The world’s oldest person is currently 116 years old. She wakes up each morning and has a breakfast that consists of grits, bacon and eggs. One of the aides at the facility where she lives even stated that the woman is just fine eating bacon all day long. Susannah Mushatt Jones lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was born in Alabama in 1899. Even though she admits to having a bacon “habit,” Jones admits that she doesn’t have many other bad habits. She states that she’s never drank or smoked, and that she surrounds herself with love and positive energy to keep thriving.
Jones belongs to a group of people that is, surprisingly, growing: U.S. citizens who are 100 years or older.
According to a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of Americans who are 100 or older, or centenarians, is increasing. There were 50,281 people in this age group in the year 2000. In 2014, however, there were 72,197 centenarians, which is over a 40% boost.
There are currently 35 million people who are 65 or older in the United States, but the segment of the population that is growing the fastest is Americans who are 85 or older.
According to the National Institute on Aging, it is estimated that by the year 2050, there could be as many as 1 million Americans who are 100 years old or older.
Because the number of American centenarians has increased, logically, the rate of individuals in this age group who are dying has also risen. It is interesting to note that there were disparities in centenarian death rates based on race. Between the years of 2000 and 2006, deaths in this age group increased among Hispanics, and from 2000 to 2008, death rates among centenarians increased for non-Hispanic white and Black individuals.
The top causes of death among centenarians included Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, stroke, influenza and pneumonia. Heart disease was the No.1 reason of death for both male and female centenarians. However, due to the medical advancements in treating and detecting heart disease, there has been an increase in deaths due to Alzheimer’s. Between 2000 and 2014, Alzheimer’s death rates went up by a shocking 119 percent.
The CDC also previously stated that Americans are enjoying longer lives due to an overall reduction in deaths from cancer, stroke, heart disease and chronic lower respiratory diseases.
There is now ongoing research to determine what lifestyle and environment have to do with the aging process. Researchers also want to find out how life can be more comfortable and enjoyable for centenarians.
In the meantime, younger citizens are attempting to learn from their elders and take in all the wisdom that comes with living a 100-year life. For instance, Jones says that the key to longevity is bacon, kindness and fancy lingerie. And that appears to be sound advice.