Can we live to 100? Do we want too?

March 15, 2013

Before we know it, living to 120 years of age and beyond will be ordinary and expected. This life extension, lived in relatively good health and independence will require us to evolve society, culture, work, family, humanity and religion.

Many of our past societal norms, rituals, work patterns, family structures and behaviors were built on a life expectancy of less than 50 years, in a world where we traveled less that 20 kilometers our entire life from where we born. Where family, village and country where all we knew and we knew that because we were told it and not because we had the opportunity to discover and question it for ourselves.

As we move into a world where living longer is the norm, where self discovery and constant questioning become the norm, where we no longer seek out the world but demand it seeks us out, everything becomes negotiable and transactional.

The notion of living with the same person for 80 years and more will be in question; families with 4 and 5 generations alive will become the norm; working to 80 years of age will become expected, but what will work be and offer, what will family mean to us, how strongly will we cling to religion as our guiding example?

The questions are endless, but have to include asking ourselves how do we feed, clothe, house, water and offer quality of life and care to a growing world population that is set to exceed 9.1 billion people in 2050?

Added to this is also the rising middle classes across the developing world who are also living 50 – 60 years longer than their ancestors, with developed nations citizens living to 120 and a generally a whole lot more people standing on the planet than we have ever had before, the choices we make today, are very different from the one’s we had to make yesterday.

In this segment on Channel 7’s Today Tonight Clare Brady and I explore what living to 100 years of age might mean for us, what sort of world may we be growing older in and what opportunities and issues may be waiting for us?

Take a look now and let me know your thoughts on the world ahead and living to 100 years and beyond.