Yesterday at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner in New York we had over twenty people, and two of them—my mother and my aunt—are over 90.
Not only are they over 90, but they’re over 95. My mother is 97 but not far from 98, and my aunt is 96. And this is true despite the fact that they’re not blood relatives, they’re sisters-in-law. They each were widowed quite some time ago and then had another man in their life for a few years who died quite some time ago, too. They each have some problems that require using walkers and hearing aids. They each have gotten very thin and don’t eat much anymore. But they’re each doing pretty well, especially considering all the possibilities.
They’re outliers. But it’s not anywhere near as unusual as it used to be for people to live to be ninety these days, as this article relates. This is especially true of women:
At ages 85 to 89, there is about one man for every two women; by 95 to 99, and 100 and older, there is about one man for every four women.
My mother and my aunt are also typical in their single status:
About half the [90-plus] men are widowers and a whopping 43% are married while 84% of women are widows and a mere 6% are married.
Extreme old age is most definitely not for sissies, from what I’ve seen of it, and I’ve seen quite a bit. And you better get ready to see a lot more of it:
In addition to growing in numbers, the 90-plus population has also increased as a proportion of the older population (aged 65 and over), up from 2.8% of the older population in 1980 to 4.7% in 2010, and it is expected to reach 9.9% in 2050.