For the first time, more than 1,000 Norwegians are more than 100 years old. The number of people celebrating and surpassing their 100th birthdays has doubled in the past decade.
Experts on ageing told newspaper Aftenposten recently that people who grow so old generally have an optimistic personality and an ability to never give up, despite the odds. Margareth Bondevik, a semi-retired assistant professor at the University of Bergen who’s in her 80s herself, said her research lends credence to “survival of the fittest:” Those who are most adaptable tend to live the longest.
“There’s something in common with their personalities,” Bondevik told Aftenposten. And while 80- and 90-year-olds can have a hard time with the loss of friends, adjusting to old age and feeling like a burden on society, those aged 100 and above have already adjusted and are met with respect.
Karl Skytterholm of Ålesund, who turned 100 in January, is careful about offering any recipes for a long life but noted that he never had a driver’s license and walked or cycled almost everywhere. “I cycled back and forth to work at a window manufacturer for 38 years,” he told Aftenposten. “I’ve always been healthy. I cycled until I was 95.”
State statistics bureau SSB reports there were 729 women and 157 men over 100 in Norway as of January 1 and a record number of more than 600 99-year-olds pushed the total over 1,000 during the first quarter. More than 40 people in Norway are older than 105.