Growing old – More and more people live to be 100

According to a British survey we have more chances of reaching the biblical age of a hundred than we did many years ago. The survey says that a girl born in the U.K. today has a 30% chance of becoming a centenarian and a boy has a 25% chance of reaching this age. It’s not just the newly born who are expected to live longer. Of the British population aged forty about 20% will live to be 100.

An ageing population places many problems on society, above all, the economical challenge of providing food, housing and welfare to all the new pensioners. For governments in developed countries it means higher spending on health care and providing the aging population with enough old people’s homes to stay in. Population experts, however, warn that as people get older they cannot simply rely on the state to provide them with everything for life after 65.

There is also a psychological problem attached to getting old. Many people simply cannot believe they might reach such a biblical age and are afraid of getting old. Living longer is not desirable if the quality of life decreases. Nobody really knows in which shape they will be in once they get to 80 or 90. They don’t know if they are physically active or are tied to their bed for their remaining life. And that’s what makes them afraid.

A one-hundred year old woman

A one-hundred year old woman

 

Old age almost always goes hand in hand with a deteriorating body. You get slower and start to forget things. You are afraid of Alzheimer’s and some people miss the challenges of everyday work.

Living to be a hundred is often attached to a person’s lifestyle. Centenarians tend to live healthier, do more exercise, eat less, stay mentally fit and keep up a positive attitude. Researchers claim that a Mediterranean diet can help you live longer. It contains a lot of vegetables, olive oil, fruits and fish.

Other experts claim that centenarians are not healthier and have the same bad habits as people who don’t reach that age. They say it it’s the genes that help them cruise past the one-hundred year mark.

In any case, history shows that progress in medicine and human evolution has made us live longer: prehistoric hunters died at the age of 20 or 30. In medieval times only about a third of all children made it to the age of 30 or more. Today, there are more people over 45 than under 45 in the developed world.

 

Related Topics

 

Words

  • according to = as said by
  • aging = getting older
  • Alzheimer’s = a disease that affects the brain; it slowly makes it difficult for people to talk or move
  • attach = connect
  • attitude = feeling, thoughts
  • biblical = about the bible
  • centenarian = a person who has reached the age of 100
  • challenge = task, test, something that is hard to do
  • chance = possibility
  • claim = say officially
  • decrease = go down
  • desirable = wanted, attractive
  • deteriorate = to become worse
  • developed country = rich, industrialized countries
  • diet = the food that you usually eat
  • evolution = the idea that plants and animals develop slowly over a longer period of time
  • exercise = sport, things to keep you physically fit
  • expect = think
  • gene = part of a cell that controls what someone looks like or how they grow and develop; people get their genes from their parents
  • habit = the things that you usually do
  • health care = the health system of a country
  • keep up = continue to have
  • medieval = during the Middle Ages
  • Mediterranean = the area between southern Europe and northern Africa
  • mental = about the brain
  • physical = about the body
  • place = put
  • population = all the people in a country
  • prehistoric = the time before anything was written down
  • provide = give
  • reach = get to
  • rely = depend on
  • remaining = rest
  • researcher = a person who tries to find out something new about a topic by doing serious work
  • shape = condition
  • society = people in general
  • survey = questions that you ask people in order to find out more about a topic
  • tend to = if something happens often
  • welfare = help for people who have personal or social problems