By Paul H. Irving
Wiley, Spring, 2014
The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose explores a titanic shift that will alter every aspect of human existence, from the jobs we hold to the products we buy to the medical care we receive – an aging revolution underway across America and the world. Moving beyond the stereotypes of dependency and decline that have defined older age, The Upside of Aging reveals the vast opportunity and potential of this aging phenomenon, despite significant policy and societal challenges that must be addressed. The book’s chapter authors, all prominent thought-leaders, point to a reinvention and reimagination of our older years that have critical implications for people of all ages.
With a positive call to action, the book illuminates the upside for health and wellness, work and volunteerism, economic growth, innovation and education. The authors, like the baby boom generation itself, posit new ways of thinking about aging, as longevity and declining birthrates put the world on track for a mature population of unprecedented size and significance. Among topics they examine are:
• The emotional intelligence and qualities of the aging brain that science is uncovering, “senior moments” notwithstanding.
• The new worlds of genomics, medicine and technology that are revolutionizing health care and wellness.
• The aging population’s massive impact on global markets, in products and services geared toward mature consumers.
• New education paradigms to meet the needs and aspirations of older people, and to capitalize on their talents.
• The benefits that aging workers and entrepreneurs bring to companies, and the crucial role of older people in philanthropy and society.
• Tools and policies to facilitate financial security for longer and more purposeful lives.
• Infrastructure and housing changes to create livable cities for all ages, enabling “aging in place” and continuing civic contribution from millions of older adults.
• The opportunities and potential for intergenerational engagement and collaboration.
The Upside of Aging defines a future that differs profoundly from the retirement dreams of our parents and grandparents, one that holds promise and power and bears the stamp of a generation that has changed every stage of life through which it has moved.
PRAISE FOR THE UPSIDE OF AGING
“In The Upside of Aging, Paul Irving assembles the leading thinkers to examine the most transformative demographic issue of our time. Conclusion: the future has begun and it’s likely to be longer than you think and better than you expect.”
—Jane Pauley, award-winning broadcast journalist and author, Your Life Calling
“When have you seen the words ‘aging’ and ‘upside’ in the same sentence? This myth-busting book demolishes obsolete notions, illuminating profound opportunities for our communities, our society and ourselves. Its hopeful message, grounded in reality, will change how you think—and even how you live.”
—Thomas Tierney, chairman and co-founder, The Bridgespan Group; former chief executive, Bain & Company
“A treasure chest of research, insight, experience and pragmatic ideas, this highly accessible book is indispensable for understanding—and responding creatively to—today’s massive global demographic transformation.”
—David Bornstein, New York Times columnist and author, How to Change the World
“An invaluable book. The Upside of Aging offers a fresh look at our later years. Its compelling insights reveal tremendous global opportunities that far outweigh the challenges arising from the convergence of longer lifespans and an aging population.”
—Jean Chatzky, bestselling author and financial editor, NBC’s TODAY show
“The Upside of Aging offers a wise counterpoint to the chorus of voices comparing the longevity revolution with some dire natural catastrophe: a ‘tsunami’ of elders about to overwhelm us. A collection of thought leaders show us how much we have to gain from all the years added to our collective life span. Optimistic, sensible and compelling, this book arrives at the perfect moment.”
—Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, author, speaker, and commentator
“A potent antidote to negative stereotypes about aging, this eye-opening book accentuates the many positives in longer lives and a longer-lived society. You will feel better just by reading it.”
—Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, president, Institute of Medicine