Senior Wellness: The Balanced Care Method: Lessons Learned from the Okinawan Centenarian Study

The Balanced Care Method™ takes scientific data and specific lifestyle findings and uses them as the basis and inspiration for its training methods and home care philosophy—the majority of its principles are based on the Okinawa Centenarian Study, a major examination of centenarians from Okinawa, Japan.

The Okinawa Centenarian Study found more than 900 verifiable centenarians. Not only do Okinawans experience impressively long life spans, but their seniors have admirably good health and enjoy independence into their seventies, eighties and nineties.

Okinawa is an island archipelago region of Japan in the East China Sea where the average life expectancy is just over 82 years (almost 78 for men and 86 for women). This is over a year longer than in the rest of Japan and almost 4.5 years longer than the average U.S. lifespan. Okinawans are three to seven times more likely to live to 100 than Americans. As impressive Okinawan longevity is, however, what is of equal—if not more—interest is the quality of health most seniors of Okinawa enjoy. Heart disease, cancer, dementia, diabetes and other conditions considered par for the course in older people in North America are rare in Okinawan seniors.

Looking at the Reasons for Longevity & Good Health

The Okinawa Centenarian Study and other studies have found that such genetic factors only account for about a third of the Okinawan seniors' extraordinary health and long life spans. Two-thirds of this enviable good health appears to be the result of diet, exercise, low stress levels, familial and community ties, social practices, and spiritual beliefs. Each of these elements, just like the disorders and diseases they help prevent, feed on one another in a symbiotic relationship

Kathy N. Johnson

Kathy N. See full bio