New York: Key to living a long and happy life are close relationships with family and friends, according to the third annual Evercare 100@100 survey.
The US poll of 100 centenarians also reveals, that contrary to conventional stereotypes, some of the oldest Americans are using the latest technologies to keep close to friends and loved ones – talking on cell phones, sending emails, “Googling” lost acquaintances, surfing Wikipedia and even online dating.
“We serve Centenarians and other older Americans every day who inspire and educate us about the keys to longevity – they are teaching us what it means to live longer, healthier, happier lives,” said Dr. John Mach, a geriatrician and chairman of Evercare, a part of UnitedHealth Group.
“We conduct the Evercare 100@100 Survey to understand the secrets to successful aging and to put those findings into action to better serve our members – helping them maintain their independence and achieve better health outcomes.”
Created to be a cultural snapshot of 100 Americans turning 100 or older in 2008, this year’s Evercare 100@100 Survey also polled 900 of those in other generations to compare and contrast the generational findings on topics of maintaining relationships and staying independent. The other generations surveyed included G.I. (ages 84-98), Silent (ages 63-83), Baby Boomers (ages 44-62), Gen X (ages 30-43) and Millennials (ages 20-29). According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau data, there are more than 84,000 Centenarians in the United States, and that number is projected to increase seven-fold, to 580,000, by 2040.
Among the key findings of the 2008 Evercare 100@100 Survey:
– An apple a day may keep the doctor away: . . .but these Centenarians say staying close to friends and family is most important to healthy aging (90 percent). Keeping the mind active (90 percent) and laughing and having a sense of humor (88 percent) also ranked high for living longer.
– Surveyed Centenarians are no technophobes: 19 percent say they use cell phones to keep in touch with friends and family. Other technology used to stay in touch includes: e-mail (7 percent), sending or receiving digital photos by email (4 percent), and text messaging (1 percent).
– Love 2.0: As many Centenarians as Baby Boomers (3 percent) say they have dated someone they met on an online dating site. Twelve percent of Centenarians surveyed say they have used the Internet and some have “Googled” someone they have lost contact with (2 percent) or have visited someone’s personal Web site (2 percent).
– Centenarians have seen a slew of historical presidential match-ups: FDR defeat Hoover, Kennedy defeat Nixon, Reagan defeat Carter and Clinton defeat Bush I. But majorities (54 percent) of surveyed 100-year-olds say that the 2008 election is more important than previous presidential elections.
– Heading to the polls: In keeping with typical voting habits in which older voters regularly turn out at the polls, 70 percent of Centenarians surveyed say they are very likely to vote in this year’s presidential election, as compared to only 60 percent of Millennials surveyed.
— Little white lies can spell big trouble: Centenarians surveyed say that being honest with each other, even if the truth sometimes hurts, is the most important factor in a lasting relationship (91 percent). They also say it is very important to have fun and laugh together (88 percent) and to respect each other’s independence (83 percent).
Evercareis a national care coordination program for people who have long-term or advanced illness, are older or have disabilities.