When looking at longevity and our ageing society, more people are living into old age. In addition to increases in lifespans, this means that there are more people over 65 than under 5. This switch with longer lives is often looked as a negative but when it actually is an opportunity for ageing well. We often focus on an ageing society but we must also look at the individual. Every single person has more life ahead of them than past generations.
Life Structure Changes
This longer future means that we need to rethink the structure of our life course. We will behave differently around education, health, work, careers, relationships and community. In fact, many of the current problems of an ageing society emerge precisely because these changes haven’t happened. This reveals social and institutional practices that do not support well the length of life that so many are now living.
It is amazing how a large proportion of our social patterns and aging are still driven by developments in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. The divide between work and leisure, home and workspace, the emergence of a three stage life and the creation of retirement all emerged from the industrial revolution. Society adapted to the convulsions and opportunities that new technologies created.
Looking forward to the impact of technology and longevity suggests deep changes in these institutions. Life and working careers will elongate. In other words, careers will become more multi staged and what you do in your job and the skills you need to perform them will change. Together all these forces require changes in how we think about different stages of live and how we invest in our future health, skills, finances and relationships. To ensure we seize the opportunities of longer lives and smart technologies, its also crucial that we see changes in how governments, corporates and our educational systems support us through the life course.