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Montana Aging Faster than United States, Centenarians Celebrated This Week

Bernard “Barney” D. Meyers
Photo courtesy of David KIng

Tomorrow, May 6, in Kalispell, the 46th annual Governor’s Conference on Aging will meet to celebrate the lives of Montana centenarians and discuss issues relevant to an aging population. Montana aging services Bureau chief Charlie Rehbein says Montana is getting old fast.

“We’re aging relatively fast,” Rehbein said. “The nation is right around 13 percent and Montana ahead of that: little over 14 percent of our population is over 65 and that trend is going to continue for probably the next 18 years. We have 35 people everyday that turn 65.”

Experts estimate that over 100 Montanans are over the age of 100, but it is difficult to discover who has lived the longest.

“We know that three of the people we had contact with are 106, but we think there are some in the 108 to 110 age group. In 2010, census data told us that there were 176 centenarians, 93 sent their names in to us this year.

The conference on aging will discuss ways to deal with Alzheimer’s, how to avoid scams, and when the elderly should consider retiring from driving, among many other topics.

-The photo with this story features Montana centenarian Bernard “Barney” D. Meyers, the only MSU graduate to return for an 80th class reunion.

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