What It's Like to Be 100

Pretty good, even if you've got several illnesses: researcher

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 17, 2014 3:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Though plenty of people want to live a long time, they don't find the idea being of 100 years old particularly appealing, a researcher tells the New York Times. Good news, Prof. Daniela Jopp finds: The people who make it to 100 tend to feel pretty optimistic about life, even with, "on average, between four and five illnesses which are pretty disabling." Her findings are especially intriguing considering that half of people born after 2000 are expected to live to be 100 or older. Among the highlights of her research, along with findings noted in the Washington Post, which reports that America currently claims 55,000 centenarians:

  • Those who are at least 95 generally say they're happier with life than those in their 60s and 70s, Jopp notes. That may be because younger seniors haven't yet adjusted to the aging process and the health issues that may accompany it, she suggests.

  • Her subjects tend to have goals that help keep them going, even ones as light as seeing how their team does next season.
  • Those subjects included 119 New Yorkers; even with their advanced age, many live alone, and most are extroverted.
  • Centenarians generally feel like they're about 83, according to research reported by the Post—a finding that, the paper notes, is based on a small sample size of 104 people.
  • Only 3% feel lonely, sad, or burdened, whereas 36% feel blessed and 31% report being happy. (Only 12% are surprised.)
  • Some 53% say they don't have caregivers; the same percentage say they've accomplished all their goals. But 22% want to live a few more years so they can knock more of those goals off their list.
  • The most important tactic for a long life? Stay close to friends and family, 91% of respondents say.

Being 100 years old is generally a positive experience, a study says.   (Shutterstock)
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