You may know, anecdotally that as a society, indeed, as a world – we are all living longer. It tends to be quite plain to see, yet if we were to look at a graph that depicted life expectancy in some of the world’s most long life communities, which includes places like Sweden, Norway, Japan and New Zealand you would see a very strong incline that has meant the average life expectancy in 1840 was just 45 years old, whereas in the year 2000, the average life expectancy was almost 85!
The reasons for this spike are many, and we’re going to take a look at these in this article, though an interesting question it poses is what’s next in terms of life expectancy particularly as we all become more mindful about improving our health.
Of course, people living longer brings with it both opportunities and challenges – particularly in terms of healthcare and housing elderly people.
Unfortunately, in the West, we often outsource the task of caring for elderly family members to health organisations rather than the family unit, as they tend to in the East. This is a particular issue in countries such as the UK where the NHS provide free healthcare for life – it puts a massive strain on societal financial resources.
Whilst labs like Lifebrite are making life enhancing medical innovations, which are fantastic at keeping people alive for longer… just because people are living longer it doesn’t necessarily mean they are living at their optimum, as if we take the prevalence of dementia and alzheimers for instance, there are many nursing homes and even hospitals jammed full with elderly people that are suffering from these mental diseases that essentially rob the person of themselves.
In a nutshell, we are living longer yet that doesn’t necessarily mean we are living better. Will technology, particularly with the advancements in personalised medicine herald a much higher average life expectancy, perhaps even that of a century, within our lifetime?
It’s certainly a possibility, sa in the past the predominant aspects that have resulted in longer life expectancy have been aspects such as cleaner drinking water, better sanitation, public health measures and vaccines… yet, as we enter the age of rapid technological advancement, where we might soon be seeing the introduction of robots within operating theatres, it’s an interesting concept that we might suddenly see a huge spike in the age to which most people will live until.
After all, when you think about it, back in 1840, which really isn’t that long ago – the idea of living until even sixty would have been seen as almost unthinkable. The same is true of the one minute mile!
Of course, there are mitigating lifestyle factors such as the increased radiation (e.g. computers and mobile phones), stress (e.g. busier lifestyles), processed food in the form of ready meals and pesticides… all of which have been proven to cause damage to the human body.
The question remains, however, which is how long will you live until and your children as we move toward a much more intelligent society with ever improving healthcare.