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Tips from Spain’s centenarians on how to live to 100

By Andrea Comas

CANGAS DE ONIS, Spain (Reuters) – With greater than 100,000 individuals aged 100 or over, Spain is the nation with the best life expectancy after Japan, OECD knowledge and the newest inhabitants census exhibits.

Over a yr, Reuters photographer Andrea Comas interviewed and photographed Spaniards aged 100 or extra throughout the nation from the green-hilled northern area of Asturias to the Balearic island of Menorca.

Average life expectancy at start in Spain is 83.2, in accordance to the newest OECD statistics made obtainable in 2013, only a shade under the 83.four years on common a Japanese new child can anticipate to live.

Most of the lads and women Comas interviewed confirmed a zest for all times and an curiosity in pastimes from novice dramatics to enjoying the piano. Many additionally continued to perform day by day duties from farm work to caring for a disabled baby.

Pedro Rodriguez, 106, performs the piano each day in the lounge of his flat in Asturias, northern Spain, the place he lives together with his spouse who is almost 20 years youthful than him. Their daughters go to them typically.

“The nuns taught me how to play the piano as a child,” he stated after giving a rendition of a Spanish waltz.

The majority of those aged individuals have been surrounded by household or had family members calling in on them every day displaying how Spain continues to be a closely-knit society, the place household ties are paramount.


Francisco Nunez, 112, is the oldest individual Comas interviewed. He lives together with his octogenarian daughter in his home in Badajoz, south-western Spain. He says he does not just like the pensioners’ daycare middle as a result of it is filled with previous individuals.

“He hasn’t had to leave his home. I’m single and I live here with him,” says daughter Maria Antonia Nunez, 81, as she adjusts his beret. 

When questioned about their most vivid reminiscences, many recall Spain’s 1936 to 1939 civil struggle which set neighbor towards neighbor and resulted in a whole lot of hundreds of deaths adopted by the 36-year dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

Pilar Fernandez, 101, suffered starvation and hardship in the course of the struggle years alongside her 9 brothers and sisters. To keep away from historical past repeating itself, she restricted herself to one youngster.

“From pure fear, I didn’t have any more,” says the sprightly lady who lives together with her daughter’s household in Asturias and tends livestock and a vegetable backyard. 

Tips for lengthy life ranged from a spoonful of honey a day to common consumption of gazpacho, a standard chilly Spanish soup made from tomatoes and cucumbers.

Gumersindo Cubo, 101, from Avila, places his longevity down to a childhood spent in a home within the woods together with his eight brothers and sisters, the place his father was a park ranger.

“It’s from inhaling the pine resin from the woods where I lived as a child,” he says, telling of how his mom would put a jar of the resin beneath the mattress of the sick.

(Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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