iPods, diet, Betty White may help seniors reach 100

Tue May 4, 2010 8:25am EDT
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By Walden Siew

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Staying in touch with pop culture, the latest trends such as iPods and texting messaging, and a dinner date with actress Betty White are keys to living a long life, according to people who know -- centenarians.

Being socially active, eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough sleep also won't hurt.

"If I could leave any message, never stop learning. Period. That's it," said Maurice Eisman, a centenarian who lives in Maryland.

Eisman was one of 100 centenarians questioned in a poll about the secrets of longevity. Laughter and prayer were also important, along with staying connected to family and friends and keeping up with current events and gadgets.

Eight percent of centenarians said they had sent text or instant messages, compared to one percent last year. And 12 percent are using iPods, four percent more than three years ago, the GfK Roper survey for Evercare showed.

Nearly 100,000 centenarians are living in the United States, and the number is expected to climb to more than 601,000 by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"I think everybody should have something to say in what's going on in their life and not just take everything for granted," said Marie Keeler, 101, from Minnesota.

White, the octogenarian star of a popular Super Bowl commercial, was the top choice of a dinner date for most of the centenarians. She usurped actor Bill Cosby, who was the winner for the past two years.   Continued...

<p>Betty White speaks on stage at the 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, August 30, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>