Why Is Singapore the New Blue Zone? People Live to Be 100+?
Lately, the author of the famous study on the Blue Zones, Dan Buettner, has added a 6th region of the world to his work on the people who live to be 100 years old.
At 30x the rate of the U.S., where supposedly we’re so advanced.
It is SINGAPORE.
While I don’t live there and I’m not an expert on the culture, I have been there and have spent some time studying what is special about this culture.
I figured if I went out into mainstream media, looking for why it’s one of the highest-longevity areas of the world, they’d serve me up a bunch of propaganda about how it’s because they don’t have guns, or that it’s because of government policies.
I figured they’d completely ignore a very important part of Singapore’s culture, and they did. The fact is, in Singapore most people have only one child, and it is absolutely important in that culture to take really good care of your parents and grandparents.
It’s shameful to not be a good son or daughter in Singapore.
You can go read how it’s because they tax alcohol and subsidize whole grains, if you want to, and I’m sure that the “sin taxes” help in discouraging excessive alcohol use.
And in Singapore it’s really important to note that they eat a lot of leafy greens, as well as fish and tofu and other whole foods, and that contributes.
But, how we treat our elders in the U.S. is absolutely shameful. It’s in vogue among Millennials to cancel their parents if they disappoint them in any way. Cancel culture isn’t just online; it’s an epidemic in families.
I don’t know very many parents in their 50’s and 60’s who DON’T have a child who has canceled them. Some have more than one child who is choosing to live life in exile from their parents–and even denying grandparents access to their grandchildren.
I bet your parents made mistakes. Some of them made really big mistakes. But I don’t think in Singapore they live a long time because the parents were perfect.
Imagine how much longer American Boomers would live if we didn’t stick them in a senior care facility, with processed and overcooked food, and rarely visit them, and didn’t give them important roles in our culture and our families.
Neglect will kill you faster than junk food will.
Anyway, MindBodyGreen says it’s the government policies governing healthcare for the seniors.
But the culture of honoring, respecting, and always caring for seniors likely led to the government policies in the first place.
I know not everybody got perfect parents–actually, almost nobody did–and I know that looking at our phones for hours might seem more interesting than spending time with grandparents.
But forgiveness is good for the child, a child of any age, and you can’t be fully healthy with anger in your heart.
And it might just make our grandparents happy and help them live out their full potential, if we just treat them with more love and sit and talk with them.
In Singapore, usually the aging relative lives with and is cared for by someone related to them.
And I think this might just be key in why Singaporeans have joined the Nicoyan Peninsula, the Loma Linda California Seventh Day Adventists, the people of Okinawa, and the Mediterranean cultures, in being one of the longest-living people on Earth.
We have such poor care for our aging population that they’re now deploying AI robots to talk to seniors in residential treatment facilities, because real human beings aren’t doing it.
I don’t know who I’m writing this for, but I hope someone finds it in their heart to forgive a parent or grandparent, or reach out to a child or grandchild today.
Or maybe even make a big change in how your family over the age of 80 lives that is OUR responsibility.
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
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