Carstensen: A Long Bright Future

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  • My plan this afternoon is to provide a broad overview of life in the 21 st century, focusing on information that may help you plan for lives that last twice as long as your ancestors lives’ only 100 years ago. But let me get right to the bottom line: The 20th Century made us a fabulous gift with no strings attached: a third part of life, another thirty years for the average person. We need to start talking about supersized lives , and what we need to do right now to prepare for societies where most people reach old age -societies in which there will be more people over 60 than under 15. You know that people are living longer. We hear it all the time. We see it on tv and read about in newspapers. Indeed, I sometimes think we’ve heard about it so much that we’ve come to accept the numbers with a kind of complacency. But this is a change unprecedented in the history of humankind. Zoom out. Throughout most of human evolution,.. . . Mid-30s, 47, 77, now 78, MORE YEARS THAN ALL OF PRIOR LMILLENIA COMVBINED: change isn’t finished with us yet, and 3 months each year to LE at 65 Across the same years that LE increased, FERTILITY decreased. That combination . NEXT SLIDE
  • For many endeavors , like work, we may reach our peak in mid life. (may be retiring right at our peak)
  • Carstensen: A Long Bright Future

    1. 1. A Long Bright Future Laura L. Carstensen Professor of Psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinsen Jr. Professor of Public Policy Director, Stanford Center on Longevity
    2. 3. Percentage of the United States Population Over the Age of 65 Demographic Trends in the 20 th Century by Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, November 2002
    3. 4. US: From pyramid to cube as the population ages United Nations, World Population Prospects , 2004, medium variant forecast
    4. 5. National Health Interview Survey: Percent reporting Serious Psychological Distress Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003
    5. 6. John Shoven, New Age Thinking: Alternative Ways of Measuring Age, Their Relationship to Labor Force Participation, Government Policies and GDP
    6. 7. Salthouse, T. (2010) Major Issues in Cognitive Aging

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