We’re All Aging

WHO focuses on global aging

April 3 was World Health Day, and the World Health Organization (WHO) focused on global aging. A WHO report included these interesting facts.

 The number of people today age 60 and older has doubled since 1980.

 The number of people age 80 and older will almost quadruple to 395 million between now and 2050.

• Within the next five years, the number of adults age 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of 5.

 By 2050, these older adults will outnumber all children under the age of 14.

 By 2050, 80% of older people will live in low or middle income countries.

The report also notes that non-communicable diseases are the greatest health threats to older adults. WHO director Dr. Margaret Chan said major improvements in global aging are more likely to come from public health measures than medical technologies. If that is true, we’d better get busy. Most people in public health are not focusing extensively on issues related to aging, including how to promote healthy aging. When I was in graduate school, there was funding for students who focused on aging, but there’s not nearly enough training support today, and the aging population is millions larger. If we want to encourage younger people to study aging, they’re going to need support.

The first paper I published after finishing my doctoral training was published in The Gerontologist. Then, aging was an academic interest. Now, aging is more personally salient since I am entering the period myself.

Joe Coughlin, PhD, director of MIT AgeLab to give Foard Lecture April 17th at 6pm. Please join us!

I am really looking forward to Joe Coughlin’s lecture at the Friday Center Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. The talk will be fascinating. Coughlin has said with regard to aging, “What is missing is systems thinking that responds to the entire job of the older consumer or caregiver.” Coughlin has looked at everything from driving after 50 to financial planning, policy, housing and much more. An ABC interview shows what Coughlin does. He has said technologies for older people should be ageless, convenient and fun. It sounds good to me. If we could follow those principles, a lot more people would study aging.

Happy Monday and healthy aging. Barbara

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