Fuaja Singh completed his last marathon in Hong Kong only a few weeks before he turned 102 years old recently.  He said he feels it might be time to retire from running marathons, but he plans to continue running as a hobby.

As reported by Yahoo News, Singh explains his secret to living a long and fulfilling life:

“The reason for my good health is that I exercise daily and follow a proper diet regime. I take happiness in biggest proportions though my actual diet is very small. Nowadays, people are more interested in going to a gym, but I feel that if they exercise regularly on their own, they can be physically and mentally strong. Daily exercise will keep you away from all diseases.”

Mr. Singh is a great example of, “It’s not how old you are, but how old you feel.” I admire this attitude and view this as a challenge to our geriatric professionals to truly meet the demands of our elderly.

But, let’s talk about the terms, “geriatric” and “elderly.” In another recently released study, researchers claim the human race has the potential to live to age 150; and that person is currently alive today.

So, if age 75 is the new middle age, what aspects of quality of life can be expected? Mr. Singh didn’t start running marathons until the age 89 when he took up this new hobby.

Another study that I recently read stated how, of the babies born in 2012, there will be 1 in 3 who will live to be 100 years or older. Medicare better start planning for this “baby boom” if the government still plans to be functioning then.

With all of these studies and inspiring stories, it not only challenges me as a clinician with quality of care and expectations, it also makes me think about my own retirement age and financial planning. We currently have expectations and quality demands continuing to rise, and will continue trending in that direction. However, reimbursement and finances continue to decrease. So, how do we meet demand?

It’s a simple solution: customer service.

I realize it’s challenging to achieve this goal with the current workplace stressors, government regulations, and continued challenges. But, we’re in a service industry, and, therefore, customer service should, and must, become our highest priority.