World of Adults. How to Live in It Now?
As stated in the World Health Organization (WHO) report, every fifth person on earth (22%) will be over 60 years of age by the year 2050. According to the calculations of sociologists, by 2050, each third of residents of Europe’s most developed countries will be elderly.
Trading in ‘quantity’ for ‘quality’
These tendencies will not change. All in all, people live longer and have fewer children. The share of aged individuals is increasing every year, which changes our world. We have large numbers of experienced, wise people who represent a significant part of the population. Extending the lifespan, we do not extend youthfulness. We expand the active period of life of the adult, mature people who will live another 30-40 years, and we do not make them young. It is crucial that this age span remains enjoyable, associated with satisfaction from life, and not just one of living through time. It should become the main period for enjoying life when the race of getting an education, building a career, bringing up children and when all this is finished, finally there should be time for oneself.
Now the main priority for humanity is not to increase longevity but to keep those over 60 years of age active. This should allow them to take care of themselves, be independent, and contribute to their own lives as long as possible (preferably until the last days). In other words, it’s the time to trade in quantity for quality and make people in their 60s not feel elderly, both medically and socially.
Did you know that the WHO has announced the decade of 2020-2030 as a Decade of Healthy Ageing? Of course, nobody assumes that all age-related diseases disappear. The point is that they will, to a large extent, stop influencing the quality of life and activity level. Anti-aging healthcare in many countries has become a separate sphere going beyond cosmetics and plastic surgery. Looking young is not as important as feeling well. For this purpose, everyone should stay physically and mentally active as well as keep social connections. Meanwhile, governments and society shall create optimal conditions for this effect.
Whole one-third part of life
What are these optimal conditions? Together with UNO, the international non-governmental organization HelpAge has developed the relevant methodology. Generally, the quality of life after 60 years is evaluated under four parameters:
- Financial situation. Is it possible to live a decent life on a pension income? Does everyone have such a pension?
- State of health. Here the rating is influenced by three parameters: availability of healthcare, longevity, and duration of active life.
- Personal capabilities. This defines how the education, state of health, experience, and external environment allow a person over 60 years of age to remain functional.
- Social conditions. Do the elderly have an opportunity to work, study, travel, and communicate? Do they have the same opportunities as younger people?
Annually HelpAge International publishes the Countries’ Rating of Living Standards for Aged People.
The rating is headed by Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden. In most developed countries, the expected lifespan is 25-27 years. This is more than a third of life and shouldn’t be overlooked. The feeling of guilt for your age shouldn’t make you stressed.
What you can do right now
Our main goal is to provide for those optimal conditions defined by HelpAge International:
Getting additional education or, at least, learning new computer software is helpful at any age. Scientists note that almost in every case, longevity correlates with a higher level of education and readiness to continue studying. The issue is not only about keeping the mind active. New skills and knowledge expand the options for socialization and employment, which contribute to longevity.
For the moment there are more people aged 50 years than those aged 20. It means they can significantly contribute to the economy due to accumulated experience and means that they should work in its important segments. First of all, this creates a feeling of being useful and, secondly, allows making savings.
The WHO considers physical activity as the essential precursor of longevity. You don’t have to walk 10,000 steps per day. According to research, 4500 steps are enough. On average, the risks of death from the main causes (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes) decrease by 15% with each one thousand steps! However, this is valid only until 7,500 steps per day. Walking above this distance doesn’t offer any benefits. And if there is no difference, why walk more?
- Communicate on social networks
Even if, after another 50 years, you are not able to walk and go to work, you will still stay in good company and will have someone to talk to.
- Make love
According to the data of British researchers, giving up sex after 60 increases the risks of coronary heart disease and cancer for men by 46% and increases the risk of stroke for women by more than two times.
- Keep friendship and family relations
Especially with people of the same age. Social inclusion and a sense of own worth are one of the most important prerequisites for healthy longevity, according to WHO experts.
- Take regular medical examinations
Timely detection of diseases or susceptibility to them can defer that stage, which can impact your ability to work. Women over 45 years should consult with a doctor on the possibility of menopausal therapy, which can help them live through the transition period without losing their quality of life.
- Don’t hide your age
Get used to it: it’s not an advantage or disadvantage. It’s a part of your bio. In Western culture, hiding one’s age is still considered a good practice. This attitude creates conditions for ageism, which has become an even more widespread issue than racism or sexism, according to WHO. When you are ashamed of your age, you alone make it embarrassing. It is important to realize that you don’t live through the years after sixty, but live, develop, improve, and use all your abilities, expertise, and skills. And the more active you are, the longer you live.
Those of us bot below 50 and over 50 are the majority. This world has become more adult, and that’s not bad. Never before has the world lived like this while we’re making ourselves and the world better. The longer we live, the more exciting things we will see and learn.
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