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Senior Moments

Category: Aging, General / Topics: Trends

Longevity

by Dan Seagren

Posted: July 1, 2018

The 'age wave' keeps rolling along…

You may recall from the Bible that Adam and others livde a long, long time but it didn't take terribly long before those old ages were reduced considerably. Then go back to the day when Social Security began which set 65 years to receive benefits because so few reached that age. Now, my father and father-in-law both reached 78 yet I am not an extraordinary ol' senior just because I hit 90 on Halloween in 2017. Yes, 100 is more uncommon but few reach 120 years or more today. The real question is this: will the 21st Century advance in age like the 20th did? Or catch up to Adam and Methuselah nearing 1,000? Maybe a few could reach Abraham's age when he fathered several children in his100s after his wife Sarah died?

'The world population had a 20-year increase in the average life span during the second half of the 20th century and is expected to extend another10 years by 2050.  The proportion of the population aged >65 years is projected to increase from 12.4% in 2000 to 19.6% in 2030. Declines in fertility rates generally and improvements in adult health lead to an older population. The world also has experienced an epidemiologic transition in the leading causes of death, from infectious disease and acute illness to chronic disease and degenerative illness.'

If this continues and even improves, the world could be chasing old Adam in age because he do doubt wasn't plagued early on by either infectious and chronic diseases or degenerative illness. But in the United States, approximately 80% of all persons aged >65 years have at least one chronic condition, and 50% have at least two. What about 85 or 90?

What must be figured in are some disturbing factors: the breakdown of the traditional family (mom, dad and the kids), absentee fathers, single moms, homeless children and adults, increase in homicide, incarceration, indebtedness, lawlessness, obesity, dementia and Alzheimer's disease, unhealthy lifestyles and inactivity to mention some features that may inhibit longevity. Then there is the prevailing suicide and medically encouraged life termination factor as well. We live in a retirement community with 3-4 levels of living which can be very expensive in certain situations and too often unanticipated. Longevity for many can be a blessing or a liability, either gradual or sudden.

Longevity:  indefinite life extension or length of life is a complicated topic but well worth a junior or senior moment of inquiry is it not? Our thanks for Public Health and Aging data).


Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: July 1, 2018

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