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12 Fascinating Comparisons of Baby Boomers and Centenarians

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12 Fascinating Comparisons of Baby Boomers and Centenarians

How do baby boomers and centenarians differ with regards to their attitudes, opinions and lifestyle choices?

That is the over-arching question that researchers conducting this year’s 100@100 survey, an annual survey sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, a private health insurance company.

As the lifespan of the average American continues to increase (it currently ranges from 76 years for men, to 81 years for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) more and more people will live to be old enough to have their 100th birthdays announced by Willard Scott on the Today Show.

Experts from the U.S. Census Bureau estimate that, in the year 2050, there will be over 600,000 centenarians living in America alone.

As things stand today, however, being alive for more than a century is still somewhat of an anomaly. As a society, we tend to look upon these individuals with a certain amount of awe, wondering how these men and women reached such a significant milestone. (Discover the Unexpected Secret to Successful Aging)

What makes 100-year-olds different from the rest of us?

For the past eight years the 100@100 investigation has selected 100 people who’ve celebrated their 100th birthday, and asks them a series of questions about their daily lives, as well as their opinions on issues ranging from the state of the nation, to what to look for in a life partner.

This year, the survey was expanded to include a group of baby boomers ranging in age from 60 to 65-years-old. The purpose of adding this younger generation was to see where the thoughts and ideas of the two groups diverged.

Here are 12 interesting comparisons of baby boomers and centenarians, uncovered in the 100@100 survey:

  1. Did you (or do you) expect to live to be 100 years old? Staying alive for more than a century caught most centenarians by surprise (29 percent believed that they would see their 100th birthday) and would also come a shock to the majority of baby boomers (only 1 in 5 feel they will live to be 100-years-old).
  2. Do you regularly use the Internet? Unsurprisingly, only 18 percent of those older than 100 regularly access the Internet, compared with a whopping 82 percent of boomers. In both groups, those who did use the web were most likely to engage in either online search activities or email communication.
  3. What is your favorite physical activity? Both boomers and their 100-year-old counterparts were most likely to get their blood pumping with a good walk or hike (73 percent and 55 percent, respectively).
  4. Should you look for a life partner with similar interests? Many centenarians believe that having a life partner who shares your hobbies, interests and political views is a key to maintaining a good relationship, while boomers appear to place little value on sharing similar attitudes with a significant other. Forty percent on 100-year-olds emphasized the importance of having the same hobbies and interests, and 31 percent said sharing political opinions was ideal, compared to 22 and 19 percent of boomers, respectively.
  5. Do you wish you had taken more risks in life? Neither group seemed to feel that they should’ve lived their lives on the edge a little more. Only 12 percent of boomers and 5 percent of centenarians said they wished they had taken more risks.

Continue reading to discover what 100-year-olds regret about their lives, and how many of them have read “Fifty Shades of Grey”…

The Surprising Truth About Baby Boomer Health
5 Ways to Overcome Mid-Life Regret
10 Things That Make You Feel Old–And What to Do About Them

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Read more: Aging, Family, Healthy Aging, Inspiration, Life, , , , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor

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+ add your own
12:42AM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

thanks for sharing

9:19AM PDT on May 22, 2013


9:18AM PDT on May 22, 2013


8:17AM PDT on May 22, 2013

worth thinking about

12:08AM PDT on May 22, 2013

interesting article

6:13PM PDT on May 19, 2013

Fascinating Article.

6:33AM PDT on May 17, 2013


1:02PM PDT on May 14, 2013


12:43PM PDT on May 14, 2013

Well, I flunked this test - but then I've never been accused of being in the normal (?) group.

11:03PM PDT on May 11, 2013

Great research idea but I sense the thirty plus year interval was too much. Maybe the cohorts in their eighties should have been included as an intermediate group. Other questions to ask: On the cutural side, ask about favorite book or movie and on the life philosophy side: What would they change in their immediate life if they had the power to do so? One last question: What is the greatest discovery they witnessed in their lifetimes? Thanks for this interesting piece.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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