A kid born today in Europe, Japan or the U.S. has a better than 50-50 chance of making it to their 100th birthday.
Health care keeps getting better, and researchers are finding new ways of slowing aging, like blocking the action of a protein that controls food intake, allowing a calorie-restricted diet without pain.
Blacky (right) came to us in 1996. We were told then she was 18 months old, but shelters will often lie about ages because young dogs are more adoptable.
Blacky proves you can have old age even with a hard start. When we got Blacky she had heartworms, which took multiple treatments to cure, and was constantly afraid. We made her comfortable and she settled down. These days she's blind from cataracts, mostly deaf, but still comfortable. She likes kibble, her dog bed, and when we're eating she walks about the room wagging her tail.
Blacky is not unusual. Many dogs now live to be 15, many cats to 20. Pet food is balanced so most don't get fat. They get regular doctor visits, lots of interesting medications, and they live stress-free, often on soft beds next to windows.
There are lessons here for you, if you are interested in becoming a centenarian yourself.
Limiting your food intake, seeing a doctor regularly, lowering stress, and going for a walk sometime will all help you. No smoking, no binge drinking, don't run away, and you can join your best friend in the old pet's home, to the great annoyance of your heirs.
And if your grandchildren start life with that self-discipline they will live even longer.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com