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Aging May Be Playing Out Better Than Expected

1 year, 9 months ago

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Posted on Oct 25, 2019, 1 p.m.

Another leading academic calls for a shift on “simple minded reliance on chronological age and concepts such as old is being 65 or greater.” 

In November London will play host to The Longevity Week which is an initiative of The Longevity Forum with the theme of “Longevity 2030” that will offer platforms to explore a variety of ideas and innovations. Professor Scott, co-founder of The Longevity Forum recently spoke about his work in longevity and his hopes for the future of aging. The following is an excerpt of the discussion with Longevity Technology.

Longevity has become an important subject, there has been much talk about aging societies, we all knew it was coming, but now it is beginning to be felt across society in a number of ways. But this is not always playing out in the simple ways that most people had envisioned, people are living longer and are on average healthier for longer even though healthspan is not matching lifespan. This is generating many questions on the longevity agenda such as how do we respond to longer lives. how do we prepare for longer careers, and how do we increase our chances of aging well? 

Aging has been discovered to be more malleable than was once thought, we are living longer, so we need to reshape our lives accordingly. Having more time has many implications for us as individuals and our relationships in terms of workers and consumers; it can also create an extensive government agenda.

Some of the most interesting and incredible developments are those around trying to understand the aging process and potential treatments. As there is still so much to be discovered and implemented this will be a slower process than hoped for, but there are unlimited possible discoveries. Perhaps another important change is the shift in the number of people who are working over the age of 50. This group accounts for the majority of the job growth in Japan, Germany, the UK, and America to name a few. People once thought an aging society would lead to worsening public finances and slower economic growth, but this is not how it is showing in employment numbers.

According to Professor Scott the key hurdles facing the longevity sectors over the next few years may have many of the ingredients in the UK with high quality R&D, market scale, and strong academic and corporate interest. It is important for the industry to keep forming networks and alliances that together will help to build expertise and practice which we are now beginning to see. 

Countries such as Israel, Switzerland, and Singapore are advancing vapidly as longevity leaders, other countries can also become leaders by focusing on the behavioural and policy side of the agenda by raising awareness of a positive longevity agenda to an aging society narrative. Keep trying to influence major decision makers in the government and those in the corporate sector to become more aware and involved with what is happening in the longevity agenda, and raising debate as to what can be done to support longer, healthier, and more fulfilled lives for everyone. 

When asked what we he would do if he could change one thing about the world to help improve global longevity Professor Scott replied, “Trying to get society to move away from its obsession with thinking that aging is about end of life and is measured by chronological age. A reliance on chronological age underpins our ageist practices and restricts us benefiting fully from the gains in healthy life expectancy that have already happened. The truth is we are aging better than the past but we each age very diversely. None of that is captured in our simple-minded reliance on chronological age and concepts such as old is being 65 or greater.”

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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.

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