THE FUTURE OF AGING: Some Facts, Fictions & Figures
Part 2 of an Information Series… presented to our visitors who look forward to more years in their life and more life in their years. Be sure to call us with any questions.
4) Physical and Mental Capacity Inevitably Decline with Biological Age
Being old doesn’t necessarily mean being infirm. Normal human aging does involve progressively worsening organ function compared to the peak in early adulthood. But the impact of these physiological changes on the capacity of individuals to function in society is quite modest.
People are becoming infirm and frail later and later in their lives. They’re not only living longer, but they’re healthier, and they’re disabled for fewer years later in life–considerably fewer than older people decades ago. As a result, the active life span of Americans is increasing faster than their total life span.
5) Policymakers Must Now Choose Between Investment in Youth or the Elderly
The transformation of American into an older society presents novel challenges and raises questions about how to target new investments of public resources across the generations in education, training and preventative health. Some advocates for children’s programs contend that youth are the only generation worthy of investment.
This view belies the proven benefits of many mid- and late-life interventions, such as new skills training, efforts to enhance civic engagement, and volunteerism, as well as programs to reduce health risks. Their modest costs are more than offset by substantial intermediate and longer-term economic gains, including increased productivity and decreased health-care expenditures.
6) In the Future, Robotic Blood Cells Will Help Extend Lifespans
The future of aging will look to nanotechnology to control the composition and structure of human molecular material at the atomic level.
Biogerentologists–researchers into human aging and extending lifespans– are at work making, in effect, molecular machines… robotic blood cells that are sized in nanometers. One nanometer is equivalent to one-billionth of a meter, or the width of five carbon atoms.
Such robotic cells will be more compact and capable that those found in nature. Rather than tasked with discovery, they will be sent on missions of cellular inspection, to repair and reconstruct whole cells.
Great challenges must be met before such micron-scale robotic sources of energy are available to help extend human life. But when they are, there will be enormous payoffs in revitalizing the human body.