My grandmother lived to 95. The secrets to her longevity were daily exercise, moisturizing, and a healthy diet – Business Insider India

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  • Three of my grandparents lived past the age of 90.
  • My paternal grandmother, Mimi, lived the longest, to the age of 95.

Though I was lucky to know three of my grandparents well into their 90s, my paternal grandmother, Mimi — who passed at the age of 95 years young, as she liked to call it — lived the longest. She made living to an old age seem like a given. In reality, her intentional lifestyle choices played a huge part in keeping her healthy and moving for 95 years.

As long as I knew her, Mimi made a point of eating healthy, simple food. Though she was a trained dietician, she stayed away from following fad diets in favor of eating healthily and did her best to limit preservatives and toxins. She would remind us to do things like avoid the nitrates found in processed meats, steam veggies when possible in favor of frying them, and limit tuna intake to a few times a week due to the mercury content.

Moderation was key for both Mimi and Grandma, my maternal grandmother who lived to 93. Grandma always enjoyed bread, cheese, and nuts daily, but in small amounts. Both indulged in desserts occasionally and kept something sweet around to offer us. Snacking consisted of fresh fruits and vegetables, or walnuts and whole grain cereal for something crunchy. Due to gastrointestinal acid reflux, Mimi limited acids in foods like tomatoes and chocolate. Neither Mimi nor Grandma cared much for alcohol and rarely drank (if ever), which helped keep their minds sharp.

Sophie Katzman’s paternal grandmother, Grandma, in her 80s.Courtesy Sophie Katzman

She moisturized every day and stayed out of the sun

In Mimi’s community in Florida, it wasn’t uncommon for someone to stop her and ask for the name of her plastic surgeon. However, she never had elective surgery. Her youthful, taut, and wrinkle-free glow was a result of her healthy lifestyle, as well as a religious home skincare routine (her genetics probably played a role, as well). Mimi frequently massaged Bio-Oil into her face with a simple hand massage. She also swore by carrot seed oil for her face and moisturized her skin from head to toe daily.

And though she lived in a warm climate and had a pool for decades, she didn’t spend much time sitting in the sun. Whenever she was outside, she was covered up with a hat and wore ample sunscreen. She also tended to her physical appearance in other ways. As the daughter of a clothesmaker, she believed in quality over quantity when it came to her wardrobe and maintained a closet full of well-made items.


My grandmother lived to 95. The secrets to her longevity were daily exercise, moisturizing, and a healthy diet.
Three of Sophie Katzman’s grandparents lived to their 90s. This is her grandfather, Papa, and her grandmother, Mimi, when they were younger.Courtesy Sophie Katzman

She got exercise every day

For all of my grandparents, movement was integrated into their everyday lives to build strength and endurance. Mimi was an early proponent of at-home workouts that fit her lifestyle as a stay-at-home mother from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Long before spin classes were popular, she used the exercycle and followed Jack LaLanne’s fitness classes on TV to stay fit at home. Even as she got older, she never stopped moving. Whether practicing aerobics or chair yoga, she was diligent about incorporating movement into her routine. And all of my grandparents always took a walk at least once a day.

All of my grandparents loved to travel and stayed sharp by learning new things constantly

Lifelong learning was a tenet of both sets of my grandparents’ lifestyles. For years, they traveled all over the world, seeing and learning about different cultures. These memories sustained them, even when they stopped being able to travel far away.

Mimi kept a travel journal, which she has since passed to me. In her entries and stories, she recounted train trips through Japan and tours of Israel with the lavish clothes she wore and the food she ate.

Grandma remembered her travels through the trinkets and knick-knacks she’d collected around her home. Plus, her apartment was covered in shelves of books from Shakespeare to encyclopedias, as well as magazines that she enjoyed cutting out to share with us.


All my grandparents kept abreast of the news by reading the newspaper daily. Beyond reading, they took classes to further their education well into their 80s and 90s. Whether they were learning a new language or taking a class about history or art, they were consistently taking in new information, which helped stimulate their brain and keep them feeling young.

My grandmother lived to 95. The secrets to her longevity were daily exercise, moisturizing, and a healthy diet.
Sophie Katzman’s paternal grandparents, Mimi and Papa, both took daily walks.Courtesy Sophie Katzman

Staying connected kept Mimi and my other grandparents young

Above all, they stayed connected to friends and family. Whether through phone calls, visits, or letters, they didn’t lose touch. When my grandparents eventually moved to assisted living and elderly care facilities in their older age, they never stopped making new friends.

From sharing a meal with a group in the dining room to enjoying a painting class, they made a point to maintain a community around them. This helped them find joy each and every day.

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