The words ‘ageless generation’ on the computer screen caught my attention and got me thinking. As I searched the web, I saw it being associated more with women and the ageing process. But to me it meant a whole lot of other things. To me it connoted how the world has evolved not just in the way we live and look but in how we think and comprehend.
Old age in the old days was associated with frailty and dependency. Today, we have more and more seniors enjoying careers, starting new enterprises, exploring new hobbies, travelling, making new friends… finding life and living it to the fullest. They are financially independent, healthy and energetic, and wanting to make meaningful contribution to society.
In fact I do not understand mandatory retirement. It looms like a dark shadow and often takes a lot out of a person. One day suddenly you are cut off from doing the thing that took you years to master and a huge chunk of your life… all just because your years are a certain number. Yet we have politics and governance which has no cap on age.
Today, in villages as in urban cities and towns, there is no escaping the generational blurring, or simply the impact of regular contact with the younger generation which influences your tastes and attitudes to things like food, clothes, travel and culture. It’s happening everywhere. And the impact on the economy reflects this process.
The demographic of older people across the globe shows that people are not just living longer, but they are healthier and wealthier when compared to earlier generations of the same age. Their spending power is stronger and the market for high priced consumer goods is dominated by older adults. Companies and industries are now tailoring their offerings for the older adult whether in real estate, cars, technology, financial services or healthcare.
A leading expert in aging research and author of the Ageless Generation, Alex Zhavoronkov says that biomedical research is delivering hundreds of breakthroughs to extend human lifespan beyond thresholds imaginable today. He says that biomedicine will allow people to live longer and continue working and contributing financially to the economy longer.
Do I want to live forever? I don’t think so! Do I want to live all the years of my life as a strong, independent and empowered human being? Definitely! Maybe it’s time to rethink our ideas of age and ability and perhaps focus on creating enabling environments for all ages.