Growing Numbers of Centenarians

This study shows that in Ontario the number of centenarians in the population has been rising at about twice the rate of the population as a whole over the past twenty years. This is most likely representative of most wealthier regions of the world, where life expectancy for adults is climbing at around a year every decade as an incidental result of general improvements in medical technologies. This pace should pick up considerably as the research community becomes more interested in targeting aging deliberately, but note that your personal odds of reaching the age of 100 under present levels of medical technology are still very poor. The only way to improve these odds significantly is to support research into human rejuvenation such as that carried out by the SENS Research Foundation.

All individuals living in Ontario aged 65 and older on April 1 of each year between 1995 and 2010 were identified and divided into three age groups (65-84, 85-99, ≥100). A detailed description was obtained on 1,842 centenarians who were alive on April 1, 2010.

The number of centenarians increased from 1,069 in 1995 to 1,842 in 2010 (72.3%); 6.7% were aged 105 and older. Over the same period, the number of individuals aged 85 to 99 grew from 119,955 to 227,703 (89.8%). Women represented 85.3% of all centenarians and 89.4% of those aged 105 and older. Almost half of centenarians lived in the community (20.0% independently, 25.3% with publicly funded home care). Preventive drug therapies (bisphosphonates and statins) were frequently dispensed. In the preceding year, 18.2% were hospitalized and 26.6% were seen in an emergency department. More than 95% saw a primary care provider, and 5.3% saw a geriatrician.

The number of centenarians in Ontario increased by more than 70% over the last 15 years, with even greater growth among older people who could soon become centenarians. Almost half of centenarians live in the community, most are women, and almost all receive care from a primary care physician.



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