The future of old

From The Boston Globe:

Thefutureofold2__1304707488_3139-1 When these experts look ahead, they see a population of people who are less vulnerable to isolation, less likely to be bored, and more adept at using technologies to stay healthy and compensate for various ways in which life has become more difficult. They also see a population less inclined to leave the workforce — or less able to leave it — for a life of pure leisure: “Retirement” in today’s sense is likely to shrivel and be pushed later into life. We’re looking at people living 30 to 40 years longer than they did 100 years ago,” said Joseph Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab. “More of your adult life will be lived after the age of 50 than before age 50. The question is, what’re you going to do with it?”

There are still unknowns, such as how and whether America will keep funding the health care system the old now count on, or whether the prevalence of dementia will continue to grow or be vanquished by medicine. And skeptics warn against fantasies of Peter Pan-style agelessness: There is no escaping that age changes how you move and how you think. But among the most resonant — and least obvious — points that aging experts make is that old age, though a constant throughout human history, does not refer to some static set of habits, joys, and frustrations. Rather, it is an evolving condition that is continuously defined, and redefined, with every generation that experiences it.

More here.