Apparently there are some benefits to growing old. Who knew? Excerpt:
“Growing old is great – when you consider the alternative,” as the saying goes.
Welcome to the age of ageing. With more than 800 million people over 60 and more centenarians than the population of Iceland (that’s about 329,000), the world is having to brace itself for the economic – and social – consequences. From a deluge of diseases to sagging skin and the dulling of the senses, old age is beset with creeping failures, medical interventions, and low expectations. But can there be a silver lining for those joining the grey brigade?
Growing old has been synonymous with bodily decay since ancient times. The Greeks had a particularly dire view – many saw ageing itself as a disease. Yet the latest scientific research suggests ageing isn’t a straightforward decline after all. As BBC Future has reported before, life peaks later than you might think.
Well, I certainly hope so.
Human life expediencies have increased dramatically in the last hundred years or so. Thank Western civilization for that; almost all of the major medical and technological innovations that have increased human lifespans have been developed in the free-market (relatively so, anyway) Western world.
But there’s more to it than just longevity. The younger generations benefit so greatly from having their grandparents and great-grandparents around. The Old Man (born 1923) never knew any of his grandparents; the last of them died when he was three. As for yr. obdt. (born 1961) I knew three of my four grandparents, and they were a vital and lively part of my young life. My grandchildren, on the other hand, not only have all of their grandparents but also their great-grandparents. Their lives are immeasurably enriched by knowing these children of the Depression and WW2, knowing what the country was like just a few short generations ago.
That’s probably the best part about getting older.