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Population Trends -Aging ans society.

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AGING People are getting older - an obvious truth, isn't it? Everyone ages with the passing of time. But there is another meaning to this unavoidable fact. It is that people's life expectancy is increasing and there are a growing number of people in the world who live longer than ever before. Average life expectancy has increased from 26 years 2000 years ago, to 49 years at the beginning of the 20th century and to 76 years in many countries today. In the journal Science it is stated that life expectancy will go on increasing indefinitely. Scientists conclude that as early as 2070 female life expectancy in the USA could be as high as 101 years. By 2020, more than half of all highly developed countries' adults will be over fifty. For the first time in history most of us can expect to get old. In fact, the over-50s own 80 per cent of the most nations' wealth. They include students, newlyweds, parents of young children, chief executives, government ministers. If we define the old as they have been defined throughout history, as those between 50 and 100-plus, they cover two to three generations and include many of the most eminent, active and affluent people in the world. ...read more.


Future historians are going to be overwhelmed by material, because every other person seems to be writing a memoir, not necessarily for publication, but because for the first time in history masses of people have enough time, energy and education to try it. There has been talk in some political circles that some responsibility for social welfare should be shifted from governments to families. This would encourage several generations to live together in extended families. However, this is a dangerous policy that could lead to a variety of social problems, not only for the elderly, but also for the families that would have to look after them. Often, it is the elderly who are reluctant to live with their children. Several main reasons are commonly given for this. The first is that many want to retain their independence. They want to be able to come and go as they please, and to be able to live their lives in their own way and not to have fit in with other people, even if they are family. When with their family, they often feel that they have lost some control over their lives, even if the alternative is to rely on support services such as visits from nurses or people to cook their meals. ...read more.


This is also against nature - it is a natural tendency for young people to want to leave the parental influence and make decisions by themselves. Indeed, many argue, it is only by doing this that a young person can learn valuable lessons in life through making their own decisions and being directly affected by their consequences. Though many of these young people may benefit to some extent from the greater experience and knowledge of their family elders, overall the scope for personal growth of young adult family members is reduced in extended families. It is clear that severe social problems will result if a return to living in extended families is encouraged. Individuals should be able to choose how they organize their living arrangements, and everyone should have the chance to enjoy the benefits of independent living. And perhaps we need to go back to something more like the Middle Ages when a person's precise age wasn't always known, when society was less bureaucratized and age wasn't a basic organizing principle. There will come a time for each of us when we can no longer do what we want. Until then, it makes sense to get on as much as you can. ...read more.

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