SEOUL, July 26 (Korea Bizwire) – A recent study from Statistics Korea revealed that the number of people aged 100 years and older has rapidly increased in recent years.
According to the data, there are currently 3,159 men and women aged 100 years and older residing in Korea, 86.5 percent (2,731) of which are women, which is an increase from 961 in 2005.
The study showed that 73 percent of the centenarians had never smoked or drank alcohol, and 39.4 percent pointed to ‘moderate eating habits’ as their secret to longevity, followed by ‘well-regulated lifestyle’ (18.8 percent) and ‘positive thinking’ (14.4 percent). The data also revealed that one in three of these elderly Koreans also had parents or siblings who lived longer than 84 years.
With regards to health, 60.8 percent were engaged in some sort of self-health management, with 37.4 percent choosing a healthier diet, followed by well-regulated lifestyle (36.2 percent) and walking or exercise (11.7 percent). Most of the respondents avoided drinking and smoking, with 76.7 percent saying that they had never drank alcohol, and 79 percent that they had never smoked.
Around one third of the respondents replied that they think they’re ‘quite healthy’, while 20.2 percent said ‘average’ and 21.8 percent, ‘in poorer health’. In fact, 73.2 percent suffered from chronic illnesses for over three months, with 39.9 percent affected by Alzheimer’s, followed by high blood pressure (28.6 percent) and osteoarthritis (28 percent). Respondents also averaged 1.4 medical visits every month.
The study also looked at cognitive ability, and found that 68.2 percent of the respondents were clearly aware of their own names, 42.6 percent were aware of their age, 28 percent were able to calculate money, and 67.4 percent were able to recognize their children. But only 25.5 percent were able to carry out all four of the above, and almost half (49.1 percent) had difficulties carrying out the ‘six normal life activities’ – eating, sitting and standing, changing clothes, making phone calls, basic household chores, purchasing household items and taking medicine.
In terms of their living situation, 44.6 percent lived with other family members, a decrease from 57.1 percent in 2010. In contrast, the percentage living in senior care centers such as nursing homes increased from 19.2 percent to 43.1 percent.
When it came to hobbies and daily activities, 38.5 percent of respondents reported watching TV or listening to the radio as part of their daily routine. Less than 20 percent engaged in regular social interaction, such as meeting friends (8.8 percent) and visiting community centers (6.4 percent). Only 50.7 percent engaged in such daily activities.
The social component of the centenarians’ lives might be cause for concern, with 43.1 percent saying they met their family members, neighbors, or relatives once or less per month, and only 14.4 percent reporting more than 10 social interactions per month. On average, the respondents reported 4.7 encounters per month.
Happiness levels were also low, with only 34.4 percent saying they were happy with their current lives (44.4 percent of men and 32.9 percent of women) while 46.6 percent said ‘average’ and 14.3 percent, ‘unhappy’.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)