Welcome Bloggers to Live to 100 and Beyond

We invite you to celebrate your favorite centenarian by submitting photos and short stories or bios. Please email to adler@ncap100s.org.

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"People have been fascinated by longevity ever since learning of Ponce de Leon’s search in Florida, five centuries ago, for the fountain of youth. In the twentieth century, the search for longevity, and the good health that makes it possible, had been enhanced by discoveries such as antibiotics and other lifesaving drugs, heroic medical interven­tions, which included organ transplants, heart pacemakers and other life-prolonging devices, the emergence of preventive medicine, and a new focus on wellness. On an individual level, people were realizing that, to an ever-increasing extent, they were able to influence life-style factors that could lead to a healthier and longer life—perhaps even a life of 100 years or more." (Opening paragraph from "Centenarians, The Bonus Years," by Lynn Peters Adler, Health Press, Santa Fe, NM, 1995)

Longevity itself is one of the greatest advances of the 20th century, adding approximately 30 years to the average life span. Now, in the 21st century, with the advent of even greater medical advances and the promise shown by stem cell and genetic breakthroughs, the chances for an even greater increase in longevity seems possible.

Active centenarians are our role models. They are helping to redefine aging in new and inspirational ways.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Longevity Economy: From The Elderly, A New Source Of Economic Growth

By Paul Irving & Anusuya Chatterjee

Apple Computer once famously advised us to “think different.”  It’s time to think different about America’s ongoing demographic shift — and to think seriously about the opportunities it holds.

For decades, we’ve been conditioned to believe that growth is driven by the entrepreneurship, consumerism and aspirations of the young. We’ve learned about new technologies, products and services from our children, often the early adopters, who lead us to new ways of communicating, working and playing.  Advertisers and marketers see the young as most open to new fashion and change, and as prime consumer targets. Products and services aimed at the young abound.

Conversely, there is a widely held view that aging hangs like a dark cloud over individuals, families, communities and many countries in the developed world. In the U.S., we hear daily that the aging of more than 78 million baby boomers brings with it the burden of entitlements, the inadequacy of pensions, and the rising costs of healthcare.

However, there’s a silver lining in the cloud of aging – and it’s big.  Aging boomers represent a powerful wave of potential and opportunity.  Longevity is not diminishing their influence; it’s changing their focus as consumers, leaders, learners and workers.  Demography is destiny, and the size of a generation counts. Now is the time for businesses, investors, educators, public policy makers and others to share in the fruits of longevity, or miss the chance to benefit from a massive emerging market. Are the boomers capable of driving the economy forward?

Just look at the numbers. In 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, disposable income for Americans 50+ was over $3 trillion.  That age group also accounted for almost one half of all expenditures: spending over $250 billion on apparel, personal-care products, education and entertainment alone.  Leading market analyst Nielsen, together with BoomAgers, says that boomers are “as likely as younger cohorts to experiment with new products.” There is very clearly is a growing hunger for products and services tailored to satisfy the needs, interests and aspirations of the rapidly growing mature consumer market.

Another enduring misperception is that the 50+ are technologically challenged and unplugged. In fact, aging consumers are tech savvy and eager for more. The same Nielsen report states that boomers spend $7 billion on online shopping, are quite active in social media, and represent one of the highest TV viewership groups — a wake-up call for those in entertainment, marketing and brand integration.  Savvy companies are already serving up content for this target group: from NBC, Proctor & Gamble, and Verizon to Nintendo. These and other forward-thinking companies are both expanding existing businesses, and creating whole new ones focused on an aging demographic in areas such as financial services, lifestyle, dating, fashion, travel and education...

...The longevity economy – understanding and capitalizing on it – and thinking different – can be an important part of the solution to America’s economic challenges and the challenges of many aging societies.  It’s a powerful opportunity driven by dramatic demographic shifts and a hunger for products, services, innovation, and ideas focused on a huge, rapidly evolving and lucrative market – our aging population.

Paul H. Irving is the President of the Milken Institute and Anusuya Chatterjee is a senior economist at the Milken Institute.

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ABC Barbara Walters Special - Aging & Longevity

The ABC Barbara Walters Special on longevity aired in April of 2008. I was asked two years ago to participate in this project and it was a wonderful, exhilarating experience. It was both an honor and a privilege to work with Ms. Walters and the talented and caring team of professionals on her staff. I invite you to read the "Behind the Scene" story on our website. Here's the link: http://www.adlercentenarians.org/ABCWalters_special.htm
Posts & comments about the special and the participating centenarians follow. Please scroll down.