Happier at 100 than 10

When does old age begin?

At 46. Or 87. Depending on whom you ask.

That’s the latest from UnitedHealthcare’s annual survey of centenarians – those who have reached 100 — which offers some fascinating insights into the aging process with the help of this year’s additional survey group: 10 year-olds.

The survey smacks down long-held misconceptions about aging: that old people are mean, depressed, and dull.

Are you a positive person? Nearly two-thirds of the 100 centenarians polled answered yes, while less than half of the children considered themselves positive thinkers.

What’s wrong with kids these days!

Beyond positive attitude, the keys to happiness were healthy food, regular exercise, and staying busy.

Surprisingly, 60 out of the 100 centenarians polled said they simply didn’t feel old. And for those who did, it didn’t occur until age 87. Most felt at least 20 years younger than their actual age.

Children had a very different perspective on the aging process.

In what might be a shock to parents, the 10 year-olds felt that “old age” actually began at 46.

The centenarians also looked back on their lives and noted some important benchmarks. When were they the most attractive? 31. Most energetic? 34. Happiest? 44. Healthiest? 46. Most content? 56.

And the wisest? 56.

Many readers might disagree with that final observation, and say these centenarians have reached the pinnacle of insight after an entire century on Earth.

In its 10th year, the UnitedHealthcare survey – called 100@100 – annually polls 100 centenarians about their views on life and aging. For this 10th anniversary, 100 more 10 year-olds were also interviewed.

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