Everyone gets old, that’s just a fact of life. However, some senior citizens defy all the things we have come to expect from the older generation. Anna Levushkina, an 89-year-old surgeon, continues to operate on patients in her home city of Ryazan despite her advanced age. Anna Levushkina, who is believed to be the world’s practicing oldest surgeon, has no problem going to the operating table and taking control of even the most complicated procedures. Her nurses and assitants don’t seem to bat an eye as the elderly woman gives orders and makes the incisions. Levushkina reportedly began working as a surgeon right after she finished her medical studies in Moscow right around 1948, just a few years after Hitler’s armies were pushed out of Russia. She has worked as a octogenarian surgeon for more than 68 years, during which she has conducted more than 10,000 operations.
WANT to live to 100? You should probably take a look at where you live.
Many Australians are underestimating their lifespans because they ignore their education, wealth or even their suburb, longevity specialists say.
Consulting actuary Melanie Dunn told Self Managed Super Fund Association national conference in Melbourne today that researchers in Britain had found that people living in high socio-economic areas lived up to nine years longer than those in poorer suburbs.
“That’s been thought to correlate to levels of wealth,” she said.
US researchers had found the life expectancy gap between university graduates and those who didn’t finish high school also was nine years, said Ms Dunn, a SMSF technical services manager at Accurium.
“How long you are going to live depends on your personal characteristics, your environment, your decisions and lifestyle, and a bit of luck.”
As the odds of reaching 100 rise rapidly, a man aged 63 today has a greater chance of living to 97 than he does of dying at the average male life expectancy age of 84, and women live a few years longer.
Ms Dunn said many people based their expected lifespan on when their parents or grandparents died, but this was often underestimating because they did not allow for improvements in health and wealth.
Peter Crump, an iPac private client adviser, said it was unwise to base your life expectancy on grandparents who may have worked in coal mines.
“What you do in your life influences how long you are likely to live,” he said.
Mr Crump said it was a good idea to talk about longevity with family members and advisers, to help prevent money running out.
Unless they are prepared to rely on the age pension, people’s assets are going to have to last for 30, 40 or more years.
“We have a relatively fragile superannuation system. If people are living longer it means the age pension system isn’t going to cope in 10, 20 or 30 years time without significantly paring back,” Mr Crump said.