Although there are negative social and economic impacts of people living longer, there is always opportunity to make living longer a blessing rather than a burden.
Would it shock you if the United States ranked number 53 on a list of the highest life expediencies for 2017? Many people assume that the western world would come out on top of this list due to the availability of clean water, healthy food, exercise, and advanced medicine, but that’s not the case. The life expectancy for Americans in 2017 is just under 80 years.
Monaco leads the world with a life expectancy of nearly 90 years. Japan and Singapore are just behind with average life of around 85 years. Countries with the lowest life expectancy includes South Africa and Namibia, both coming in around 50 years of age.
Increased longevity is good news to those who desire to continue participating in life and spending as much time with their loved ones as possible; but there are concerns about the downsides of people living longer when the result is a population with more elderly people than young people.
The effects of people living longer have both social and economics impacts.
In 2015, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made a startling discovery. The data balanced the good news of baby boomers living longer with the bad news of deteriorating health for seniors between the ages of 55 and 64.
So, how is it that baby boomers can live longer than their ancestors just 10 years prior, while exhibiting much poorer health? The same study found that baby boomers are taking far more medication than those ancestors. The heavy use of medication to prevent and control diabetes and cholesterol were highlighted as two big medicinal advances that are making a difference in human longevity.
The fact is that people are living longer because of advances in technology and long-term care -- not because they are healthier or that their bodies are in excellent condition.
The average American spends the last 10 to 20 years living like an invalid -- unable to participate in normal activities, dependent, and suffering from illnesses often presumed to be a normal part of aging. This is tragic, because the truth is that eight of the nine leading categories of death and disability are preventable, and 70% of premature death is related to lifestyle choices.
Since people living longer are not doing it because they are healthy, are you now wondering how much you could extend your life expectancy if you were to choose a healthy lifestyle?
If baby boomers are
living longer, even with poor diets and increasing rates of obesity, diabetes,
cancer, and heart disease, imagine how long you could live if you ate healthier
foods, avoided overeating, drank water instead of chemical-laced sodas, and
exercised on a routine basis?
Healthier lifestyles at younger ages would naturally lead to a healthier population of elderly people. Most of them would be able remain independent and mobile until a much older age, which would place less stress on their younger family members.
Healthier people living longer can also work to a later age, allowing them to earn their own money and contribute to society for a longer period of time. This would contribute to healthier emotional states for the elderly population in general.
While there are some valid concerns about people living longer, it would seem that improved health is a logical step towards mitigating those concerns. If we all choose to take care of our bodies, longer lives will be a blessing to everyone!