Centenarians vs. Boomers – What We Can Learn From 100 Year Olds

Think 100 year old men and women spend their days in a rocker at the nursing home? Not quite! Many of our senior loved ones – and us – who are younger could benefit by learning something from their habits, whether or not the goal is to join the centenarian club.

A new study of centenarians completed by United Healthcare shows that they are just as active both physically and socially as boomers half their age. The survey also provides insights into their preferences and life philosophies. The results show the importance of staying physically active as you age but also staying socially engaged.

The US Census Bureau projects that the centenarian population will rise eight fold to more than 600,000 by 2050.

Statistics from 100 Centenarians Polled

  1. Half of the one hundred 100 years olds polled stated they exercised daily. 45% report walking as their favorite activity and 40% do exercises to strengthen their muscles. Other activities they enjoy include yoga, tai chi, bike riding, or sports.
  2. Social engagement as well as physical activity is an important part of centenarians day as 80% speak to friends or family every day, attend a social event and laugh or chuckle at something every day. They eat healthy meals and sleep eight hours a night as well as participate in activities that keep their minds sharp.
  3. Internet usage has doubled in 100 year olds this year from 13 to 25%. 56% report using it to share photos, 48% use email, 44% search for information, 4% use online dating sites and 1 in 10 have watched a YouTube video.
  4. 12% report listening to music on an iPod or MP3 player and watched a program on a DVR
  5. If able to invite anyone to dinner, 56% picked Betty White followed by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The best movie in the past 100 years to watch after dinner would be “Gone with the Wind
  6. Three quarters reported they planned to go to the polls to vote in the 2012 election.
  7. 28% stated that developments in green energy will have the greatest impact in the next 100 years.

The 100 centenarians were asked the same questions as 300 boomers and the results although very similar, did have some differences.

Boomers were more likely to be engaged in Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter, which the 100 year olds were not using. Only 68% of Boomers reported eating healthy foods and only 38% reported getting eight hours of sleep at night.

Boomers will pick entertainers not politicians to dine with including Tom Hanks and Paul McCartney. Their after dinner movie pick is “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

If our senior loved ones wish to reach the 100 year mark or even get close, we might be able to help them by suggesting they consider the physical and social engagement of this group of centenarians. After all, it is probably not a coincidence that those who are active and engaged have lived long enough to become centenarians.

What will you do to reach 100 years?


4 thoughts on “Centenarians vs. Boomers – What We Can Learn From 100 Year Olds”

  1. I have often wondered what it would be like to be 100 years old. I hope I make it that long and am able to find out. I try to eat as healthy as possible and keep my mind active through reading and participating in social media. As for exercise, I have a 3-year-old son, he gives me so much exercise currently I truly feel I am getting old….yikes!


    • I have wondered that as well, Aaron. It is encouraging to come across information about folks achieving that milestone who let us feel that if we make it as well we can still be enjoying our lives.

Comments are closed.