Added: Fri. Nov 16, 2007 6:38am
Posted in: Aging
Throughout 99% of human history, the average life expectancy was less than 18 years. That’s changing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are now 80,000 centenarians in the United States, and that number is projected to increase seven-fold, to 580,000, by 2040. Before you think, ”not me”, consider that the prescription for living a really long life now appears to include keeping your ipod stocked with tasty tunes, eating some fast food, watching some bad TV, surfing the web and stopping by Starbucks for a mocha latte every now and then.
A recent stereotype busting study reveals that centenarians (those who live to 100 and beyond) are surprisingly hip and increasingly keep up with the latest trends of modern culture. The Evercare survey polled 100 Americans turning 100 and older this year about their habits and interests. The results confirm that the way to stay alive is to stay involved. It turns out that enthusiasm for new experiences may be the fountain of youth.
More than a third of the 100-year-old respondents watch reality TV and 27 percent watch MTV or music videos. Nearly a quarter of centenarians have purchased a music CD, Six percent have spent time on the Internet, and four percent said they have listened to music on an iPod
Keep the faith and lose the butts. Centenarians attribute their longevity to faith and spiritual care more than genes or medical care. While they are concerned about their health (just 23 percent said they have ever smoked cigarettes, and on average, those who quit did so 41 years ago) they enjoy the guilty pleasure of fast food. Seventy-two percent say they occasionally eat at a fast food restaurant and 11 percent have ordered coffee at Starbucks.
Centenarians are curious about the world around them and follow current events on a daily basis. Sixty-eight percent get their daily news on TV but 40 percent also read a newspaper or listen to the radio.
Not long ago the really old were oddities rolled out once a year for an uneasy celebration that usually left us with a sense of sadness and the thought that there was no reason to live that long. That's not always the case any more.
When Ruth1898 celebrated her 109th birthday she told Growing Bolder’s Bill Shafer, "I keep asking, Dear God, why am I living? And all I hear is, 'Shut up!' "
Ruth is the new face of the ultra elderly. She has a sharp mind, a quick wit and enjoys her daily life. She represents what life can be like with a little luck, good genes and a 20 gig iPod.
Don't think it can't or won't happen to you. There are many more Ruth Hamilton's on the horizon. For the first time, that seems like a good thing.
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