Those who live to 100 “avoid diseases and are healthier than pensioners years younger”
But centenarians are more likely to be afflicted by degenerative conditions and suffer loneliness
Those lucky enough to reach the impressive milestone are often confronted with the same question: Just what is their secret to a long and healthy life
However, there could be more to it than a bit of luck, a lot of hard work and the love of a good man or woman to see you through to the ripe old age of 100.
A study of centenarians has shown that many of those who make it to 100 are part of a lucky few who manage to avoid developing common diseases such as cancer.
Something to celebrate: It might not be simply down to luck that centenarians live to such a ripe old age – they are often far healthier than people years younger
Many centenarians report being in better health than pensioners years younger than them, remaining fit andhealthy right up until their final few weeks and months.
They are also more likely to have enjoyed healthier lifestyles when they were younger, say researchers.
The study, which was funded by Age UK, was undertaken by think-tank the International Longevity Centre UK.
David Sinclair, assistant director, policy and communications, told the Telegraph: “Whilst reaching 100 years of age is an aspiration for many, it is one which few people have achieved.
Special birthday card: A pensioner reads a telegram sent to her from the Queen, which is sent to people when they reach 100. Experts say that a quarter of children born today can expect to live to 100 and believe there will be a twelve-fold increase of centenarians over the next 30 years.
“Withsignificant growth in the numbers of centenarians ahead, it is vital now that our efforts are focused on understanding how we support and deliver improvements in quality of life for the oldest old.
“Government and other policy makers must begin to better adapt services to address this huge demographic change ahead of us.”
There was an estimated 12,640 centenarians in Britain last year, but this number is expected to reach 500,000 over the next few decades.
Despite making it to – and sometimes past – the milestone, centenarians could be more at risk from degenerative conditions, such as dementia or blindness, and may be more prone to loneliness. This is because they have outlived spouses and friends.
Experts say that a quarter of children born today can expect to live to 100 and believe there will be a twelve-fold increase of centenarians over the next 30 years.