in Spain believe strongly in the health advantage that the special mineral composition of their water offers.

Considerable research and plain common sense suggest that we can live longer if we are blessed with good genes and by watching our diet, exercising, having the respect of the community, limiting stress, and breathing clean air. But we believe there is more to the story. For example, one single emotional factor appears to be very common among the healthy 90-year-olds in the “villages of longevity.” Being the master of one’s own destiny seems to be the characteristic that separates the healthy seniors from the rest. This factor stands out even more than diet, exercise, genetic predisposition, or absence of stress.

This book is not an academic treatise on living longer but it does provide evidence on how to increase our chances of adding healthy years to our lives. The statements and suggestions outlined here come from the active nonagenarians themselves, and are supported by scientific evidence. The reasons that enable them to reach an advanced age are shown in www.LongevityPyramid.com and form part of the Master Longevity Strategy in this book.

Copyright 2010 They Live Longer