According to a recent study conducted in Spain, super seniors – people over the age of 80 with excellent health and a sharp mind – have their own secrets to longevity. Researchers from the University of Zaragoza and the Spanish Center for the Study of Aging and Psychology (CENIE) studied the factors that contribute to this unique condition.
We all want to retain our memory and wit throughout our lives. But there are special people whose sharp minds defy their advanced years, their brains somehow resisting the slow passage of time. They are known as super seniors, a rare breed of elderly people aged 80 or older whose memory rivals those 20 or 30 years younger than them.
A Spanish study conducted at the Alzheimer’s Center of the Queen Sofia Foundation in Madrid has lifted the veil of mystery explaining how these super old people retain their wit and memory. The study found several factors that may be the answer to this question.
One of the main reasons, according to scientists, is the health of the brain. MRI scans showed that the brains of super seniors shrank more slowly than those of their peers, especially in areas related to memory and movement. This means they retain a higher level of cognitive function.
In addition, super seniors have better physical health and mobility. The study showed that they were more active in middle age and maintained this activity in older age as well. They were more satisfied with their sleep, had better mental health and showed more independence in their daily lives. This is probably due to their ability to move, balance and remember things.
Interestingly, super elderly people also showed better fine motor skills and got up from a chair faster in a ‘timed test’. This may indicate that they perform more physically demanding activities of daily living, such as gardening or climbing stairs.
The study also found no differences in dementia biomarkers in the blood of super seniors. This confirms earlier studies that showed older people retain their memory function despite the presence of Alzheimer’s disease proteins in their brains.
However, despite all these findings, the exact reasons why super seniors retain their wit and memory are still unclear. Researchers continue to work on this question and hope for new discoveries in the future.