Perhaps the most striking shift in the nation's population in recent years has been the growing number of citizens living past their 80s. Not only are they living on the other side of 90, they're living vital, active lives.
Born between 1910 and 1920, when a person's life expectancy was projected to be between 51.5 and 56.4 years, they've already beaten long odds to get where they are today.
While living into your 90s used to be a rarity, the number of those who do is rapidly growing. Between 2000 and 2005, the population of those 85 and older grew by 20 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, making it one of the fastest growing demographics.
The bureau projects that between now and the year 2050, the number of people in that age group will have grown by a massive 231 percent, to a total population in excess of 19 million.
Kenton Robinson interviewed and Abigail Pheiffer photographed some of these nonagenarians shown.
"I've always had something I've wanted to do. That's why I can't imagine why some of these people sit around, they get all bent over with these pushcart things. ... Yes, my back kills me, but when I get out I can get down on my hands and knees and...
In the middle of reminiscing about his Army days, John Olshesky interrupts himself. "You know, one thing I've missed, by the way," he says, and he pauses, as if to stanch his emotions. "All my buddies are gone. That's the worst part of it."
Martha Montgomery is razor thin, and when she stands to greet you, she stands straight and tall, her iron-gray hair pinned back, her eyes cloudy with years. Ask her how she got to the age of 95, and she answers in a high, sweet, raspy voice.
Betty Anne Caldara has been a volunteer for much of her life, acting as a docent at such institutions as the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London and, most recently, the Old Lighthouse Museum in Stonington.
It's the end of the interview, and Bob Mather, still holding Rose's hand on the sofa, says, "I thought we could play just one song while you're here." "He doesn't have time for that, sweetie," says Rose. But only a moment later, Rose is picking up a...