Oct. 14--During a 30-day period last year, seven residents at the Elizabeth
Scott Community all were 100 years old or older.
Today, there are two residents 100 years or older, including 104-year-old Edna
Sandys, living at the facility on Albon Road near Maumee.
At other retirement communities across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan,
dozens of residents are celebrating the century mark and beyond.
What's going on here?
More people on the planet, more people living longer. Perhaps playing a role:
medical advances. A push for staying active, mind and body. Campaigns that
promote consumption of fresh, rather than processed, foods.
The centenarian trend is expected to increase dramatically as Baby Boomers come
of age, leading some people to wonder whether 100 will be the new 50.
Not only are people living longer, many continue to work at the age of 80, 90,
or even 100.
Centenarians today come from a generation that lived through the Great
Depression, two World Wars, the Space Age, and into the Digital Age. These are
people who are helping to redefine Old Age, and possibly could help erase such
stereotypes of the crotchety, porch-sitting, chair-rocking old fogy who yells at
the kids, "Keep off my grass!"
A Baby Boomer is a person born during post World War II, between the years 1946
and 1964. In 2011, the first of that generation reached what used to be known as
retirement age. And for the next 18 years, Boomers will be turning 65 at a rate
of about 8,000 a day.
The sheer number of Boomers can help explain the trend of more people living
longer, said Melanie Ayotte, administrative support with communications and
government outreach for the Ohio Department of Aging. She said the department
doesn't track the number of centenarians within the state, but said the 2010
census showed Ohio had nearly 1,900 residents who were at least 100 years old.
Matt Bucher, director of marketing at the Elizabeth Scott Community, said the
seven centenarians residing at the facility were the most ever at one time
there. He credits the longevity to the life and times of a hearty generation. "I
think they ate better. A lot grew up on the farm. They knew how to survive. That
generation is inherently tough. I really believe they have the ability to handle
adversity," he said, noting the importance of keeping the mind and body active.
From 1980 to 2010, the number of centenarians in the United States grew 66
percent, while the total population grew 36 percent, according to the U.S.
Census Bureau. As of the 2010 census, more than 53,000 Americans were 100 or
older. Based on estimates, by 2050, there will be more than 600,000 centenarians
Supercentenarian status -- for those living to 110 -- is achieved by about one
in 1,000 centenarians. Estimates put the number of supercentenarians in the
world at a few hundred people out of more than seven billion people. There are
only about 60 individual verified cases of living supercentenarians today.
This week, northwest Ohio will be one of the places on the planet with a
supercentenarian in its population. Tiffin resident Audrey Lott, born Oct. 18,
1903, will celebrate her birthday this week, becoming a supercentenarian at the
age of 110 on Friday.
Mrs. Lott has a few years to go to earn accolades as the oldest person ever.
Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in 1997, was a French supercentenarian who
reportedly had the longest confirmed human lifespan in history, living to the
age of 122 years.
Misao Okawa, born March 5, 1898, is a Japanese supercentenarian who, at the age
of 115 years, is listed as the world's oldest living person today.
Jeralean Talley of Inkster, Mich., was born May 23, 1899, and at the age of 114
years, is reportedly the oldest living American and is the second-oldest living
person in the world.
(c)2013 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
Visit The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) at www.toledoblade.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services