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World’s oldest person dies in Japan at age of 117
Nabi Tajima was born on Aug. 4, 1900, and reportedly had more than 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren.


Nabi Tajima, the world's oldest person, died of old age, at 117, in a hospital Saturday evening in Kikai, Japan. (KIKAI TOWN/KYODO NEWS / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
By The Associated Press
Sat., April 21, 2018

TOKYO—The world’s oldest person, a 117-year-old Japanese woman, has died.

Nabi Tajima died of old age in a hospital Saturday evening in the town of Kikai in southern Japan, town official Susumu Yoshiyuki confirmed. She had been hospitalized since January.
 

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My guess is that when you've lived to 117, you've probably run out of everything else a person might die from. They went through the whole list of possibilities, and the only things left were murder, suicide,and "old age".
 

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Talk about dodging the bullet
 

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Counter-productive attitude.

The secret to a satisfying life is to change the yardstick you use to measure it by. One's 20's and 30's are absolute shit, no matter how much nookie and money you get or how much fun you have, if measured by the yardstick of being 6, just as one's 40's and 50's are shit, measured by the yardstick of high school and college age. The 9th, 10th, and (if you're lucky enough) 11th decades are not to be measured by the 6th and 7th decades.

Mind you, about 15 years back, I was sent to attend senior management meetings as a "development" exercise. After attending a few with the VP and senior directors, my own manager asked me how I liked it. I replied "I could have 5 of the most painful cancers known to medicine, and I would still declare 'lord, please let me live another day to see my wife's and my children's faces'. But every time I go to one of those meetings, my first thought is 'I'm ready, lord, take me now!' ".

As for "dying of old age", clearly that is a lazy diagnosis, whose underlying meaning is "We don't know, and feel there is not much to be gained by attempting to find out."
 

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Counter-productive attitude.

The secret to a satisfying life is to change the yardstick you use to measure it by. One's 20's and 30's are absolute shit, no matter how much nookie and money you get or how much fun you have, if measured by the yardstick of being 6, just as one's 40's and 50's are shit, measured by the yardstick of high school and college age. The 9th, 10th, and (if you're lucky enough) 11th decades are not to be measured by the 6th and 7th decades.

Mind you, about 15 years back, I was sent to attend senior management meetings as a "development" exercise. After attending a few with the VP and senior directors, my own manager asked me how I liked it. I replied "I could have 5 of the most painful cancers known to medicine, and I would still declare 'lord, please let me live another day to see my wife's and my children's faces'. But every time I go to one of those meetings, my first thought is 'I'm ready, lord, take me now!' ".

As for "dying of old age", clearly that is a lazy diagnosis, whose underlying meaning is "We don't know, and feel there is not much to be gained by attempting to find out."
Exactly. Old age is just a term for non-surprising critical failures.

Like my old man always says "something's gotta kill me eventually. Otherwise I'd feel some stupid as an old man laying in a hospital bed dying of nothing."
 

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Awful. Getting an extra 30+ of the worst years of your life.
Fuck that.
When we were in Japan this winter we skied and stayed at a small hotel in the ski village. The owner was proud of his grandfather's sister, who took up painting when she retired and became a sort of Grandma Moses figure. She painted memories of her youth; we have a print with Japanese troops during WWI learning to ski to protect the Japanese Alps from a possible invasion from Russia! She died at 112, and the owner didn't regard this as extraordinary -- there are lots of centenarians in Japan. But she painted as long as she could and was honoured in her family. Doesn't seem so bad to me, if you are healthy enough and happy.
 

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Centenarians and super centenarians dont have shitty old age. They are generally very healthy and have full cognition up until the last few days of their life. Its the ones who die well before that have shitty years when they get old. Alot of Centenarians drink, smoke and party harty. The funny thing is if you take someone from Japan and have them live the typical Canadian lifestyle they become the shitty old. If you take someone here and have them live a Japanese lifestyle they get cured of their western crappy old age. Of course its not simple, Science of aging is very complex and very interesting. At least I find it interesting..........

 

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What kills any of us ? Being born ! :)
Seriously, a normal life is composed of a bit of possibly everything, some good, some bad to diverse degrees.
Besides that, as a rule of the thumb "normal" north american aging alter kidney function so that it decreases to 50% by sixty years of age and only 25% by age eighty.
Last year I played golf with an 83 years old formerly well trained guy who has to drink a sip of water on every tee to prevent low blood pressure syncope from dehydration as he already suffered twice before his doctor advised him to drink water regularly. I understand he is kind of a little bird on a rotten tree branch though he seems well and still plays as a 15 golf handicapper grunting as he miss a par ! :)
I have never seen an alcoholic with blunted arteries unless they were also heavy cigarette smokers but many had liver cirrhosis or chronic pancreatitis, which were chronic, eventually lethal, diseases or cerebral hemorrage.
So, I hope my almost daily glass(es !) of red wine or so, much vegetables to counterbalance some great steaks, will help me spend great long retiree years, as I had nice childhood, studied hard for almost 10 years in university, worked hard for many many years, got some social adverse outcomes but never got sick (touching wooden armchair here, ever avoiding crossing black cats path or walk under ladders, but loving Friday 13th !).
So (reasonable) work does not kill... especially if you love your work.
Felix Leclerc sang : "La meilleure façon de tuer un homme, c'est de l'empêcher de travailler "
(Loose translation : Best way to kill a man is keeping him away from work).
Felix used to be lumberjack before his singer/composer career launched mid 20th century.
 

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Centenarians and super centenarians dont have shitty old age. They are generally very healthy and have full cognition up until the last few days of their life. Its the ones who die well before that have shitty years when they get old. Alot of Centenarians drink, smoke and party harty. The funny thing is if you take someone from Japan and have them live the typical Canadian lifestyle they become the shitty old. If you take someone here and have them live a Japanese lifestyle they get cured of their western crappy old age. Of course its not simple, Science of aging is very complex and very interesting. At least I find it interesting..........
It is always worth remembering that many, if not most, of the people who were born in the same year as someone 100 or older, likely never made it past age 5. We keep forgetting that, unless expressed in terms of only people who have reached a particular age, average life expectancy is calculated using the ages of those who died from pediatric illnesses in addition to those who have lived surprisingly long lives. As such, and based on our best records, derived from both hospital records, historic cemetaries, and similar, increases in average life expectancy are generally shaped by changes to infant and childhood mortality, even more than by people living to very old ages. While not biblical lengths, people have always lived to very old ages...just not very many of them.

What this implies is that, when you see someone 95 and older, they are pretty much the creme de la creme of their birth cohort; the hardiest of their generation. The rest of us, myself included, were essentially snuck through those earlier fragile years by dint of things like vaccinations, better public control of contagious diseases, improvements to prenatal care and nutrition, refrigeration of food, larger living spaces (so no one was sneezing on your lunch), antibiotics, etc. If we live past 70, it's not in spite of modern medicine, but because of it.

Many people look at human longevity, as if there is something erroneous about dying; as if, with proper maintenance, you can squeeze out 120 years or more, the same way some folks get 500,000km out of a car. Myself, I look around at many other species. Many of them have exceedingly short lifespans, despite sharing so many metabolic and physiological processes in common with us. When viewed through that lens, I am prompted to ask "Why do we live as long as we do? Why live to 70?". For me, the answer is found in examining viability of offspring. Humans have long childhoods, relative to other species, and also reach reproductive maturity later than many other species. Of course, when a species is like turtles or fish, laying hundreds if not thousands of eggs at once, survival and proliferation of the species is a simple numbers game. As Bob Dylan once sang "I may not get there, but my baby will". ( It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry | The Official Bob Dylan Site ) Where a species has very few offspring at a time, and doesn't just keep pumping them out (that's where long childhoods come into play), it takes considerable investment on the part of adults, to make sure those offspring reach maturity themselves, and are successful reproducers.

So let's do the math. Peak human reproduction years will extend from late teens to maybe 35 or so, with later and earlier starts and finish points in there. Sustainability of the species is not really achieved unless that second generation successfully reproduces. In other words, it's the viability of the 2nd and 3rd generation that matters. Okay, so we have roughly 35 years for the first batch to successfully squeeze out kids, and we add another 30 years on top of that for the 2nd generation to do so as well. But we need to be sure that 3rd generation makes it. And, as happens with humans, in addition to a number of other species, grandparents and other similar-aged adults, who are not occupied with tending to their own offspring (because human's reproductive capability has only a modest time window), are in a great position to assist with tending to that 3rd generation.

Typing it all together, it strikes me that humans live long enough to have been grandparents and provide the caregiving and related support that enables that 3rd generation to safely pass through the riskiest early years. That doesn't mean everybody lives that long, or has offspring. But it means that our genetic inheritance selects for all those little cellular repair mechanisms that permit us to live long enough to "do our duty for the species". In that light, dying at 68 or 73 is not the "biological mistake", living to 107 is. Living to 75 or 80 seems about right. We are roughly "designed" to live that long the same way fruit flies are genetically prediposed to live about a month and a half, lay their eggs and die.

As for the respect that older adults receive in Japan or elsewhere, I encourage you to see the Japanese film "The Ballad of Narayama" ( The Ballad of Narayama (1983 film) - Wikipedia ). In it, a Japanese village has a custom that, at age 70, a person is obliged to ascend a local mountain, and die there, such that there will be enough food to go around for the village.

During my doctoral program (in aging and adult development), we had a social historian come speak to us about the history of old age in the west. One of the things he noted was that, prior to the Industrial Revolution, examination of public records indicated that, when people lied about their age, they tended to do so in an upward direction; claiming to be older than the actually were. Once a person's livelihood began to depend on working for an employer in town or the city, and not on the family farm, veneration of the elderly showed a sharp decline, because you weren't necessarily going to inherit the family farm by placating and praising them. Indeed, examination of public records showed that lying about one's age now started show the reverse pattern; trying to seem younger than you actually were. And of course, all those powdered white wigs that made everyone look old, largely disappeared.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead pitched a fascinating idea where she proposed that the rate of cultural change would strongly influence affinity and respect for the elderly. Here's a nice summary I found on-line: "Mead distinguished between postfigurative, configurative, and prefigurative cultures (Mead 1970). Cultural transmission in postfigurative cultures is predominantly from the elder to the younger members of a society. Postfigurative cultures are strongly past-oriented, and family honoraria and ancestor veneration ("ancestor worship”) often figure prominently. Configurative cultures, on the other hand, are present-oriented, and cultural transmission is between contemporaries (Mead 1970, 32). Configurative cultures such as the youth culture of the 1960s and '70s, according to Mead, arise when a postfigurative culture breaks down; they are, to Mead, transitional and short-lived. Mead predicted the evolution of a new kind of culture that she called prefigurative. Prefigurative culture is future-oriented, and cultural transmission is predominantly from the youth to their elders." In a sense, when a culture is stable over time, the most valuable sources of information and knowledge are those who have been in the culture longest. As cultures change faster and faster, recency of one's knowledge begins to trump the accumulation of knowledge. So, in more traditional cultures, elders are valued more, while in more technoligically-driven cultures undergoing rapid change, elders matter much much less.
 

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It is always worth remembering that many, if not most, of the people who were born in the same year as someone 100 or older, likely never made it past age 5. We keep forgetting that, unless expressed in terms of only people who have reached a particular age, average life expectancy is calculated using the ages of those who died from pediatric illnesses in addition to those who have lived surprisingly long lives. As such, and based on our best records, derived from both hospital records, historic cemetaries, and similar, increases in average life expectancy are generally shaped by changes to infant and childhood mortality, even more than by people living to very old ages. While not biblical lengths, people have always lived to very old ages...just not very many of them.

What this implies is that, when you see someone 95 and older, they are pretty much the creme de la creme of their birth cohort; the hardiest of their generation. The rest of us, myself included, were essentially snuck through those earlier fragile years by dint of things like vaccinations, better public control of contagious diseases, improvements to prenatal care and nutrition, refrigeration of food, larger living spaces (so no one was sneezing on your lunch), antibiotics, etc. If we live past 70, it's not in spite of modern medicine, but because of it.

Many people look at human longevity, as if there is something erroneous about dying; as if, with proper maintenance, you can squeeze out 120 years or more, the same way some folks get 500,000km out of a car. Myself, I look around at many other species. Many of them have exceedingly short lifespans, despite sharing so many metabolic and physiological processes in common with us. When viewed through that lens, I am prompted to ask "Why do we live as long as we do? Why live to 70?". For me, the answer is found in examining viability of offspring. Humans have long childhoods, relative to other species, and also reach reproductive maturity later than many other species. Of course, when a species is like turtles or fish, laying hundreds if not thousands of eggs at once, survival and proliferation of the species is a simple numbers game. As Bob Dylan once sang "I may not get there, but my baby will". ( It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry | The Official Bob Dylan Site ) Where a species has very few offspring at a time, and doesn't just keep pumping them out (that's where long childhoods come into play), it takes considerable investment on the part of adults, to make sure those offspring reach maturity themselves, and are successful reproducers.

So let's do the math. Peak human reproduction years will extend from late teens to maybe 35 or so, with later and earlier starts and finish points in there. Sustainability of the species is not really achieved unless that second generation successfully reproduces. In other words, it's the viability of the 2nd and 3rd generation that matters. Okay, so we have roughly 35 years for the first batch to successfully squeeze out kids, and we add another 30 years on top of that for the 2nd generation to do so as well. But we need to be sure that 3rd generation makes it. And, as happens with humans, in addition to a number of other species, grandparents and other similar-aged adults, who are not occupied with tending to their own offspring (because human's reproductive capability has only a modest time window), are in a great position to assist with tending to that 3rd generation.

Typing it all together, it strikes me that humans live long enough to have been grandparents and provide the caregiving and related support that enables that 3rd generation to safely pass through the riskiest early years. That doesn't mean everybody lives that long, or has offspring. But it means that our genetic inheritance selects for all those little cellular repair mechanisms that permit us to live long enough to "do our duty for the species". In that light, dying at 68 or 73 is not the "biological mistake", living to 107 is. Living to 75 or 80 seems about right. We are roughly "designed" to live that long the same way fruit flies are genetically prediposed to live about a month and a half, lay their eggs and die.

As for the respect that older adults receive in Japan or elsewhere, I encourage you to see the Japanese film "The Ballad of Narayama" ( The Ballad of Narayama (1983 film) - Wikipedia ). In it, a Japanese village has a custom that, at age 70, a person is obliged to ascend a local mountain, and die there, such that there will be enough food to go around for the village.

During my doctoral program (in aging and adult development), we had a social historian come speak to us about the history of old age in the west. One of the things he noted was that, prior to the Industrial Revolution, examination of public records indicated that, when people lied about their age, they tended to do so in an upward direction; claiming to be older than the actually were. Once a person's livelihood began to depend on working for an employer in town or the city, and not on the family farm, veneration of the elderly showed a sharp decline, because you weren't necessarily going to inherit the family farm by placating and praising them. Indeed, examination of public records showed that lying about one's age now started show the reverse pattern; trying to seem younger than you actually were. And of course, all those powdered white wigs that made everyone look old, largely disappeared.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead pitched a fascinating idea where she proposed that the rate of cultural change would strongly influence affinity and respect for the elderly. Here's a nice summary I found on-line: "Mead distinguished between postfigurative, configurative, and prefigurative cultures (Mead 1970). Cultural transmission in postfigurative cultures is predominantly from the elder to the younger members of a society. Postfigurative cultures are strongly past-oriented, and family honoraria and ancestor veneration ("ancestor worship”) often figure prominently. Configurative cultures, on the other hand, are present-oriented, and cultural transmission is between contemporaries (Mead 1970, 32). Configurative cultures such as the youth culture of the 1960s and '70s, according to Mead, arise when a postfigurative culture breaks down; they are, to Mead, transitional and short-lived. Mead predicted the evolution of a new kind of culture that she called prefigurative. Prefigurative culture is future-oriented, and cultural transmission is predominantly from the youth to their elders." In a sense, when a culture is stable over time, the most valuable sources of information and knowledge are those who have been in the culture longest. As cultures change faster and faster, recency of one's knowledge begins to trump the accumulation of knowledge. So, in more traditional cultures, elders are valued more, while in more technoligically-driven cultures undergoing rapid change, elders matter much much less.
You'd so be fired if you were an engineer. They have a short attention span and you write a lot. I'm usually in bed or pooping before I'm guaranteed to have enough time to get through reading your posts! ;)
 

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You'd so be fired if you were an engineer. They have a short attention span and you write a lot. I usually in bed or pooping before I'm guaranteed to have enough time to get through reading your posts! ;)
Nonsense. Engineers would pay him to write for them, as they can barely string together a simple sentence on paper.
 

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Interesting read; thanks for taking the time to post it.
Thanks. There's a whole lot about age that we tend not to think about, until we get there, or until we study it specifically.
I always like to say that the study of aging is the decathalon of psychology, because understanding older adults requires one to know social history, economic history, their work history, their childhood, their personality, their health, their education, their past and current culture, their financial situation, their family, and a lot more. Studying babies, children, or adolescents is a whole lot easier and simpler. People just get more and more complicated and multidetermined as they get older, so even folks who study later adulthood can find themselves going "Riiiiiiggghhhht, I didn't think of that." now and again.
 
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