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The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose

ISBN: 978-1-118-69203-5
304 pages
April 2014
The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose (1118692039) cover image

The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose explores a titanic shift that will alter every aspect of human existence, from the jobs we hold to the products we buy to the medical care we receive - an aging revolution underway across America and the world. Moving beyond the stereotypes of dependency and decline that have defined older age, The Upside of Aging reveals the vast opportunity and potential of this aging phenomenon, despite significant policy and societal challenges that must be addressed. The book’s chapter authors, all prominent thought-leaders, point to a reinvention and reimagination of our older years that have critical implications for people of all ages.

With a positive call to action, the book illuminates the upside for health and wellness, work and volunteerism, economic growth, innovation and education.  The authors, like the baby boom generation itself, posit new ways of thinking about aging, as longevity and declining birthrates put the world on track for a mature population of unprecedented size and significance. Among topics they examine are:

  • The emotional intelligence and qualities of the aging brain that science is uncovering, “senior moments” notwithstanding.
  • The new worlds of genomics, medicine and technology that are revolutionizing health care and wellness.
  • The aging population’s massive impact on global markets, with enormous profit potential from an explosion in products and services geared toward mature consumers.
  • New education paradigms to meet the needs and aspirations of older people, and to capitalize on their talents.
  • The benefits that aging workers and entrepreneurs bring to companies, and the crucial role of older people in philanthropy and society.
  • Tools and policies to facilitate financial security for longer and more purposeful lives.
  • Infrastructure and housing changes to create livable cities for all ages, enabling “aging in place” and continuing civic contribution from millions of older adults. 
  • The opportunities and potential for intergenerational engagement and collaboration.

The Upside of Aging defines a future that differs profoundly from the retirement dreams of our parents and grandparents, one that holds promise and power and bears the stamp of a generation that has changed every stage of life through which it has moved.

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Foreword xi

Michael Milken

Preface: Aging and Change—A New Day Is Coming xix
Paul H. Irving

Acknowledgments xxiii

Introduction: The Rise of a Mature World: By the Numbers xxv
Paul H. Irving and Anusuya Chatterjee

Part One: Opportunities and Innovations 1

Chapter 1: Our Aging Population—It May Just Save Us All 3
Laura L. Carstensen

Longevity Is Here to Stay 5

The Future of Aging Societies 7

Senior Moments 8

The Power of the Aging Brain 11

Motivation, the Aging Brain’s Secret Weapon 14

Tapping a Rich Resource 16

Notes 16

Chapter 2: Personalized Aging: One Size Doesn’t Fit All 19
Pinchas Cohen

Personalizing Medicine 23

Genomics: Sci-Fi No Longer 24

Nutrition and Genes 25

To Diet or Not? 26

A Field in Its Infancy 27

Let’s Prove It 28

To Run or Walk? 29

Supplemental Jury Out 30

Looking Good, Feeling Good 30

Conclusion 31

Notes 32

Chapter 3: The Bold New World of Healthy Aging 35
Freda Lewis-Hall

The Mother of All Confluences 36

A Data and Diagnosis Revolution 37

Our New Guardian Angels 39

A Golden Age of Medicines 42

The New World of Vaccines 43

Never Too Old—For Surgery 44

Is That My Liver on the Printer? 45

The Wild Card: Tackling Alzheimer’s 46

We Have Met the Solution, and It Is Us 47

Eight Days a Week—Only the Start 48

Notes 48

Chapter 4: Disruptive Demography: The New Business of Old Age 51
Joseph F. Coughlin

Demographic Transition and the New Face of Old Age 52

Mapping New Markets in an Aging Society 53

Supporting People as They Age 56

Enabling Independence 57

New Lifestyles of the Mature Adult 58

The Boomers’ Social Impact 61

Conclusion 61

Notes 62

Chapter 5: A Longevity Market Emerges 63
Ken Dychtwald

The Age Wave Marketplace 64

What, Me—Old? 66

I Am Not My Age 68

Targeting Self-Perception 68

Show Them Something New 69

The New Look of Longevity 71

Aging and Experiences: Doing, Not Owning 71

Comfort Matters 73

The Psychology of Security and Safety 75

Accommodating the Aging Body 76

The Age Wave Marketplace: What’s Next? 77

Fitting the New Form 80

Notes 80

Chapter 6: The New Global Economy, through an Aging Lens 83
Michael W. Hodin

Peril or Promise? 84

Global Strides Toward Aging’s Upside 86

It’s Just Good Business 87

Creating Age-Friendly Workplaces 92

Embracing the Window of Opportunity 94

Notes 95

Part Two: A Changing Landscape 97

Chapter 7: Encore: Mapping the Route to Second Acts 99
Marc Freedman

Rethinking the Patio Life 100

A New Stage of Life 101

A Gap Year for Grown-Ups 104

Highest Education 105

Paying for the Encore 106

The Freedom to Work 108

Capitalizing on the Upside 110

Notes 111

Chapter 8: The Mature Workforce: Profiting from All Abilities 113
Jody Heymann

A Shaky Foundation 114

Revisiting Perceptions and Biases 116

Defl ating Age Discrimination 117

Laying the Foundation 119

Reaping the Economic Gains 121

A Zero-Sum Game or an Intergenerational Win? 122

A Rejuvenated Workforce 124

The Space-Program Eff ect 125

Notes 126

Chapter 9: Boomer Philanthropists: A Golden Age of Civil Society 131
Susan Raymond

Philanthropy as Leadership 132

Older and Kinder 133

A Golden Age of Civil Society 135

The Rising Role of Women 137

Philanthropy and Ethnicity 139

Reinforcing the Golden Age 140

Conclusion 142

Notes 143

Chapter 10: A City for All Ages 145
Henry Cisneros

Demography and Urban Destiny 146

Aging in America’s Cities 147

Aging and the Living Environment 148

Fostering Independent Urban Lives 149

Building the City for All Ages 150

A Strategy for Human Service Needs 154

Conclusion 161

Notes 162

Chapter 11: Aging and Learning: The Future University 163
Steven Knapp

Universities in the New World of Aging 165

The Study of Aging 166

Back to School 168

Learning from Older Teachers and Scholars 172

Conclusion 175

Notes 175

Part Three: Perspectives and Possibilities 177

Chapter 12: Aging in a Majority–Minority Nation 179
Fernando M. Torres-Gil

The Great Challenge 181

The Political Tempest 184

A Journey of Ethnicity and Aging 185

Boomers and Latinos—Demographic Destiny 186

A Symbiotic Convergence 188

The Common Ground 190

Shifting Political Winds and Alliances 192

Notes 192

Chapter 13: Healthy Ageing and Well-Being in Britain and the World 195
Baroness Sally Greengross Ageing in Britain 197

Increased Pressure on a Fragile NHS 198

Conquering Alzheimer’s Disease 199

Advancing Age-Friendly Environments 201

Eliminating Ageism 203

Conclusion 205

Notes 205

Chapter 14: Financial Security: Longevity Changes Everything 209
Dan Houston

The New Retirement 211

Off Track 211

A Foundation for Success 213

The Way Forward 214

The Final Challenge 222

Notes 222

Chapter 15: New Transitions: A Changing Journey of Life and Health 225
Philip A. Pizzo

The Life Continuum 227

Knowing When to Change 228

Timing a Transition 229

Health Opens Options 232

Contemplating Transformation 233

A New Kind of Sabbatical 234

Reaching for the Upside 236

Notes 236

Chapter 16: Life Reimagined: The Second Aging Revolution 237
A. Barry Rand

The Changes behind the Change 239

The First Aging Revolution 241

Redefining the “Golden Years” 242

Reimagining Life 244

What Is Next? 247

Notes 248

About the Editor 251

About the Authors 253

Index 265

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PAUL H. IRVING is president of the Milken Institute, where he leads initiatives to improve public health and aging across America and the world, expand capital access, and enhance philanthropic impact. Under his direction, the Institute produced the widely acknowledged Best Cities for Successful Aging index. Formerly CEO of a large professional services firm and a corporate lawyer, Irving remains actively involved in global business and charitable leadership in his "encore career."

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April 28, 2014
Nation’s Most Prominent Experts Share Their Insights on The Upside of Aging in New Book

An aging revolution is changing the world, a titanic shift that will alter every aspect of human existence. In their new book, The Upside of Aging: How Long Life is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy, and Purpose (WILEY;April 2014; Hardcover & e-book; $39.95; ISBN: 978-1-118-69203-5), Paul Irving, president of the Milken Institute, and his co-authors move beyond the stereotypes of dependency and decline that have defined older age to look at aging in a new way. Exploring the vast potential of longer lives, The Upside of Aging reveals how the challenges can be met with positive solutions for people of all ages.

The contributing authors, all prominent thought leaders, reveal the remarkable upside for health, work and entrepreneurship, volunteerism, innovation, and education, as longevity and declining birth rates create a mature population of unprecedented size and significance.

“Many years ago, my generation – the baby boom generation – challenged authority and convention and, in doing so, redefined an age. And the baby boomers are at it again, changing expectations and the way we think about aging,” says Irving.

In enlightening, fact-based chapters, the writers examine dramatic opportunities arising from the intelligence of the aging brain, and the health and wellness revolution emerging from the worlds of genomics, medicine, and technology. They describe the enormous profit potential from the aging demographic’s massive impact on global markets, the attributes of a mature workforce, the tools to make one’s older years purposeful and financially secure, and the new education paradigms incorporating older people as students and scholars. They detail the baby boomers' crucial role in philanthropy and intergenerational collaboration, and discuss the development of livable cities that herald even more civic contribution from millions of older adults.

“In the past century, discovery and innovation have enabled longevity that would be unimaginable to our forebears. Increased longevity has contributed to unprecedented global economic growth and new opportunities for personal fulfillment that previous generations could only dream of,” says Irving. “A massive demographic shift across America and the world is accelerating and the possibilities are mind-boggling. Innovation in precision medicine, digital health tools, and prevention present us and our children with the likelihood of even more time to work, play, learn, give back and enjoy family and friends.”

With a positive call to action, the book suggests new ways of thinking about aging, as the world’s mature population reaches unprecedented size and significance. Among topics examined are:

  • The emotional intelligence and qualities of the aging brain that science is uncovering, “senior moments” notwithstanding.
  • The new worlds of genomics, medicine and technology that are revolutionizing health care and wellness.
  • The aging population’s massive impact on global markets, with enormous profit potential from an explosion in products and services geared toward mature consumers.
  • New education paradigms to meet the needs and aspirations of older people, and to capitalize on their talents.
  • The benefits that aging workers and entrepreneurs bring to companies, and the crucial role of older people in philanthropy and society.
  • Tools and policies to facilitate financial security for longer and more purposeful lives.
  • Infrastructure and housing changes to create livable cities for all ages, enabling “aging in place” and continuing civic contribution from millions of older adults. 
  • The opportunities and potential for intergenerational engagement and collaboration.

With insight and intelligence, The Upside of Aging defines a future that differs profoundly from past generations’ retirement dreams, one that holds promise and power and bears the stamp of a generation that has changed every stage of life through which it has moved.

See More
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