What Is the Approaching Age Wave? Excerpts from the Talk
“When our Constitution was crafted, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was barely 36 years and the median age was a mere 16. During the time of our founding fathers, there was no anticipation of an ‘age wave.’
“Similarly, when Social Security began, the average American could expect to live only 62 years [whereas] today life expectancy is approaching 79 (and steadily rising). By 2050, the number of Americans 65 and older will multiply from 46 million today to 88 million.
“We are living in truly unchartered territory and longevity is humanity’s new frontier. As the baby boomers turn 70 at the rate of 10,000 a day, America is becoming a “gerontocracy.”
“This is not a Democrat or Republican issue that only impacts “seniors”…[but] a demographic issue that will affect us all—in our minds, hearts, and wallets. It will have a particularly brutal impact on the millennial generation.
“This demographic transformation will create new opportunities as well as potentially devastating crises. Are we prepared? No. Are the candidates addressing this “age wave” and offering innovative solutions? No. Have the political media been covering this issue? No. WHY NOT?
For a list of questions for the candidates on Alzheimer’s and other aging topics of critical importance, read the transcript or listen to the audio file of Ken Dychtwald's presentation.
Ken Dychtwald believes there’s something missing in this presidential campaign season, and he’s not talking about courtesy. As president and CEO of AgeWave, a California-based thought leader, he wants to know where candidates stand on aging issues.
“I’ve watched every single minute of every single debate and each time I’ve left thinking, “I must be on a different planet,” he said.
Today, in a national telephone forum, he posed questions for the candidates under five broad areas to help older Americans age more successfully.
Among them: he wants to hear plans addressing the Social Security crisis; long-term care needs; retrofitting housing and communities to promote aging in place; and looming health crises, including Alzheimer’s.
“Diseases of aging could be the financial and emotional sinkhole into which America falls,” Dychtwald said. “We have done much to expand lifespan, but little to expand the healthspan.
“I’ve heard journalist after journalist ask, ‘what is each candidate’s plan to defeat ISIS,’ but no one’s asking about their plan to defeat Alzheimer’s,’ he said, referring to the looming Alzheimer’s epidemic as an issue of highest priority.
“This disease is a horrific disease that will be the blight of the aging world, and we’re not dealing with it,” he said. He added that it’s not only the growing numbers who will be affected, but also the misery it causes, that make Alzheimer’s so devastating.
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