Growing Number of Centenarians Raises Questions About Aging

Scripps MD says having a reason to live is key to reaching aging stratosphere


With more Americans living beyond 100, and medical advances expanding that population every year, more people are contemplating life as a centenarian.

While illness and disabilities can be major barriers to joining the 100-plus club, having a purpose to continue on with life might be the biggest challenging facing the extremely elderly, said Robert DeMonte, MD, division head of geriatric medicine at Scripps Clinic .

His comments were part of an article about centenarians by the Wisconsin State Journal.

“You need a purpose,” DeMonte told the Madison, Wis., newspaper. “You have to have hope. We’re continuing to develop new medical strategies to sustain life beyond the natural lifespan, but as a society we need to do a better job of looking at how the senior years can be more fulfilling.”

Centenarians still make up only a tiny fraction of the U.S. population, but their ranks are growing faster than any other segment, according to the article.

The State Journal article, "As Their Numbers Surge, Madison’s Centenarians Make a Case for the Very Old," is not available at this time.

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Keith Darce

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