Background: Hong Kong has one of the highest life expectancy rankings in the world. The number of centenarians and near-centenarians has been increasing locally and internationally. The relative growth of this population is a topic of immense importance for population and health policy makers. Living long and living well are two overlapping but distinct research topics. We previously conducted a quantitative study on 153 near-centenarians and centenarians to explore a wide range of biopsychosocial correlates of health and "living long". This paper reports a follow-up qualitative study examining the potential correlates of "living well" among near-centenarians and centenarians in Hong Kong.
Methods: Six cognitively, physically, and psychologically sound community-dwelling elders were purposively recruited from a previous quantitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted.
Results: Four major themes related to living long and well emerged from the responses of the participants: (a) Positive relations with others, (b) Positive events and happiness, (c) Hope for the future, and (d) Positive life attitude. Specifically, we found that having good interpersonal relationships, possessing a collection of positive life events, and maintaining salutary attitudes towards life are considered as important to psychological well-being by long-lived adults in Hong Kong. Most participants perceived their working life as most important to their life history and retired at very old ages.
Conclusions: These findings also shed light on the relationships between health, work, and old age.