Lifespan to Age 130? Researchers Say It is Coming!

Read Time: 4:49
Published: Aug 13th, 2021
Lifespan to Age 130? Research Says It is Coming!

There are more and more people celebrating their 100th birthday than ever before. The United Nations says there are over 500,000 centenarians at last count, four times the previous count in 1990. Forecasts indicate that the planet will be home to 3.7 million people aged 100 or more by 2050.

New research says that lifespans of 125 years, or even 130 years, will be possible by the end of the century. The slow but steady growth of longevity has already started and has many implications on families and finances. 

People Living Over 100 or More?

According to new research by the University of Washington, this extreme longevity will likely continue to rise slowly by the end of this century.

"People are fascinated by the extremes of humanity, whether it's going to the moon, how fast someone can run in the Olympics, or even how long someone can live," said lead author Michael Pearce, a UW doctoral student in statistics. 

Experts have long questioned the possible limits to what is referred to as the maximum reported age at death. While some scientists argue that disease and basic cell deterioration lead to a natural limit on human lifespan, others maintain there is no cap, as evidenced by record-breaking supercentenarians.

Would You Want to Live to 130?

Most people want a long life, but 100 or more? People are living to age 100 now and on the extreme to age 110 or even longer. The oldest living person, Jeanne Calment of France, was 122 when she died in 1997; currently, the world's oldest person is 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan.

Among the findings of the University of Washington research include:

  • Researchers estimated near 100% probability that the current record of maximum reported age at death — 122 years, 164 days — will be broken;
  • The probability remains strong of a person living longer - to 124 years old (99% probability) and even to 127 years old (68% probability);
  • An even longer lifespan is possible but much less likely, with a 13% probability of someone living to age 130;
  • It is "extremely unlikely" that someone would live to 135 in this century.

"It doesn't matter how old they are; once they reach 110, they still die at the same rate," said Adrian Raftery, a professor of sociology and of statistics at the University of Washington.

"They've gotten past all the various things life throws at you, such as disease. They die for reasons that are somewhat independent of what affects younger people. This is a very select group of very robust people," Raftery said.

Where Do Centenarians Live?

According to the Pew Research Center, the United States leads the world now in terms of the sheer number of centenarians, followed by Japan, China, India, and Italy.

The population of those ages 80 and older – the oldest segments of the 65+ population – has grown more rapidly than the younger segments, aged 65-79, since 1990.

Improved life expectancies drive this faster growth among those 65 and older. The U.S. Census Bureau says older adults should outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history by 2035. Already, the middle-aged outnumber children.

America's Age Balance is Shifting 

Those aged 65 should total 77.0 million in 2035, while children under age 18 will number 76.5 million. The number of potential family caregivers will continue to drop. Today, 40% of Americans have provided long-term care services to an older family member or friend. As America's population of those aged 65+ doubles in the coming decades, as expected, the demand for long-term health care will also increase.

Unpaid family caregivers provide an enormous amount of care. Medicaid, the medical welfare program, will pay for long-term care for those with little or no assets. However, health insurance, including Medicare, pays little or nothing toward extended health care. Unless you own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you will be dependent on your family or personal finances to provide your future care.

Bigger Demand for Long-Term Care Means Bigger Costs

The costs of long-term care services will increase with greater demand. There is more demand for in-home care because of the virus crisis. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator says the national average cost of in-home care, based on an average 44-hour week, is over $53,000 a year today. I twenty-five years, that same in-home care will run over $118,000 a year.

Assisted living, memory care, and nursing home costs will also get more costly with greater demand for services. The base cost for assisted living is nearly the same as in-home costs, but surcharges add to that cost depending on the number of required services. Nursing home utilization has decreased over the years but remains the most expensive, with a national average cost running over $106,000 a year. 

LTC Costs Vary Depending on Where You Live

Remember, the costs of long-term care services vary depending on where you live. For example, in Indianapolis, Indiana, the costs are similar to national averages, although nursing home costs are a bit less. However, in Portland, Oregon, long-term care costs are much more expensive across the board. Home care in Portland is averaging over $64,000 a year. Nursing home averages run over $113,000 in today's dollars.

While advances in medical science allow for more longevity, the greater longevity will increase the need for long-term care services due to illness, accident, or physical and cognitive consequences of aging.

Retirement Planning Must Include Longevity 

Preparing for long-term care has become an essential part of retirement planning. Most experts recommend obtaining coverage when you are younger, ideally in your 40s or 50s, as plans are medically underwritten and priced based on your age when you get coverage in force.

A Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can discuss planning for longevity. Find a licensed and qualified specialist by clicking here.

Be ready to enjoy a long lifespan. Planning for longevity includes a plan for long-term care.

About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

Editor's Note

The best time to prepare family and finances for the future changes in health and aging is before you get older. Health changes often with no notice. Your age and health can impact your ability to plan.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten and priced, in part, by your age and health when you obtain your coverage. Do not delay; act before you retire. The ideal time is when you are in your 40s or 50s.

Research with Resources Available on LTC NEWS

Understanding the financial impact long-term care has on your family and finances is vital for retirement planning. The cost of long-term health care varies depending on where you live.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows you the current and future care costs where you reside. The calculator can help you plan for your future care or help you determine the costs for a loved one who needs care right now.

If you are planning for your future retirement, affordable LTC Insurance should be a critical part of your plan. LTC NEWS offers many resources to help you research to have an intelligent conversation with a specialist to shop and design an affordable plan. 

Start your research by reading The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide

There are tax incentives available as well - Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

Find all the resources by clicking here

Reverse Mortgages Can Be Part of a Plan

If you find most of your assets are tied to your home, today's reverse mortgages might help as the solution for either funding Long-Term Care Insurance or paying for care. Learn more here.

Need Care Now? Need Help with LTC Insurance Claims?

You might have a parent or other family member who needs care now. If they have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Get free assistance in making a claim. 

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation. Click here. You can also obtain help finding caregivers and getting recommendations for a proper plan of care, whether a person has a policy or not.

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LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell
Linda Maxwell

Contributor Since
December 11th, 2017

Former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in.

About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

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