This research integrates successful aging and developmental adaptation models to empirically define the direct and indirect effects of 2 distal (i.e., education and past life experiences) and 5 proximal influences (i.e., physical functioning, cognitive functioning, physical health impairment, social resources, and perceived economic status) on subjective well-being. The proximal influences involved predictors outlined in most extant models of successful aging (e.g., Rowe & Kahn, 1998 [Rowe, J. W., & Kahn, R. L. (1998). Successful aging. New York: Pantheon Books.]). Our model extends such models by including distal impact as well as interactions between distal and proximal impacts.
Everyone wants to age successfully; however, the definition and criteria of successful aging remain vague for laypersons, researchers, and policymakers in spite of decades of research on the topic. This paper highlights work of scholars who made significant theoretical contributions to the topic.
Low serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) have been associated with poor physical function in older adults, but few, if any, studies have examined this relationship in the very old. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine this relationship in the very old. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were obtained from 194 centenarians and near centenarians (98 years and older). The associations between 25(OH)D concentrations and measures of physical function were evaluated with unadjusted and adjusted regression models. We found that 35% of centenarians had 25(OH)D concentrations less than 50 nmol/L. Adjusted mean grip strength was lower for centenarians with 25(OH)D concentrations less than 75 nmol/L than for centenarians with higher concentrations (P<0.05). However, there were no differences in the Georgia Centenarian Study (GCS) Composite Scale, a global measure of physical function, between those with higher and lower 25(OH)D concentrations. We conclude that low 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with poor grip strength, but not GCS Composite Scale, in the very old. Considering the high burden of poor physical function in older adults, understanding the relationship between vitamin D and different measures of physical function, including strength, becomes increasingly important.
The purpose of this study was to compare the most important life events reported by U.S. and Japanese centenarians. This study included a population-based sample of 239 U.S. centenarians from the Georgia Centenarian Study and 304 Japanese centenarians from the Tokyo Centenarian Study. Two open-ended life events questions were categorized and grouped into different life event domains. Several cross-tabulations were computed to investigate culture and gender differences in most important life event domains. Next, four configural frequency analyses were conducted using Neuroticism, Extraversion, and the first most often mentioned life event domain for each sample (i.e., marriage and historical life events). Results suggest that events related to marriage were the most frequent important event domains mentioned by U.S. centenarians. The Japanese sample was more likely to report historical events. Men from the U.S. were more likely to report events related to work and retirement compared to U.S. women, and U.S. women reported events related to family as the most important life events when compared to U.S. men. Japanese women considered events related to marriage, death and grief as the most important life events when compared to Japanese men. In addition, Japanese men reported events related to work and retirement as the most important life events. A cross-cultural difference was found in life events: U.S. centenarians were more likely to mention positive experiences related to marriage and children, whereas Japanese centenarians reported mostly negative and traumatic experiences such as historical, death/grief, and work/retirement events.
Hippocampal sclerosis of aging (HS-Aging) is a high-morbidity brain disease in the elderly but risk factors are largely unknown. We report the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) with HS-Aging pathology as an endophenotype. In collaboration with the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium, data were analyzed from large autopsy cohorts: (#1) National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC); (#2) Rush University Religious Orders Study and Memory and Aging Project; (#3) Group Health Research Institute Adult Changes in Thought study; (#4) University of California at Irvine 90+ Study; and (#5) University of Kentucky Alzheimer's Disease Center. Altogether, 363 HS-Aging cases and 2,303 controls, all pathologically confirmed, provided statistical power to test for risk alleles with large effect size. A two-tier study design included GWAS from cohorts #1-3 (Stage I) to identify promising SNP candidates, followed by focused evaluation of particular SNPs in cohorts #4-5 (Stage II). Polymorphism in the ATP-binding cassette, sub-family C member 9 (ABCC9) gene, also known as sulfonylurea receptor 2, was associated with HS-Aging pathology. In the meta-analyzed Stage I GWAS, ABCC9 polymorphisms yielded the lowest p values, and factoring in the Stage II results, the meta-analyzed risk SNP (rs704178:G) attained genome-wide statistical significance (p = 1.4 × 10(-9)), with odds ratio (OR) of 2.13 (recessive mode of inheritance). For SNPs previously linked to hippocampal sclerosis, meta-analyses of Stage I results show OR = 1.16 for rs5848 (GRN) and OR = 1.22 rs1990622 (TMEM106B), with the risk alleles as previously described. Sulfonylureas, a widely prescribed drug class used to treat diabetes, also modify human ABCC9 protein function. A subsample of patients from the NACC database (n = 624) were identified who were older than age 85 at death with known drug history. Controlling for important confounders such as diabetes itself, exposure to a sulfonylurea drug was associated with risk for HS-Aging pathology (p = 0.03). Thus, we describe a novel and targetable dementia risk factor.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between apolipoprotein E (APOE), life events and engagement, and subjective well-being (as measured by positive and negative affect) among centenarians. Based on the life stress paradigm, we predicted that higher levels of stress would allow APOE to influence positive and negative affect. Method: 196 centenarians and near-centenarians (98 years and older) of the Georgia Centenarian Study participated in this research. The APOE, positive and negative affect, the number of recent (last 2 years) and lifelong (more than 20 years prior to testing) events, as well as a number of life engagement tasks were assessed. Results: Results suggested that centenarians carrying the APOE ?4 allele rated lower in positive affect, the number of lifelong events, and in engaged lifestyle, when compared to centenarians without the APOE ?4 allele (t = 3.43, p < .01; t = 3.19, p < .01; and t = 2.33, p < .05, respectively). Blockwise multiple regressions indicated that the APOE ?4 predicted positive but not negative affect after controlling for demographics. Gene-environment interactions were obtained for the APOE ?4 and lifelong events, suggesting that carriers of the APOE ?4 allele had higher scores of negative affect after having experienced more events, whereas noncarriers had reduced negative affect levels after having experienced more events. Conclusion: APOE ?4 is directly related to positive affect and is related to negative affect in interaction with life events.
Centenarians represent a rare but rapidly growing segment of the oldest-old. This study presents item-level data from the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in a cross-sectional, population-based sample of 244 centenarians and near-centenarians (aged 98-108, 16% men, 21% African-American, 38% community dwelling) from the Georgia Centenarian Study (2001-2008) according to age, education, sex, race, and residential status. Multiple-Indicator Multiple-Cause (MIMIC) models were used to identify systematic domain-level differences in MMSE scores according to demographic characteristics in this age group. Indirect effects of age, educational attainment, race, and residential status were found on MMSE scores. Direct effects were limited to concentration for education and race and orientation for residential status. Mean levels of cognitive functioning in centenarians were low, with mean values below most commonly-used cutoffs. Overall scores on the MMSE differed as a function of age, education, race, and residential status, with differences in scale performance limited primarily to concentration and orientation and no evidence of interactions between centenarian characteristics. Adjusting for education was not sufficient to account for differences according to race, and adjusting for residential status was not sufficient to account for differences according to age.
BACKGROUND/STUDY CONTEXT: The goal of the study was to identify and characterize latent profiles (clusters) of cognitive functioning in centenarians and the psychometric properties of cognitive measures within them.
We previously presented normative data from a relatively large, population-based sample (n = 244) of centenarians and a reference group of octogenarians (n = 80) for several brief, global neurocognitive tasks adapted for use for older adults with physical and sensory limitations ( Miller et al., 2010 , Neuropsychological, Development, and Cognition. Section B: Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, 17, 575). Here, we present additional normative data on several domain-specific tasks from these samples from Phase III of the Georgia Centenarian Study, including measures of verbal abstract reasoning, fluency, memory, and motor function. Expected age differences were demonstrated across all cognitive measures, and, consistent with our previous findings, centenarians showed a stronger association between age and performance. Normative tables are presented unweighted as well as population-weighted, and stratified by age and education level. These findings offer a unique contribution to the literature on cognitive aging, as normative performance in this age group is understudied and largely unavailable to clinicians and researchers.
Oxidative stress is involved in age-related cognitive decline. The dietary antioxidants, carotenoids, tocopherols, and vitamin A may play a role in the prevention or delay in cognitive decline. In this study, sera were obtained from 78 octogenarians and 220 centenarians from the Georgia Centenarian Study. Brain tissues were obtained from 47 centenarian decedents. Samples were analyzed for carotenoids, ?-tocopherol, and retinol using HPLC. Analyte concentrations were compared with cognitive tests designed to evaluate global cognition, dementia, depression and cognitive domains (memory, processing speed, attention, and executive functioning). Serum lutein, zeaxanthin, and ?-carotene concentrations were most consistently related to better cognition (P < 0.05) in the whole population and in the centenarians. Only serum lutein was significantly related to better cognition in the octogenarians. In brain, lutein and ?-carotene were related to cognition with lutein being consistently associated with a range of measures. There were fewer significant relationships for ?-tocopherol and a negative relationship between brain retinol concentrations and delayed recognition. These findings suggest that the status of certain carotenoids in the old may reflect their cognitive function. The protective effect may not be related to an antioxidant effect given that ?-tocopherol was less related to cognition than these carotenoids.
Anemia has been associated with increased physical and financial costs and occurs more frequently in older individuals. Therefore, the primary objectives of this study were to examine the prevalence and possible predictors of anemia in the very old.
Leukocyte telomere length is widely considered a biomarker of human age and in many studies indicative of health or disease. We have obtained quantitative estimates of telomere length from blood leukocytes in a population sample, confirming results of previous studies that telomere length significantly decreases with age. Telomere length was also positively associated with several measures of healthy aging, but this relationship was dependent on age. We screened two genes known to be involved in telomere maintenance for association with the age-related decline in telomere length observed in our population to identify candidate longevity-associated genes. A single-nucleotide polymorphism located in the SIRT1 gene and another in the 3 flanking region of XRCC6 had significant effects on telomere length. At each bi-allelic locus, the minor variant was associated with longer telomeres, though the mode of inheritance fitting best differed between the two genes. No statistical interaction was detected for telomere length between the SIRT1 and XRCC6 variants or between these polymorphisms and age. The SIRT1 locus was significantly associated with longevity (P < 0.003). The frequency of the minor allele was higher in long-lived cases than in young controls, which coincides with the protective role of the minor variant for telomere length. In contrast, the XRCC6 variant was not associated with longevity. Furthermore, it did not affect the association of SIRT1 with exceptional survival. The association of the same variant of SIRT1 with longevity was near significant (P < 0.07) in a second population. These results suggest a potential role of SIRT1 in linking telomere length and longevity. Given the differences between this gene and XRCC6, they point to the distinct impact that alternate pathways of telomere maintenance may have on aging and exceptional survival.
THIS STUDY EXAMINED CHANGE OVER TIME IN FIVE RESOURCES ASSESSED BY THE DUKE OARS MULTIDISCIPLINARY FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT QUESTIONNAIRE: social, economic, mental, physical, and functional resources. Two hundred and one participants in the Georgia Centenarian Study provided data for this longitudinal study: 70 sexagenarians, 63 octogenarians, and 68 centenarians. Those in their 60s and 80s were followed up within 60 months; due to mortality attrition, centenarians were followed up within 20 months. Centenarians experienced the lowest levels of resources relative to those in their 80s and 60s. Over time they primarily experienced loss in activities of daily living, highlighting that the ability to maximize gains and mitigate losses over time for older adults is highly associated with various resources essential to well-being. Findings suggest that older adults-especially the very old-resources should be concurrently assessed in a multidimensional analysis by researchers and practitioners who work with older adults in various settings.
Hippocampal sclerosis is a relatively common neuropathological finding (?10% of individuals over the age of 85 years) characterized by cell loss and gliosis in the hippocampus that is not explained by Alzheimers disease. Hippocampal sclerosis pathology can be associated with different underlying causes, and we refer to hippocampal sclerosis in the aged brain as hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing. Much remains unknown about hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing. We combined three different large autopsy cohorts: University of Kentucky Alzheimers Disease Centre, the Nun Study and the Georgia Centenarian Study to obtain a pool of 1110 patients, all of whom were evaluated neuropathologically at the University of Kentucky. We focused on the subset of cases with neuropathology-confirmed hippocampal sclerosis (n=106). For individuals aged?95 years at death (n=179 in our sample), each year of life beyond the age of 95 years correlated with increased prevalence of hippocampal sclerosis pathology and decreased prevalence of definite Alzheimers disease pathology. Aberrant TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry was seen in 89.9% of hippocampal sclerosis positive patients compared with 9.7% of hippocampal sclerosis negative patients. TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry can be used to demonstrate that the disease is usually bilateral even when hippocampal sclerosis pathology is not obvious by haematoxylin and eosin stains. TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry was negative on brain sections from younger individuals (n=10) after hippocampectomy due to seizures, who had pathologically confirmed hippocampal sclerosis. There was no association between cases with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing and apolipoprotein E genotype. Age of death and clinical features of hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing (with or without aberrant TAR DNA protein 43) were distinct from previously published cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration TAR DNA protein 43. To help sharpen our ability to discriminate patients with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing clinically, the longitudinal cognitive profile of 43 patients with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing was compared with the profiles of 75 controls matched for age, gender, education level and apolipoprotein E genotype. These individuals were followed from intake assessment, with 8.2 (average) longitudinal cognitive assessments. A neuropsychological profile with relatively high-verbal fluency but low word list recall distinguished the hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing group at intake (P<0.015) and also 5.5-6.5 years before death (P<0.005). This may provide a first step in clinical differentiation of hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing versus pure Alzheimers disease in their earliest stages. In summary, in the largest series of autopsy-verified patients with hippocampal sclerosis to date, we characterized the clinical and pathological features associated with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing.
Affect and loneliness are important indicators of mental health and well-being in older adulthood and are linked to significant outcomes including physical health and mortality. Given a large focus on young-old adults within gerontological research, the primary aim of this study was to examine the ability of individual and social resources in predicting affect and loneliness within a sample of oldest-old individuals including centenarians, an understudied population.
Associations between body mass index (BMI) and dietary patterns and health conditions were explored in a population-based multiethnic sample of centenarians from northern Georgia. BMI ?20 and ?25 was prevalent in 30.9% and 25.3% of study participants, respectively. In a series of logistic regression analyses controlled for gender and place of residence, the probability of having BMI ?25 was increased by being black versus white and having a low citrus fruit, noncitrus fruit, orange/yellow vegetable or total fruit and vegetable intake. The probability of having BMI ?20 was not associated with dietary intake. When controlled for race, gender, residence, and total fruit and vegetable intake, BMI ?25 was an independent risk factor for diabetes or having a systolic blood pressure ?140?mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ?90?mmHg, whereas BMI ?20 was a risk factor for anemia. Given the many potential adverse consequences of under- and overweight, efforts are needed to maintain a healthy weight, even in the oldest old.
The aim of this investigation was to determine how cognitive performance was associated with positive and negative affect and life satisfaction over time. This study involved a secondary longitudinal analysis of cross-section data collected at Phase I (1988-1992) and during an 18-month longitudinal followup at Phase II (1992-1998) of the Georgia Centenarian Study. Participants included N = 137 centenarians at Time 1 and N = 68 survivors at Time 2. Significant stability in cognitive impairment existed at Time 1 and Time 2 for positive (? = .55, P < .01) and negative affect (? = .54, P < .01) models. Negative affect at Time 1 was associated with lower life satisfaction at Time 1 (? = -.42, P < .01 ). In addition, cognitive impairment at Time 2 was associated with decreased positive emotionality at Time 2 (? = -.39, P > .01). Furthermore, greater positive affect at Time 2 was associated with greater satisfaction with life at Time 2 (? = .35, P < .01). It appears that positive emotionality contemporaneously influences the association between cognitive impairment and life satisfaction among centenarians. Implications relative to improving life satisfaction among centenarians are discussed.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between physical health and psychological well-being among oldest-old adults. Structural equation modeling was performed to examine health influences on psychological well-being among 306 octogenarians and centenarians from the Georgia Centenarian Study. Latent variables were created to reflect subjective health, as measured by self-ratings of health and objective health, as measured by physical health impairment (i.e., health problems, past and present diseases, hospitalization) and biomarkers (i.e., hemoglobin and albumin). Psychological well-being was measured by positive and negative affect. There were significant direct effects of subjective health on affect and significant indirect effects of objective health through subjective health on positive affect and negative affect. Subjective health took the role of a mediator between objective health and psychological well-being. These results highlight the status and perceptions of health as a critical indicator for well-being in extreme old age.
We investigated the influence of social relations on health outcomes in very late life by examining the support-efficacy convoy model among older adults who resided in three different residential environments (centenarians in private homes, n = 126; centenarians in assisted living facilities, n = 55; centenarians in nursing homes, n = 105). For each group, path analytic models were employed to test our hypotheses; analyses controlled for sex, mental status, education, perceived economic sufficiency, and activities of daily living. The hypothesized relationships among the models variables were unique to each of the three groups; three different models fit the data depending upon residential environment. The direct and indirect effects of social relations assessments were positive for the mental and physical health of very old adults, suggesting that participants welcomed the support. However, residential status moderated the associations between the assessments of social relations, self-efficacy, and both outcomes, physical and mental health.
There is lack of consensus on the best method of functional assessment, and there is a paucity of studies on daily functioning in centenarians. We sought to compare associations between performance-based, self-report, and proxy report of functional status in centenarians. We expected the strongest relationships between proxy reports and observed performance of basic activities of daily living (BADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). We hypothesized that the discrepancy between self-report and observed daily functioning would be modified by cognitive status. We additionally sought to provide clinicians with estimates of centenarians observed daily functioning based on their mental status in combination with subjective measures of activities of daily living (ADLs).
This study provides, for the first time, normative data on cognitive functioning and physical performance, health and health behaviors, and diseases from a population-based sample of 244 centenarians and near-centenarians (M age = 100.5 years, range 98-108, 84.8% women, 21.3% African American) from the Georgia Centenarian Study. Data are presented by the four key dimensions of gender, race, residence, and educational attainment. Results illustrate the profound range of functioning in this age group and indicate considerable differences as a function of each dimension. Bivariate models generally suggest that cognitive functioning and physical performance is higher for men than women; whites than African Americans; community than facility residents; and those with more than high school education than those with less than high school education. Multivariate models elaborate that differences in educational attainment generally account for the largest proportion of variance in cognitive functioning and residential status generally accounts for the largest proportion of variance in physical performance measures. Addition of health variables seldom increases variance accounted for in each domain beyond these four dimensions.
The search for longevity-determining genes in human has largely neglected the operation of genetic interactions. We have identified a novel combination of common variants of three genes that has a marked association with human lifespan and healthy aging. Subjects were recruited and stratified according to their genetically inferred ethnic affiliation to account for population structure. Haplotype analysis was performed in three candidate genes, and the haplotype combinations were tested for association with exceptional longevity. An HRAS1 haplotype enhanced the effect of an APOE haplotype on exceptional survival, and a LASS1 haplotype further augmented its magnitude. These results were replicated in a second population. A profile of healthy aging was developed using a deficit accumulation index, which showed that this combination of gene variants is associated with healthy aging. The variation in LASS1 is functional, causing enhanced expression of the gene, and it contributes to healthy aging and greater survival in the tenth decade of life. Thus, rare gene variants need not be invoked to explain complex traits such as aging; instead rare congruence of common gene variants readily fulfills this role. The interaction between the three genes described here suggests new models for cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying exceptional survival and healthy aging that involve lipotoxicity.
We present normative data from a large population-based sample of centenarians for several brief, global neurocognitive tasks amenable for frail elders. Comparative data from octogenarians are included. A total of 244 centenarians and 80 octogenarians from Phase III of the Georgia Centenarian Study were administered the Mini-Mental Status Examination, Severe Impairment Battery, and Behavioral Dyscontrol Scale. Centenarians (age 98-107) were stratified into three age cohorts (98-99, 100-101, 102-107), octogenarians into two 5- year cohorts (80-84, 85-89). Highly significant differences were observed between groups on all measures, with greater variation and dispersion in performance among centenarians, as well as stronger associations between age and performance. Descriptive statistics and normative ranges (unweighted and population-weighted) are provided by age cohort. Additional statistics are provided by education level. While most previous centenarian studies have used convenience samples, ours is population-based and likely more valid for comparison in applied settings. Results suggest centenarians look different than do even the oldest age range of most normative aging datasets (e.g., 85-90). Results support using global measures of neurocognition to describe cognitive status in the oldest old, and we provide normative comparisons to do so.
Centenarians display a broad variation in physical abilities, from independence to bed-bound immobility. This range of abilities makes it difficult to evaluate functioning using a single instrument. Using data from a population-based sample of 244 centenarians (M(Age) = 100.57 years, 84.8% women, 62.7% institutionalized, and 21.3% African American) and 80 octogenarians (M(Age) = 84.32 years, 66.3% women, 16.3% institutionalized, and 17.5% African American) we (1) provide norms on the Short Physical Performance Battery and (2) extend the range of this scale using performance on additional tasks and item response theory (IRT) models, reporting information on concurrent and predictive validity of this approach. Using the original SPPB scoring criteria, 73.0% of centenarian men and 86.0% of centenarian women are identified as severely impaired by the scales original classification scheme. Results suggest that conventional norms for older adults need substantial revision for centenarian populations and that item response theory methods can be helpful to address floor and ceiling effects found with any single measure.
While it is understood that longevity and health are influenced by complex interactions among biological, psychological, and sociological factors, there is a general lack of understanding on how psychosocial factors impact longevity, health, and quality of life among the oldest old. One of the reasons for this paradox is that the amount of funded research on aging in the US is significantly larger in the biomedical compared to psychosocial domains. The goals of this paper are to highlight recent data to demonstrate the impact of four pertinent psychosocial domains on health and quality of life of the oldest old and supplement recommendations of the 2001 NIA Panel on Longevity for future research. The four domains highlighted in this paper are (1) demographics, life events, and personal history, (2) personality, (3) cognition, and (4) socioeconomic resources and support systems.
As exceptional survivors, centenarians may have characteristics that reduce their dependency on family and community support systems despite the expectation that their extreme age creates a burden on those systems. The Georgia Centenarian Study obtained information about assistance for income, medical care, and caregiving of all types for a sample of centenarians and octogenarians. Previous studies have not established which characteristics may contribute to economic dependency among the oldest old.
An estimated 20% of adults over the age of 55 experience clinical mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. For older adults, mental health concerns are often undetected, concomitant with physical challenges, and ultimately go untreated. These realities have significant implications for older adults day-to-day functioning, particularly among the oldest old.
The purpose of this study was to analyze various family history variables (i.e. childhood health, financial situation while growing up, living with grandparents before age 17, and number of children) among participants of the Georgia Centenarian Study.
Used a population-based sample (Georgia Centenarian Study, GCS), to determine proportions of centenarians reaching 100 years as (1) survivors (43%) of chronic diseases first experienced between 0-80 years of age, (2) delayers (36%) with chronic diseases first experienced between 80-98 years of age, or (3) escapers (17%) with chronic diseases only at 98 years of age or older. Diseases fall into two morbidity profiles of 11 chronic diseases; one including cardiovascular disease, cancer, anemia, and osteoporosis, and another including dementia. Centenarians at risk for cancer in their lifetime tended to be escapers (73%), while those at risk for cardiovascular disease tended to be survivors (24%), delayers (39%), or escapers (32%). Approximately half (43%) of the centenarians did not experience dementia. Psychiatric disorders were positively associated with dementia, but prevalence of depression, anxiety, and psychoses did not differ significantly between centenarians and an octogenarian control group. However, centenarians were higher on the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) than octogenarians. Consistent with our model of developmental adaptation in aging, distal life events contribute to predicting survivorship outcome in which health status as survivor, delayer, or escaper appears as adaptation variables late in life.
The goals of this study were to uncover the criteria by which centenarians, proxy/caregivers, and interviewers rated centenarians mental health. Often proxy and interviewer reports are obtained in studies of the oldest-old and become a primary source of information.
This study assessed engaged lifestyle activities (e.g., volunteering, traveling, and public speaking) for centenarians of the Georgia Centenarian Study. A total of 285 centenarians and near-centenarians (i.e., 98 years and older) and their proxy informants participated in this study. The Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) was assessed for all centenarians, and proxy informants reported on lifestyle activities and personality traits of the centenarians. Results suggested that participants who had volunteered, traveled, and those who had given public talks and balanced their checkbooks were more likely to show relatively high mental status scores (i.e., MMSE > 17). Personality traits were found to be moderators in the relationship between engaged lifestyle and mental status: Participants with high levels of Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Openness, and Conscientiousness and with high levels of engaged lifestyle were more likely to show relatively high mental status scores (i.e., MMSE > 17), whereas participants with low levels of Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness and with low levels of engaged lifestyle were more likely to show relatively low mental status scores (i.e., MMSE < 18). The results suggest that engaged lifestyle, particularly in combination with personality traits, plays an important role in the level of cognitive functioning among oldest old adults.
This study examined the mediating and moderating role of social resources on the association between age and change in functional health for three age groups of older adults. Data were provided by those in their 60s, 80s, and 100s who participated in the first two phases of the Georgia Centenarian study. Analyses confirmed the studys hypothesis that social resources moderated the relationship between age group and change in functional health; in particular, centenarians who experienced the greatest decline in IADLs scored the highest on social resources at time 1. No evidence was found for mediation by social resources or a directional influence by either level of social resources or functional health on change in the other resource. Evidence from this study challenges researchers and service providers to consider the heterogeneity in resources among older adults.
Objectives. Using data from the first two phases of the Georgia Centenarian Study, we proposed a latent factor structure for the Duke OARS domains: Economic Resources, Mental Health, Activities of Daily Living, Physical Health, and Social Resources. Methods. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted on two waves of the Georgia Centenarian Study to test a latent variable measurement model of the five resources; nested model testing was employed to assess the final measurement model for equivalency of factor structure over time. Results. The specified measurement model fit the data well at Time 1. However, at Time 2, Social Resources only had one indicator load significantly and substantively. Supplemental analyses demonstrated that a model without Social Resources adequately fit the data. Factorial invariance over time was confirmed for the remaining four latent variables. Discussion. This studys findings allow researchers and clinicians to reduce the number of OARS questions asked of participants. This has practical implications because increased difficulties with hearing, vision, and fatigue in older adults may require extended time or multiple interviewer sessions to complete the battery of OARS questions.
This study examined whether oldest-old adults are successful agers. Three hundred and six octogenarians and centenarians of Phase III of the Georgia Centenarian Study participated in this study. A first model examined Rowe and Kahns successful aging model (Rowe and Khan (1997 and 1998)) including the probability of disease, physical or cognitive capacity, and engagement with life. All three components were applied to assess how many oldest-old adults satisfied all three criteria. The result showed about 15% of octogenarians (15.1%), and none of centenarians satisfied all three components of successful aging. Consequently, a second alternative model focused on psychosocial aspects including three different components: subjective health, perceived economic status, and happiness. Different from Rowe and Kahns successful aging model, a total of 62.3% of octogenarians and 47.5% of centenarians satisfied all three components of the alternative model of successful aging. The results suggest that additional criteria of successful aging should be considered thereby expanding the concepts and multidimensional aspects of successful aging among oldest-old adults.
The goals of this article are to (a) establish the concurrent and clinical validity of the Global Deterioration scale in assessing cognitive functions and stages of dementia among centenarians, (b) identify the prevalence of all-cause dementia in representative samples of centenarians, and (c) demonstrate how variations in sample demographic characteristics could significantly affect estimates of dementia prevalence. A quarter of the 244 centenarians in a population-based sample had no objective evidence of memory deficits. Another quarter showed signs of transient confusion, and about half showed classical behavioral signs of dementia with about 15% in each of Global Deterioration scale stages 4-6 and about 5% in the most severe stage 7. Variations in age, gender, race, residence status, and education of the study sample as well as criteria used for dementia rating were found to affect prevalence.
Regarding the purpose of this study, the researchers analyzed the roles that both life events (life-time positive events and life-time negative events) and personality (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Trust, Competence, and Ideas) played in participants of the Georgia Centenarian Study. The researchers analyzed these variables to determine whether they predicted loneliness. Analyses indicated that life-time negative events significantly predicted loneliness. In essence, the higher was the number of life-time negative life events, the higher was the loneliness score. Moreover, Neuroticism, Competence, and Ideas were all significant predictors of loneliness. The higher was the level of Neuroticism and intellectual curiosity, the higher was the level of loneliness, whereas the lower was the level of Competence, the higher was the level of loneliness. In addition, both life-time positive and life-time negative life events were significant predictors of Neuroticism. The higher was the number of life-time positive events, the lower was the level of Neuroticism, and the higher was the number of life-time negative events, the greater was the level of Neuroticism. These results indicated that life-time negative events indirectly affect loneliness via Neuroticism. Last, our results indicated that the Competence facet mediated the relationship between lifetime negative life events and loneliness. Life-time negative life events significantly affected centenarians perceived competence, and Competence in turn significantly affected the centenarians loneliness. These results as a whole not only add to our understanding of the link between personality and loneliness, but also provide new insight into how life events predict loneliness.
To describe the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in centenarians.
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