So, as they say, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life, what's left of it. It could be longer than I thought. It already is. I read an article on ageing in the Manchester Guardian this morning, or maybe it was the NYT. We're living longer. We all know that. I quoted someone the other day, that there are more people over the age of 65 living today than existed in all the years previously on record.
That's old news. Boring. Now we're after the supercentenarians. In the whole world, that is, the world that can be recorded, it is estimated that there are about 50 people 110 years of age or older, more women than men, incidentally. This fascinating age has recently been lowered to 106 to qualify as a supercentenarian, I suppose in the hope that scientists can get to them in time, as they are trying to do now, with inadequate funding, to gather DNA samples, to find out the secret code of their longevity, beyond good health habits and luck.
I read that there are three recognised stages to age, roughly measured. Say, 55 t0 65, that's young old. age. Then 65 to 75, that's middle old age. After that, 75 to 85, you've reached old age. We're into uncharted territory. In 1906 life expectancy was about 48 years- for men usually; women died younger then, in childbirth. Now life expectancy is about 80, longer for women ever since doctors learned to wash their hands before delivering babies. God bless Louis Pasteur!
Old old age is anything after 86, I guess. I was at a meeting today, of retired, older people, and one woman said she didn't like that she has run out of a box. She meant the box you have to check off in a questionnaire: Are you: 45 to 50; 50 to 65; over 65 (or 70)? Me too. And yet it's interesting.
I kind of want to see what happens next.