What It's Like to Be 100
Pretty good, even if you've got several illnesses: researcher
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 17, 2014 3:05 PM CDT
Being 100 years old is generally a positive experience, a study says.   (Shutterstock)

(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.

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Mike in LA
Jun 4, 2014 7:26 PM CDT
The reason those aged 95+ report being happier than those in their 60s or 70s could easily be NOT that they've adjusted to aging with time: Those with more optimistic outlooks could be more likely to reach age 95 because they're healthier than pessimists, by cause, effect, or both. Negative outlook could be as effective a cull as heart disease or cancer, but heart disease and cancer easily produce grim outlooks. And shorten lives. Someone who's about to perish from hypovolemia typically shows a grim attitude. It's a symptom of a physiologic fault. So people prone to cancer or heart disease don't become centenarians? And they're less happy than those who aren't so afflicted? Surprise, surprise!
May 21, 2014 3:27 AM CDT
As for what it is like tobe 100? Don't know. I'll let you know in 32 more years and chances are I'll make it. Both sets of grand-parents and great grand-parents lived past 100 and they say length of life can be based upon both. But so far it has been a very good life. Married to a wonderful woman. Have two daughters and one son. Two great son-in-laws and daughter-in-law. Three fantastic grand-childern. House, bought and paid for, good health and a nice income. Past regrets, sure. But wouldn't change a thing, They have made my family the people we are today. So, so far it has been a very good life.
May 20, 2014 11:51 AM CDT
My Precious Mother lived to be 101, and live independently in her own home until she was 100, of course, some of us children look in on her every day. Very healthy and independent until her last year on earth. She was an amazing woman.