UnitedHealthCare recently conducted a study with centenarians, those people 100 years and older, along with a companion survey of baby boomers. The centenarians said that, on average, they felt like they were 83 years old, while the 65-year-old baby boomers felt a full 10 years younger at 55.
|My friend Judy’s Aunt Rose. Closing in on 100.|
Expressing how centenarians felt about being 100, 35% felt “blessed,” 31% “happy” and 12% “surprised.” No one expressed feelings of sadness or of being burdened; only 3% said they felt lonely. I found it very encouraging that 53% of centenarians lived independently without daily caregiver support.
I’m cheered by these numbers and a little bit surprised about the positive outlook of older people who face more loss than any other group of aging adults. In spite of more significant and debilitating health restrictions and a greater loss of friends, family members, and spouses, centenarians remain upbeat and very much wanting to participate in life – “I can’t get around much anymore, but I’m still alive and that’s a very good thing,” is a point of view expressed often by these elders.
I wonder how I’d feel about being a centenarian. It looks like a lot depends on attitude. Our youth-oriented culture paints a fairly drab and discouraging picture of old age. Heck, old age for many is anything 40 and older. That’s not even middle age for a centenarian.
Whether I live to be 100 or not I know I better beef up my positive attitude, preserve relationships with friends and family, participate is healthy practices (my nemesis), and be as active as I can be.
It’s not over ‘til it’s over and there is a possibility of you becoming a centenarian. What will your tune be if you make it to this ripe old age?
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