Did you know that the numbers of people reaching their centenary have increased by 73% over the decade to 2012? And they are still increasing. In terms of actual numbers, there were 7,740 centenarians living in 2002, but by 2012 there were 13,350.
So, how many of us will reach the grand old age of 100? Well, I have just returned from Bristol where my mother celebrated her 100th birthday.
Born in 1914 just before the start of the First World War, and married just before the start of the Second World War, she has seen many changes during her lifetime. She has lived in an era of greater simplicity which was more labour-intensive, and with fewer modern appliances than there are now – no washing machines, dishwashers, TV, computers and much more. In her earlier years laundry was done in the sink, the clothes were boiled in boilers situated in an outhouse, she used scrubbing boards and wringers, and although domestic refrigerators were invented in 1913, they were an unknown luxury in her day. She was always fascinated by gadgets, but the ones she bought were simpler, like the battery operated fan she used when the weather was hot. She now lives in the electronic age with more labour saving devices and gadgets than were previously available. Her younger self would have been amazed.
The party was a gathering of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren and several five generation photographs were taken, my own family included. Oh, and she danced at her own party.
|Enjoying a dance|
My hope is that the genes I share with her include the long life ones particularly as she is still reasonably fit and able for her age. She lives independently, cooks, does her own laundry, and gets about the house without the help of walking aids, although she occasionally uses a walking stick. Admittedly she takes a shopping trolley with wheels for support when she goes outside, and her hearing is not quite so sharp, but otherwise she has all her mental faculties.
I wonder if I will get a birthday card from the Queen? Here’s hoping.