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WesleyLife welcomes longevity expert: "Perceptions of aging must change to prepare us for extra years of life" accent

June 29, 2022 | By

Dr. Laura CarstensenWesleyLife's 75th-anniversary celebration, scheduled for July 7, will feature as keynote speaker one of the nation's foremost authorities on the future of aging — and she cautions us to prepare emotionally, logistically, psychologically, and financially to live much longer than any past generation has dreamed of living. 

That preparation, she says, will involve a societal mind shift in our perceptions toward aging.

 

Dr. Laura Carstensen of the Stanford Center on Longevity points out that more years were added to the average life expectancy in the 20th century than in all previous millennia combined -- a great problem to have? Yes -- but most of us have not lived and planned as though we'll live into our 90s or beyond, and we may view "old age" in ways that don't apply today. 

In heading a Stanford initiative called The New Map of Life, Carstensen predicts that as many as half of today’s 5-year-olds can expect to live to the age of 100, and that this milestone could become the norm for newborns by 2050. To accommodate those extra years, though, perceptions, norms and policies need a lot of updating.

"Meeting the challenges of longevity is not the sole responsibility of government, employers, healthcare providers, or insurance companies; it is an all-hands, all-sector undertaking, requiring the best ideas from the private sector, government, medicine, academia, and philanthropy," Carstensen stresses in the project report.

"It is not enough to reimagine or rethink society to become longevity-ready; we must build it, and fast. The policies and investments we undertake today will determine how the current young become the future old—and whether we make the most of the 30 extra years of life that have been handed to us."

 

 

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