Date: November 25th, 2014
Alliance founder Dan Perry joined the dean of the Mailman School of Public Health Linda P. Fried at a town hall event on October 22 at Columbia University in New York City to address the topic of "The New Age of Aging: Are Longer Lives a Good Thing?"
Moderated by journalist and filmmaker Perri Peltz, Perry and Fried discussed the effects of aging on society, how it is perceived today, and its future. They also took questions from the live audience as well as those who were watching online via Livestream.
The talk was inspired by an article Fried had published in The Atlantic called "Making Aging Positive.” The article was written with support from the MetLife Foundation Silver Scholar Award®, administered by the Alliance, for which she had been selected in 2012. This award recognizes innovative work contributing pragmatic solutions to address the rising cost of health care associated with the aging of our nation, preventive strategies aimed at keeping aging populations healthier longer, and thought leadership on the positive contributions that greater longevity brings to society.
Both Perry and Fried agreed that longer lives are indeed a good thing, and the latest generation of older Americans, the Boomers, offered ample evidence supporting this idea. Boomers are working, volunteering and giving back in unprecedented ways. And as they grow older and in numbers, they will continue to do so.
There is a potential downside, however, noted Fried and Perry. Not only are Americans living longer, the 65 and over demographic is becoming a larger segment of the overall population. It is estimated this segment will represent 20 percent of the U.S. population total by 2030. This could lead to more chronic disease, producing a lower quality of life and higher care costs. But if scientists can collaborate to find ways to slow aging and policymakers support their efforts with additional funding for aging and other medical research, it can lead to longer AND healthier lives.
You can watch the Q & A below.