A recent article by Detroit Free Press explored the lifestyles and common traits of people 100 and older. The centenarian population in the United States is growing and is expected to continue to grow as the baby boomers age and medical care advances.
While increasing numbers of Americans are expected to live to 100 or older, the current life expectancy in the United States is 78.2. So why is it that some people reach the ripe age of 100 and others do not? Scientists have found several interesting correlations related to long life spans including: genetics, the ability to handle stress better than others, the absence of obesity, and a very limited or nonexistent history of smoking.
Women are more likely to reach centenarian status. The Gerontology Research Group’s list of the world’s oldest people –110 and older — is comprised of 5 men and a whopping 74 women. While more research is needed to determine why women seem to have such an advantage over men, a popular theory credits the chromosomal makeup of women. Another fascinating trait connecting many women who live to 100 or older is giving birth after the age of 35.
As the number of centenarians will continue to increase, further accommodations will have to be made to ensure these “rock stars of aging” have the means to continue. Most people do not plan for a financial future beyond 70 or 80 and this has already caused significant problems. The Area Agency on Aging 1B in Michigan (a Harmony customer) already has a waiting list for services with the fastest growing in need group being those 85 and older.
Quality of life often declines as people age and lose mental and physical capabilities and strength. “It’s not easier growing older” stated Lynn Peters Adler, founder of the National Centenarian Awareness Project, but “this generation of centenarians is healthier and more active than past generations.”
To read more about centenarians, read the Detroit Free Press article here.