Unless we happen to be Michael Jackson or those 20-something kids who keep killing themselves with drugs, people are living longer than ever before.
Folks are increasingly hitting age 100. Age 40 may be the new 20, while folks in their 60s can still be considered youngish. After all, they may have four more decades of living to do.
By the year 2030, one in eight folks across the globe will be age 65 or older, according to an article in Senior Journal. Because Tucson is a popular retirement area, our regional totals may be even higher.
This prediction will only hold true, of course, if the world doesn’t blow up like it’s supposed to in 2012.
While living forever – or at least to age 100 – may seem like a good thing, there may be some drawbacks.
“Population aging strains social insurance and pension systems and challenges existing models of social support. It affects economic growth, trade, migration, disease patterns and prevalence, and fundamental assumptions about growing older,” the Senior Journal article says.
We’ll also have to start worrying about the Earth instead of using that standard line: “Who cares what happens, I’ll be dead by then.”
But the biggest fear may be how to fund retirement – or even being able to retire. Social Security is pretty much a joke, although it’s none too funny when it sucks away a chunk of our paychecks.
A recent announcement from the folks who run Tucson’s exclusive, upscale Splendido senior community, goes on and on about how growing old is a great thing.
Sure it is, if you can afford to go live there. Prices were not listed on their website, but they did showcase a few living units, some of which are twice the size of my house.
The company, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, also pointed out some trends for 2010:
Scientific breakthroughs will demonstrate that healthy lifestyles can actually repair DNA by boosting a key enzyme – telomerase – that is vital for improving the body’s immune responses and may even increase longevity.
Translation: Healthy living makes you healthier.
The movement to more homelike environments for older adults living in long-term care communities will grow. Programs will provide care, support individuality and promote safety in a residential environment.
Translation: More kids will be sick of caring for their parents.
There will be an increased focus on positivity and its impact on happiness, health and longevity for older adults.
Translation: You WILL BE happy, dammit.
The use of technology among older adults will grow exponentially – whether this means surfing the Internet, joining social networks such as Facebook, or using technologic devices in the home to monitor their health as well as promote independence and safety.
Translation: You’re going to need a computer and you may be tracked with ankle bracelets.
Progress on extending human life will be a growing focus of researchers as more is learned about substances in our foods. One example is how resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes and in several other plants, may protect us from some life-shortening diseases such as diabetes.
Translation: You’ll be forced to eat grapes.
The best trend by far is a focus on positivity. Enough young people are nasty and cranky and, unless their nastiness and crankiness is nipped in the bud, it’s surely only going to get worse with age. On the other hand, any age can be fun with the right attitude.
Other things can even get better with age, such as knowledge, wisdom, self-awareness and self-acceptance.
But we may still have a few concerns, like we’ll end up driving into lamp posts, lose our looks or lose our minds.
But hey, that’s progress for ya.
Is the trend of everyone living longer a good thing?
Do you want to live to be 100?