The human population is getting older, but are we aging?
Does That Mean Dirt Is Getting Older?
"That guy's old as dirt!" Have you ever heard that phrase? It's generally said with a snicker or, at times, as a sign of respect. After all, if someone was able to actually get as old as dirt, that would be pretty impressive! However, with advances in healthcare people are living longer and longer lifespans and looking pretty good while doing it. Basically, old age isn't quite what it used to be, and so people are thinking maybe it's time to reexamine old age.
- How Old Is Old? from AMNH http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gbh8EPZyQo
Use the resources below to answer the following questions:
- At what age have people been considered "elderly"? Think of people you know that are this age or older. Does this term seem to apply to them? Why or why not?
- Does extending someone's life span always equate to better health? Why or why not? Does this suggest to you any sorts of behavior that are beneficial to aging people?
- What new definition of "elderly" is being considered? Does this seem like a reasonable definition to you? Why or why not?
- In applying this new definition, do you think it matters that while we know average lifespans of populations, we don't know how long any individual will live?
- What implications does average life span have for future planning in different countries? Start simple and then see where these implications lead. Do these implications lead to a single conclusion or are there multiple possible outcomes?