Numbers reaching 100 years on the rise
- Republic of Ireland
The number of oldest old is on the rise and there is much to celebrate, writes Nicola Donnelly, Communications Officer, CARDI:
In Britain there has been a fivefold increase in the number of people reaching 100 years in the last 30 years. In Ireland, the numbers are growing too with latest Census figures recording 389 people aged 100 years or older. When compared to numbers recorded in 1951, when there were just 30 people aged 100 years or over, this represents a remarkable change. Notably 85 % of people aged 100 and over in Ireland are women.
In the Republic of Ireland, this momentous birthday is celebrated with a special award from the President known as the Centenarian Bounty. According to Áras an Uachtaráin, the oldest recipient of the commemorative coin last year was an Irish-born US woman aged 111 and last year marked the largest number of recipients of this special award. There is much to celebrate in the lives of these remarkable older people but while turning 100 was once a novelty according to research it is something set to become even more common.
In the UK research by The Kings Fund in 2013 predicted that 4 in 10 baby girls born today will live to 100. This increase in centenarians is symptomatic of a larger trend of people living longer. This rise in life expectancy is a success story attributable to better health care and living conditions and we now look forward to a future with a greater number of older people in society. This change means altering how we view society and how we plan for a better future for all and is reflected in the work of CARDI as laid out in its new strategy. As we come to terms with an ageing population we should rightly celebrate growing longevity but also focus on making longer lives healthy and fulfilling for all.