Survey: U.S. centenarians don't feel a day older than 83

On average, U.S. centenarians say they feel age 83, while 65-year-old baby boomers, on average, say they feel 10 years younger.
By Alex Cukan  |  April 24, 2014 at 4:32 PM
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MINNETONKA, Minn., April 24 (UPI) -- On average, U.S. centenarians say they feel age 83, none said they felt sad or burdened, 3 percent said they felt lonely, but most want to invite Barack Obama, Betty White or Hillary Clinton to a dinner party.

A UnitedHealthcare telephone survey of 104 U.S. centenarians found 36 percent of the centenarians said they felt blessed to live to 100, 31 percent said they felt happy and 12 percent said they were surprised. More than half said they lived independently, without the support of a caregiver to assist in daily activities.

More than 302 baby boomers age 65 were also surveyed and on average, said they felt 10 years younger.

Nine of 10 centenarians said the key to healthy aging were staying close to friends and family, 88 percent said maintaining a sense of independence and 86 percent said eating right was key to living a long life.

The 2010 Census found there are around 53,000 people age 100 or older in the United States, and that over 8 out of 10 centenarians are women.

Nearly 3 in 10 baby boomers said they expected to live to 100. Eighty-seven percent of baby boomers said they wanted to age gracefully by maintaining independence, 87 percent said they wanted to laugh a lot and 84 percent said they wanted to stay close to family and friends.

Both centenarians and baby boomers stay active. Fifty-six percent of centenarians and 74 percent of baby boomers said they walked or hiked at least once per week. Approximately one-third of centenarians and baby boomers said they did strength-training exercises every week while 23 percent of centenarians and 39 percent of baby boomers did indoor cardio exercise.

When asked what famous person they would invite to a dinner party, 7 of 10 centenarians said President Barack Obama, unseating Betty White -- the favorite for the last four annual surveys -- who came in second followed by Hillary Clinton.

Baby boomers wanted Betty White as their dinner guest followed by Tom Hanks and Pope Francis.

Penn Schoen Berland interviewed the centenarians and the baby boomers Feb. 6 to 24. The margin of error for the centenarians was 9.8 percentage points and 5.66 percentage points for the baby boomers.

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