As we enter 2019, nonagenarians are in the news as never before. Top of the list is Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who in May made a pundit-defying return from 15 years in retirement to become Malaysia's prime minister once more. His feat delighted many. According to the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, the doctor's stunning return "clearly transfixed readers, accounting for about half of the stories in our top 20 list."
His extraordinary mental and physical vigor at the age of 93 has seen Mahathir surf what gerontologists are calling the "silver tsunami." Ninety is being hailed as the new 85 in some quarters. In Japan, where over 26% of the population is now over 65, nearly five people in every 10,000 make it through their 90s to 100, compared with just over two in the U.S. Even so, the U.S. is not doing so badly -- the number of Americans who make it to 90 has tripled since 1980.