How healthy can a healthy 110-year-old person be?

People can live into their early hundred-and-teens these days. A very few people, granted, but I know that the centenarian population of the world is on the rise, percentagewise.

But how healthy is it possible to be once you’re over 100 years old, or over 110? Aging wears a body out whether or not you’re actually sick.

What’s it like to be a healthy 110-year-old? What are your limitations? How much sleep do you need? How much do you eat? Do you have a sex drive? Can you have sex? Can you walk? What overall health problems are inevitable at that age?

And how different is a 110-year-old’s good health from a 100-year-old’s?

Being an enfeebled 110-year-old doesn’t sound like fun … until you consider the alternative! :slight_smile:

Seriously, my understanding is that gerontology has advanced to the point where one can be quite physically active very late into life. To respond to the individual questions (bearing in mind that these are views of a well-read layman, not an expert):

Limitations: One can get around fairly well, is somewhat enfeebled by general decline in bone density and musculature, but quite able to do for oneself the basics of life (though people of extreme age often have younger people to do for them with more speed and less effort what they can still accomplish at their own pace and with substantial effort).

Sleeping, Eating: Variable as they are in people of younger ages.

Sex: One’s sex drive drops with age, but never completely fades out. There are reports of folks in nursing homes who have gotten it on behind the backs of staff.

That’s great, as long as the staff is willing to stand still for it.

I’m bumping my thread, much as I like and appreciate Polycarp’s answer, because (by his own admission) he’s making a layman’s guess. A very good, articulate layman’s guess, mind you, but I wouldn’t mind a more authoritative reply or two.

Also, I asked this question Friday before Labor Day, and should’ve thought of that before expecting much by way of a thread.

I know gerontology has worked wonders for the health of the elderly, but I’m wondering if there’s the difference between a 110-year-old and an 80-year-old is as dramatic as any other 30-year interval – even a healthy 80-year-old has notable physical changes from his healthy 50-year-old self, who is notably different from his 20-year-old self.

So if that healthy 80-year-old becomes a healthy 110-year-old, what’s changed?

You probably can’t see or hear well–if at all.

If you’re mobile at all, it’s only thru a wheelchair that someone has to push for you, the result of hip, knee, and ankle joints taking a century’s worth of pounding–but it’s quite possible you’re bedridden.

You probably can’t control your bodily functions reliably, so you’ll have bags attached.

But there is one anesthetizing effect: You don’t have much in the way of marbles anymore, so you probably don’t know how bad off you are.

By the time you’re in your 90s, your body really starts falling apart. As has been said before, at that point, you’re no longer living, just lasting.

I recall several interviews with the French woman who was, up until she died, the world’s oldest person. She was able to get around on her own, could feed herself, wasn’t incontinent, smoked a cigarette a day, and had a penchant for wine and chocolate. Sounds like a pretty good life to me.

My aunt, who is 97, is very, very spry and still lives by herself and does everything for herself. Her only regret is that many of her children are dead, as are many of her friends. There are very few people alive who remember the things she does.

Just use Google News for a snapshot: “centenarian”

Centenarian seeks soulmate

…“She must be pretty and in very good health - I still haven’t called it a day on certain activities.”

…He lives alone in a two-bedroom flat, drives a three-wheeled pick-up truck and occasionally fixes broken watches for his fellow townspeople.

…a few years ago, authorities took away his gun licence on the grounds that he might pose a threat to the community. Shortly after, he proved everybody wrong by winning a clay-pigeon competition at the local shooting range.

Cowgirl Reeves Dies at 101 After Fall from Horse

DALLAS (Reuters) - Centenarian cowgirl Connie Reeves, who taught over 30,000 girls how to ride horses, has died at the age of 101 after being thrown from her favorite mount…

And some others:

Watch this space for a new post circa 2069. I’ll let you know.

None of the long-lived people in my family have made it to 110. Those who made it past 100, however, were up and about and playing cards and living life until the very end. If I remember correctly, they all made a point of putting on lipstick every morning.

I wouldn’t wear lipstick if I lived to 110!

So if I wear lipstick, will I get to live to 110? No wonder we males die younger!

Supercentenarians in the news seem to come in a range of health.

Elizabeth Bolden is 112, but not a sprightly 112. She does still cuss out her 84-year-old daughter, though: “If you weren’t my child, I’d put you over my knee and whoop the s— out of you.”

But Zabani Khachukayeva, a 124-year-old Chechen, seems to be in good health aside from some hearing loss. Of course, the article doesn’t say exactly what “good health” is for a 124-year-old, so it doesn’t really answer my original question.

Consensus seems to be that a supercentenarian (which is a person who lives to 110 – so what’s a person who lives to 120 called? superdupercentenarian?) in good health can get around on their own and maintain a good memory. And a supercentenarian in poorer health, well, mobility and memory are more limited.

More details from a gerontologist would be appreciated, but we’ve at least determined the superelderly aren’t universally housebound.

Anybody know about THOMAS PARR (AKA “old Parr”) who lived in England in the reign of Henry VIII. He was supposed to have reached 142 years. Has this claim ever been verified? 142 sounds awful old-most of your great-grandchildren would probably be dead by that age!

I’ll buy that. . . but I’d venture they’re the exception rather the rule.

And here’s a recent comment on Thomas Parr:

Mostly “they” have been called Jeanne Calment. (see prior links)