For the residents at the Oaks at Northpointe in Zanesville, Ohio, 2019 was a summer to remember. On June 7, the staff set up a senior’s slip and slide for the residents, and the iconic outing went viral on social media.
“All the residents loved it!” says Jackie Altier, 35, the executive director of Oaks at Northpointe. “…The slip-and-slide event brought back their childhood. They said it reminded them of the good times that they used to have with their families and their kids, and when they were kids. They had a blast.”Jackie Altier – People Magazine
An Incredibly Fun Senior’s Slip and Slide
The video depicts 94-year-old Millie enjoying Senior Health and Wellness Day, going down the water slide with the assistance of several staff members. According Good Morning America Altier said that 30 of the residents joined the event. While many of the facility’s 98 residents chose not to join, Millie was the oldest participant.
“She went down the slide three times! She loved it,” Altier said. “I have three different videos of Millie on the slide and as she’s coming down she’s yelling, ‘I love it! I love this!’ …The only thing she’d change is she wanted to go down the whole hill, but we could only go down half of it.”
In fact, the entire event was Millie’s idea—sort of. In February, the residents enjoyed a sledding event. Inspired, Millie described another activity, which the staff understood as a slip and slide. However, the adventurous woman was actually thinking of parasailing. Nevertheless, the senior staff brought her slip and slide vision into reality.
“We immediately started talking about how we could do this safely,” Altier said. “We went with a duck because of the head, that would provide support for the people who wouldn’t be stable in a seated position without that support.”
The video now has over eight million views. People praised the hard-working staff for truly caring and creating fun events for the ‘young at heart’. Many added how Millie’s happy smile is absolutely priceless.
“I said, ‘Oh my gosh! Millie’s famous!’ ” Altier said. “One day when we were coming down the hall, [Millie] stopped me and she goes, ‘I don’t know if you know this, but I’m famous. So I’m gonna start charging for my signature.’”
Live Young to Live Longer
There’s good news for Millie, who showed such youthful joy and exuberance on the senior’s slip and slide. A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who are young at heart may actually live longer. In fact, researchers found that people who felt three or more years younger than their actual age had a lower death rate as opposed to people who felt their age or older than their age.
The researchers at University College London analyzed about 6,500 answers from men and women when asked how old they felt they were. The average chronological age of responders was 65. Then, eight years later, the researchers analyzed which ones were still alive from three categories, those who felt their actual age, those who felt older, and those who felt younger. As it turns out, 82% of those who felt their actual age were still alive, compared to 75% of those who felt older, and 86% of those who felt younger.
How to Feel Younger
Why is this? The researchers theorize that these different mindsets affect one’s choices and habits. Additionally, this state of mind could protect the body from the negative effects of stress.
“Feeling younger or older itself seems to have an effect on our health,” said Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, assistant professor of psychology, part-time, at Harvard Medical School. “When people see themselves as old, they’re more likely to abandon physical challenges which feel difficult, such as, ‘I don’t think I should ski anymore, I’m an old man.’ When people feel younger psychologically, even if physical exercise is challenging, they’re more likely to pursue it, believing no pain no gain.” This similar attitude could affect one’s habits in diet and health.Dr. Ronald D. Siegel – Harvard Health Publishing
Fortunately, Dr. Siegel gave some pointer to Harvard Health Publishing on how to get a younger state of mind.
- Try new things, develop new skills, and learn about new ideas
- Practise mindfulness, through meditation or just by appreciating the current moment.
- Find a sense of meaning in life, for example, through friends or hobbies.
“When our focus is just on our own immediate pleasure or pain, we’re much more likely to have difficulty with the aging process,” said Dr. Siegel.
- “’I Love This!’ Ohio Nursing Home Residents Slip Down Water Slide in Sweet Viral Video.” Parents. Char Adams. June 28, 2019
- “Senior citizens slip and slide into the summer in viral video.” Good Morning America. June 27, 2019
- Feeling Old vs Being Old: Associations Between Self-perceived Age and Mortality.” JAMA Network. Isla Rippon, MSc; Andrew Steptoe, DSc. “ February 2015
- “Feeling young at heart may help you live longer.” Harvard Health Letter. Heidi Godman. December 17, 2014