Centenarians, the New Generation

Centenarians, the New Generation

Centenarians, the New Generation

Centenarians, the New Generation


In this landmark study by the late pioneer gerontological researcher Dr. B. B. Beard, more than 500 centenarians describe, in their own words, the lives and attitudes that create successful survivors. The 5-part volume is based on the most extensive collection of data on centenarians to date and uses material from 555 case studies that centers on health, education, social status, work, philosophy, romance, and individuality. It contains unexpected findings in the areas of social relationships and social environments.


This book is an optimistic book because it presents for the first time the true value of centenarians as an important segment of society. The book has two major reasons for being.

The most important reason is to honor centenarians. Centenarians contributed to my study, to my increased knowledge, and to society as a whole in ways far more significant than I had dreamed they would. The more I became involved, the more certain I became that they had a special something that defied easy definition. They revealed a tried and true individuality tempered, like steel, under the heat and pressure of life over time. In 100 years or more, each one by his own thinking and doing gained a way of life, highly individualistic but adding to the patterns underlying the strength of this oldest of generations.

The second reason is to present the substance of which longevity is made, centenarians' thinking, feeling, believing, and doing while surviving successfully. What are the specifics, the patterns, the attitudes, and values that stabilized this "rising" generation? Whatever is true and basic to their success story can and should be carefully considered by others and by social agencies as, perhaps, invaluable indicators of a future. For the future is what life is about, isn't it?

This book serves five purposes: (1) it pictures what life is like in one's second century, not for a few individuals, but for thousands; (2) it describes the performance demonstrated at the highest verified age limits; (3) it demonstrates the durability, recoverability, and adjustability of the physical organism and the unquenchable power of the human spirit; (4) it shows that life style, recognition by society, social and psychological coping mechanisms, and philosophy of life can influence longevity; and (5) it reveals other important contributions that this new generation makes to society.

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