Getting old is still the best way to live a long time, ”is a dictum attributed to the Viennese poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

There is a lot of sadness about it.

Everyone wants to grow old, nobody wants to be old.

"Old age is a disease in itself," the Latins knew.

Rainer Hank

Freelance writer in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

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In the meantime, the all-clear can be given: Being old has never been as beautiful as it is today. And never before have people had so much time to grow old. This is due to the many extra years that we have left to live. In just over a century we have gained around thirty years. At the beginning of the 20th century, the life expectancy of women in Germany was 48 and that of men 45 years. Today it is 82 and 77 years. While around 1900 the then sixty-year-olds still had twelve to fourteen years to live, today they can count on 21 (men) and 25 years (women) gain in life.

They are given years. Between one and a half and three and a half years - depending on whether you come across a defensive or courageous researcher - our life expectancy increases every decade. In absolute terms, the Germans are not even top: In a European comparison, the French take first place (because of wine and cheese?). Half of French babies born in 2007 can expect to be 104 years old. In an international comparison, Japan is right at the front (because of sushi?), Where there are now most of the centenarians in the world. Today it is no longer the declining child mortality that is responsible for the gain in life, but the longevity of those over sixty. That women are statistically older than men,Incidentally, it seems to be not only a result of their healthier and less stressful life, but the blueprint of biology. This has been shown by studies of monks and nuns, whose everyday life - a constant alternation of ora and labora, praying and working - is almost identical.

Is there a biological life limit?

The question of whether there is a biological limit to life is hotly debated.

Many geriatric biologists have agreed that at 125 years of age is over once and for all.

“Nonsense,” say other age researchers.

“In theory, our lifespan could grow endlessly”, claims the internationally renowned expert James Vaupel, who heads the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock.

Today nobody can (yet) know who is right: Jeanne Calment from Arles, officially the oldest person in world history, died in 1997 at the age of 122 years, five months and 14 days.

The southern French woman from Arles traced her biblical age back to the consumption of olive oil, garlic, vegetables and a daily glass of port wine.

Keywords: life, disease, age, dementia, nursing care, generation 60plus, women, way, dictum, triumphs, mankind, literature tips, tables, texts, poet