News24

Centenarians learn to tweet

2009-06-30 09:04

New York - Celebrities and hip adults aren't the only people flocking to Twitter, the social networking site. Even centenarians have learned to tweet.

Three percent of US centenarians questioned in a new survey said they use the service that allows users to send short text messages, or tweets, of up to 140 characters at least once a week to keep in touch with their friends and family.

Another 10% sent emails to stay connected, 12% shared photos on the internet and four percent downloaded music from the web.

"They are using new technologies, staying abreast of news and current events, and engaging in social networking - all of which help to prevent chronic illnesses and contribute to greater longevity," said Dr Mark Leenay, the senior medical director and vice president of clinical affairs at Evercare, said in a statement.

The results of the survey of 100 centenarians commissioned by Evercare, one of the nation's largest care coordination programmes, challenge the stereotypes of ageing.

Forget passing the day in a rocking chair. Fifty percent of centenarians keep fit by walking or hiking, 8% prefer cycling and 3% break into a jog or run. One percent said they have tried Nintendo's Wii Fit.

Videogames and iPods

More than a quarter said they chatted on a cellphone at least once a week.

To keep their minds as agile as their bodies, 19% played a musical instrument or turned to a musical video game for entertainment or a mental workout.

Nearly 65% would dine with comedian Bill Cosby if given the opportunity to invite a celebrity to dinner.

If stranded on a desert island, 2% said they would want an iPod with them.

Evercare said the findings support the belief that a person's longevity is based primarily on a person's lifestyle rather than genetics.

More than 84 000 centenarians are living in the United States today.

The number is expected to increase to 580 000 by 2040, according to figures from the US Census Bureau.