Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Living Well to 100

Find out why the number of centenarians is on the rise.

WebMD Feature

Is a person "old" at age 67? Yes, according to a survey of American adults earlier this year made by AARP, the nation's largest advocacy group for older persons.

But what if the typical senior still had 30 years of good physical and mental health left at that age?

Recommended Related to Healthy Seniors

Caring for Parents, Keeping Them Healthy

Sound Body, Sound Mind When caring for an older adult, it's important not to overlook routine care -- stuff that seems obvious but that may not be on your radar. Here is a rundown of what to keep in mind. Everyone needs regular checkups. But some older adults (and young ones, too) reason that since they just saw the doctor last month about that sinus problem, they don't need to go again. A visit to the doctor for a specific problem, however, doesn't take the place of a complete checkup. Make...

Read the Caring for Parents, Keeping Them Healthy article > >

For a small but growing number of people, that question is more than hypothetical. The number of centenarians -- people who are 100 years or older -- in the United States has grown 60% since 1990, to about 61,000 people, and will continue to increase in coming decades, according to the Census Bureau. In another 10 years, the number will more than double to over 130,000 people, and it's expected to double yet again to 274,000 in 2025.

Illness Not Always Typical

"Research on centenarians is challenging myths about aging, such as that the older you get, the sicker you have to be," says Thomas Perls, MD, a geriatrician and director of the New England Centenarian Study at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Perls and others who are studying the lives of centenarians have found that many have avoided the common chronic illnesses and diseases associated with old age, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.

"Many were relatively healthy well into their 90s. About 15 percent live independently, and about 30 percent are cognitively intact, with the rest displaying a range of mild to severe cognitive impairments," says Perls.

Although centenarians are extraordinary examples of how one can live a long, healthylife, says Perls, "we believe that the vast number of people have genes that will allow them to live to at least 85 years old. People who take appropriate preventive steps may enjoy as many as 10 additional quality years."

The New England Centenarian Study -- which includes more than 200 people in and around the Boston area -- is the subject of a recent book by Perls and two colleagues, "Living to 100: Lessons in Living to Your Maximum Potential at Any Age."

Better Health Habits

Besides their ability to resist disease -- perhaps due to good genes -- centenarians tend to have good health habits. Leonard W. Poon, PhD, director of the Georgia Centenarian Study at the University of Georgia in Athens, says his center's studies show centenarians remained active throughout their lives and smoked, drank, and ate less than other people.

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing