weekly blog--one for the ages
A day hardly goes by without seeing an article about how to live a longer healthier life. The science and medical breakthroughs look promising. Consider Cell Regeneration, Calorie Restriction, Cloning, Organ Replacement, Gene Therapy, Hormone Replacement, Drugs and Supplements, Computer Technology, and Anti-Aging Diets.
In olden days, the few people who grew old were assumed, because of their years, to have won the favor of the gods. The typical person was fortunate to reach 40. Beginning in the 19th century, that slowly changed. Since 1840, life expectancy at birth has risen about three months with each passing year. In 1840, life expectancy at birth in Sweden, a much-studied nation owing to its record-keeping, was 45 years for women; today it’s 83 years.
The United States displays roughly the same trend. When the 20th century began, life expectancy at birth in America was 47 years; now newborns are expected to live 79 years. If about three months continue to be added with each passing year, by the middle of this century, American life expectancy at birth will be 88 years. By the end of the century, it will be 100 years.
What does this mean? It means that you could spend as many years “post career” as you did fully employed. It means that retirement planning, which has normally been focused on making sure that you don’t exhaust your financial resources, needs to be replaced with longevity planning, so you can design a plan to use all of this newfound extra time.
Welcome to the Anti-Retirement movement.
However, for the revolutionists, the road ahead won’t be easy. Your career provided you with structure, goals and people who relied on you and gave you the feeling of relevance that we all desire. Now it is up to you to find your own path, develop your personal framework and find new ways to measure your outcomes.
What Happens When We All Live to 100? - The Atlantic
10 Promising Medical Technologies That May Help People Live Longer (upcominghealth.com)
At career’s end, maybe we should embrace anti-retirement - MarketWatch
There’s probably a list for just about any matter you can think of. Take retirement destinations, for instance. There are a number of lists published each year that rank each state.
Below is Yahoo Finance’s take on the worst to best:
The results are in: These are the worst states for retirement in 2021 (yahoo.com)
Coming to terms with how to pay for long-term care seems to be part of our aging process these days. If you are not independently wealthy or can afford pricey long-term care insurance, the worry only seems to grow in importance.
At some point, 70% of older adults will require help with dressing, hygiene, moving around, managing finances, taking medications, cooking, housekeeping, and other daily needs, usually for two to four years. As the nation’s aging population expands to 74 million in 2030 (the year all baby boomers will have entered older age), that need will expand exponentially.
Enter President Biden’s infrastructure plan. Republicans decry its cost and argue that much of what the proposed American Jobs Plan contains, including the emphasis on home-based care, doesn’t count as real infrastructure.
Even advocates acknowledge the proposal doesn’t address the full extent of care needed by the nation’s rapidly growing older population. In particular, middle-income seniors won’t qualify directly for programs that would be expanded. They would, however, benefit from a larger, better paid, better trained workforce of aides that help people in their homes.
The sobering reality: Long-term care services are simply too expensive for most individuals and families. According to a survey last year by Genworth, a financial services firm, the hourly cost for a home health aide averages $24. Annually, assisted living centers charge an average $51,600, while a semiprivate room in a nursing home goes for $93,075.
Medicare covers home health only for older adults and people with severe disabilities who are homebound and need skilled services from nurses and therapists. It does not pay for 24-hour care or homemakers or routinely cover care from personal aides. In nursing homes, Medicare pays only for rehabilitation services for a maximum of 100 days. It does not provide support for long-term stays in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Caregivers, including nursing assistants and home health and personal care aides, earn $12 an hour, on average. Most are women of color; about one-third of those working for agencies don’t receive health insurance from their employers. By the end of this decade, an extra 1 million workers will be needed for home-based care, a number of experts believe will be difficult, if not impossible.
Biden Seeks $400 Billion to Buttress Long-Term Care. A Look at What’s at Stake. | Kaiser Health News (khn.org)
The first hint that hacking the biology of aging might be possible came from a series of laboratory experiments on a species of roundworm. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, studies of identical twins had already shown that about 30 percent of longevity in humans could be attributed to genetics. However, most scientists believed the process of aging was far too complex a phenomenon to modulate simply by tweaking a couple genes or taking a pill.
Not so anymore. There are now a growing number geroscience health startups signaling a change in thinking about some of the most intractable diseases facing humankind. Rather than focusing solely on the etiology of individual diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and arthritis, geroscientists are trying to understand how these diseases relate to the single largest risk factor of all: human aging. Their goal is to hack the process of aging itself and, in the process, delay or stave off the onset of many of the diseases most associated with growing old.
In the months before the pandemic, billions of dollars poured into biotechs aimed at commercializing the new science. Some biotech firms are developing drugs and infusions designed to clean up zombie-like cells and metabolic junk that accumulate with age. Others hope to infuse new vigor into flagging cellular components, such as stem cells, or spur the body into beneficial actions by adding obscure hormones or proteins, that decrease as we get older.
Currently there is no FDA-approved indication for drugs that target the process of aging itself. To win approval, drugs must target a specific disease. It's no coincidence that some gerontologists have chosen the popular diabetes drug metformin to serve as the "template" for a new class of FDA-approved anti-aging drugs. It works by influencing the body's sensitivity to insulin and can have an effect on the pace of metabolism and energy expenditure.
Most geroscientists advise against self-treatments. It would be unwise, they say, to start popping rapamycin, metformin and other largely unproven supplements on the market that promise big effects. For now, the only proven anti-aging cures remain what they have always been: regular exercise, a good night's sleep, and a healthy diet.
Can Blood from Young People Slow Aging? Silicon Valley Has Bet Billions It Will (newsweek.com)
After months of rigorous testing, it’s still unclear how long we will be protected by a CoVid vaccination, or whether we will eventually need boosters or follow-up shots to protect against new variants. Other viruses provide some clues. Those that are classified as stable, like measles or mumps, rarely mutate, and an infection or vaccination will generate lifelong immunity.
Coronaviruses are more volatile. Recent studies indicate that people who've had COVID-19 have good antibody and other immune memory (which translates into protection) for at least eight to nine months. People who've been vaccinated better an even better immune response. One researcher suggests that immunity from the CoVid vaccines might last several years or longer.
There are a growing number of startup companies dedicated to empowering older people to get on-line including Candoo, Papa and a nonprofit, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS). Consider these stats: by 2030, one in every five US residents will be age 65 or older. This group spends one-third more time each day online than those aged 18 to 34, and the 50+ crowd is expected to spend upwards of $84 billion a year on tech products.
Candoo customers range from individual seniors to larger organizations, such as geriatric care managers, senior living facilities, area offices on aging, and social service organizations. Their Tech Concierges work with various types of health specialists to reorient tech products with bigger font sizes, connecting them to hearing aids, creating dark backgrounds with light fonts for macular degeneration, and most importantly communicating in an effective manner.
OATS focuses on how tech enablement can increase older adult’s social and civic engagement, and Papa focuses more on connecting older adults with companions who don’t require the same tech training as Candoo Tech Concierges.
How Long Will COVID-19 Vaccine Immunity Last? (aarp.org)
America’s Fast-Growing Population Isn’t Tech-Enabled: Meet The Startup Empowering Older Adults To Get Online (forbes.com)