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  1. All, I was quite surprised to see in this study [1] posted by Al (thanks Al!) that among a population of nearly 1500 elderly people (age 75-96), two thirds said they didn't want to live to see 100. And these folks were apparently not institutionalized, but instead were "community dwelling" and recruited randomly by mail from the Helsinki's population registry. So they should have been a pretty good sample of older folks, if anything skewed towards being healthier than average rather than decrepit since they were able to respond to the survey. The two factors that correlated most strongly with desiring to make centenarian status were being male and being in good subjectively-reported health - so most of us have that goin' for us. For those who said no to the question of living to 100, their reasons were a litany of complaints about life and old age - pretty depressing actually: Among those not wishing to live to be 100, by far the largest proportion gave anticipatory explanations, seeming to believe that disease or poor functioning would be inevitable in a long life (n = 226): ‘Too many diseases!’ ‘Probably I would be too frail’ (Table 3). Emerging attitudes were mainly pessimistic. Many of the participants seemed to experience that life is meaningless (n = 111), ‘Not worth living’, or they conveyed indifference (n = 82) or even bitterness (n = 72): ‘Pointless suffering’; ‘Society is so cruel’. In addition, these old people were concerned about being a burden to others (n = 96): ‘It is a strain on yourself and your loved ones’. Some people expressed more positive attitudes, such as integrity (n = 16) or belief (n = 10): ‘I have led a rich life’; ‘I’m grateful every day’. In addition to rational reasons or attitudes, fear of the future was the third theme. Fear of loss of autonomy was striking (n = 98): ‘I’m afraid of frailty and helplessness’. Also loneliness (n = 23) and pain (n = 17) fed fear of the future. It shows how important it is to maintain one's health and especially a positive attitude. Obviously it's not so easy for the vast majority of people, at least in Finland - which is ironic, because Finland is perennially recognized as one of the happiest countries on Earth (#5 of 157), and it appears Finland has a darn good safety net for the elderly. I'm frightened to know what a survey of oldsters from the US (ranked #13) would reveal... --Dean --------- [1] Do you want to live to be 100? Answers from older people. Karppinen H, Laakkonen ML, Strandberg TE, Huohvanainen EA, Pitkala KH. Age Ageing. 2016 Apr 13. pii: afw059. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27076523 http://sci-hub.io/10.1093/ageing/afw059 Abstract BACKGROUND: little is known about the oldest-olds' views on ageing. OBJECTIVE: to investigate older people's desire and the reasons they give for wanting to live to 100. DESIGN: a postal questionnaire, analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. SETTING: population based in Helsinki, Finland. SUBJECTS: a random sample (response rate 64%;N= 1,405) of community-dwelling older people (aged 75-96). METHODS: a structured self-completed questionnaire with an open-ended question on the reasons why/why not participants wished/did not wish to live to 100. RESULTS: one-third (32.9%) of home-dwelling older people wanted to live to be 100. Those who did were older, more often male and self-rated their health better than those who did not. Often the desire for long life was conditional: 'Yes, if I stay healthy'. Among the reasons is that many were curious to see what would happen. Many stated that they loved life, they had twinkle in their eye or significant life roles. Those who did not want to live extremely long lives gave various rationales: they would become disabled, life would be meaningless, they were reluctant to become a burden to others or they feared loss of autonomy or suffering pain or loneliness. Some people also shared the view that they should not intervene in destiny or they felt that they had accomplished what they wanted in life. CONCLUSIONS: one-third of the oldest-old participants wanted to live to 100. Identifying what motivated them to desire long life could be a resource in their care plans. KEYWORDS: centenarian; older people; oldest-old; qualitative; will-to-live