Super centenarians! Number living to 105 doubles in eight years with 640 now reaching grand old age640 Britons have reached 105 compared with 350 in 2002Experts predict Britain's ageing population will continue on the same trendNearly one million pensioners are working in Britain
22:54 GMT, 17 December 2012
The number of people surviving till the age of 105 or more has almost doubled in less than a decade, official figures revealed yesterday.
There are 640 Britons who have reached that grand old age or greater, compared with 350 in 2002, the Office for National Statistics, reveals.
The number of 'super centenarians' – which experts classify as aged 110 or over – were unavailable but are also said to be rising fast.
A healthy age: The number of people living to 100 will continue to rise say experts
Britons may be living longer but elderly people are struggling financially according to latest figures
Experts predict Britain's ageing population will continue on the same trend, with more and more living far longer than their own parents or grandparents.
While the extra years will be welcome to most, many will not have put aside enough to fund a long retirement or the periods of ill-health that can accompany old age.
More are continuing in work after their official retirement date, with many finding that the returns on their pensions are far short of what they had expected.
The majority of the 'super- elderly' are women, who normally live longer than men. Many wives survive their husbands by many years, or even decades.
Of the 640 aged 105 and above in the UK in 2010 – the latest year for which figures are available – 560 are women and 80 are men.
The ONS also said the number of those who are aged 110 or more is rising 'year-on-year' in England and Wales, although it does not have an exact number.
Overall, the figures, published yesterday, show there are 12,640 people in the UK who are aged 100 or over. This is a record and a number that is rising sharply every year because of improved medical treatment, better nutrition and rising living standards.
William Hunter, founder of Hunter Wealth Management, said: 'The old adage about people living for “three score years and ten” is clearly over the hill.
'Britons are healthier and living longer than ever before. But our finances are in much less rude health.
'As we live longer, pension companies are being forced to pay out for longer, and have of course passed those costs on.'
Many pensioners prefer to stay active in their old age and choose to go back to work
Annuities – the income for life paid out by an insurance firm when you cash in your pension pot – have dropped dramatically, forcing many older people to keep on working.
Nearly one million pensioners are working in Britain, the largest number since records began, according to official figures published last week by the ONS.
Over the last year, the army of so-called 'grey workers' has increased by around 100,000, equal to around 270 pensioners every single day.
At this level, it means nearly ten per cent of those who are 65 and above have a job, with experts saying the number is almost guaranteed to keep on rising.
For many pensioners, it is a positive choice. They enjoy their job, find it satisfying and are also keen to remain active in their old age.
But many others are being forced into working – or even going back to work after retiring – because they simply cannot afford to stop.
Laith Khalaf, a pensions analyst at the financial advisers, Hargreaves Lansdown, said the message is simple – if you want to retire young, start saving.
He said: 'Living to a ripe old age is a blessing if you can afford it – but a curse if you can't. 'The Government is unwilling to pay for an ever-increasing time spent in retirement.
'Those without sufficient savings will be left at the mercy of the state pension.'
Overall, the ONS said a typical man lives until the age of 85 in England and Wales, while a woman will typically survive until the age of 89.
Since 1960, the average life span has jumped by around a decade for a man and eight years for a woman, it said.