Old People Can Be So Cute
Please enjoy this adorable CBS 60 Minutes special on people who live past 90.
Lesley Stahl: Clean living, huh?
Sid Shero: No.
Lesley Stahl: No? Not clean living.
Sid Shero: I don’t know what clean living is.
Lesley Stahl: What about alcohol?
Jane Whistler: Sure, I love wine.
There’s science as a side-dish too. Some of the findings are very much as expected. Smoking kills. Exercise sustains. Even light exercise: three hours a day is not better than 45 minutes. Wine and coffee/caffeine in moderation are GREAT: “Up to two drinks a day led to a 10-15 percent reduced risk of death compared to non-drinkers.” Vitamins do squat, so save your money for more wine. And dessert! “People who were overweight or average weight both outlived people who were underweight.”
60 Minutes does not mention that it also helps to be rich. According to US News:
Wealth and, more broadly, socioeconomic status, play a powerful role in determining how long we live. … The longest-running longitudinal study of health, run by George Vaillant, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, found education to be one of the biggest determinants of longevity, along with behavioral factors—excessive drinkers were more likely to die young, for example. Out of the 500-plus Harvard students and inner-city Boston men the study has followed since 1937, the Harvard students lived an average of 10 years longer than the inner-city men, says Vaillant. In fact, 3 in 10 of the Harvard students lived to 90, compared to the 3 to 5 percent one would expect from that age group. …
Meanwhile, as income disparities continue to grow in this country, so do life expectancy disparities. According an analysis by from the Social Security Administration, life expectancy for 65-year-old men in the top half of the earnings distribution has increased by five years, to 21.5 more years. For those in the bottom half of the earnings distribution, life expectancy has increased just over one year, to 16.1 more years.
Enough with the downer stuff! More adorable Oldest of the Old quotes!
Claudia Kawas: I really believe that when we learn things from the 90-year-olds. they’re gonna be helping the 60- and 70-year-olds -not just how to become 90-year-olds, but how to do it with style and as good a function as possible.
Lesley Stahl: Well, obviously you’ve already started that by telling us that we should have some wine. That we should have some coffee. Good news–
Claudia Kawas: And socialize.
Lesley Stahl: And socialize.
Claudia Kawas: And exercise.
Lesley Stahl: And gain weight.
Claudia Kawas: And that’s my favorite.
Lesley Stahl: My favorite too, absolutely.
Photo via CBS News