We often think being alone is something to fear. Yet it has been an integral component in the lives of many of our greatest thinkers. Are we more real when we are alone and perhaps also more alive?
According to Issues Online, the number of people today aged 60 and over has doubled since 1980. The number of people aged 80 years will almost quadruple to 395 million between now and 2050. Within the next five years, the number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of five. By 2050, these older adults will outnumber all children under the age of 14. The majority of older people live in low- or middle-income countries. By 2050, this number will have increased to 80%.
This paper is a an evolving examination of issues around, and responses to, the challenge or caring for elders, on the emotional, mental, physical, practical, spiritual levels.
In a growing number of countries, such as England, government-funded care for older people is being increasingly rationed, leaving growing numbers to fend for themselves.
Deloitte announced that it will offer up to 16 weeks of fully paid leave for a wide range of caregiving, including maternity and paternity leave, eldercare and aid for other sick family members or partners. The policy is a recognition that caregiving isn’t limited to new parents, but affects a far broader class of employees.
Recent studies suggest that one common factor can be found in the "happiest" 10% of people: the strength of their social relationships. Psychological research also seems to show that, as people get older, they generally become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world.
Meanwhile, at the societal level, tools like The Happy Planet Index (see video below) measure the happiness of countries in relation to the amount of resources each one uses, while the Mappiness (see image) app beeps users once (or more) a day to ask how they're feeling, and a few basic things to control for: who they're with, where they are and what they're doing, and builds from this a barometer of societal mood.
Many are imagining, some even planning for, the coming of the "singularity". Some are for, some against, many others sceptical that it could ever arrive.
Ray Kurzweil, who inter alia works on Google's machine learning project, predicts that by 2029, humans will be extending their lives considerably or even indefinitely. He also believes the human brain could be enhanced by tiny robotic implants that connect to cloud-based computer networks to give us 'God-like' abilities.
My heart is like a singing bird, whose nest is in a watered shoot.
My heart is like an apple-tree, whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit.
My heart is like a rainbow shell that paddles in a halcyon sea.
My heart is gladder than all these.
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down.
Hang it with vair and purple dyes.
Carve it in doves and pomegranates.
Within next 10 years, there will be 1 billion older people worldwide. By 2050 nearly one in five people in developing countries will be over 60. Check out this infographic by HelpAge International, an agency that helps older people lead dignified and healthy lives to see how the world demographic will change in the coming years. Delve into the latest data on ageing via the HelpAge International website.
We don't stop playing because we grow old- We grow old because we stop playing - George Bernard Shaw