Sunday, February 21, 2016

Centenarians: Longevity, Marriage, Surprises (Research, Video 2:20)

If you haven’t already done so, many of you reading this post may become centenarians living at least 100 years. Reaching this formerly rare milestone has become common nowadays, not only because of genetics, but also due to advances in healthcare with people living longer. But these are not the only factors that impact how long people live. Surprisingly, marriage and living arrangements play important roles.

Research based on the lives of 3,000 centenarians born between the years 1893 and 1903 were used to reconstruct their marital history and living arrangements during their later lives from ages 60-100.

    1)   From age 60 to 100, male centenarians lived twice as long with their wives as female centenarians did with their husbands.

    2)   Female centenarians lived alone for more than half of their lives.

    3)   Male centenarians had younger wives and female centenarians had older husbands than non-centenarians.

    4)   More than half of the widowers remarried and did so with a woman who was generally more than 10 years younger.

    5)   Most centenarians ended their lives in a nursing home but entered it very late in life.
What does this say about marriage and living arrangements of centenarians? Apparently, living with a spouse during old age is more beneficial in terms of longevity for men than for women. For women, living alone is more advantageous than living with a spouse. Results of this study seem to confirm that generally men are often not able to live well by themselves, whereas women seem to have fewer problems living on their own. This video highlights 10 surprising facts about centenarians:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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