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We actively monitor change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

A Mundane Comedy is Dom Kelleher's new book. Extracts will appear on this site and across social media from late 2021. Please get in touch with any questions or thoughts.

The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on Twitter in late 2021 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

What's Changing? - Ageing



Please see below selected recent ageing-related change.


See also:


July 2021


June 2021


May 2021

  • The COVID pandemic negatively affected employment prospects for those over the age of 50, according to new data. The figures from the UK Office for National Statistics showed that workers aged 50 and over were more likely to report working fewer hours than usual, with those over 65 most likely to say they had worked reduced hours. The over-50s also made up more than a quarter of the 1.3 million people who were furloughed, and three in 10 of those workers on furlough believe there is a 50 per cent or higher chance that they will lose their job when the scheme ends.


April 2021


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December 2020

  • The biggest rise in unemployment since the onset of the pandemic has been among the young. But, warned the Financial Times, older workers are also disproportionately likely to have been furloughed or made redundant, and many have left the labour market. Evidence from previous recessions suggests they will struggle the most to find a new job even as the economy recovers. “Even pre-Covid, the re-employment rate was far lower for the over-50s than for any other group,” warned Emily Andrews, senior evidence manager at the Centre for Ageing Better.
  • There are about 200 children with progeria worldwide. Although they seem healthy as babies, by age 1 or 2 they are failing to grow, losing the fat under their skin, and developing vascular and other problems characteristic of 80-year-olds. They typically die around age 14 of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses of old age. Cognitively normal, they know exactly what is happening to them. However, research now suggests that CRISPR cures progeria in mice, raising hope for one-time therapy for a disease that causes rapid ageing,
  • South Korea's population dropped for the first time in over a decade, falling by almost 21,000 year-on-year as the number of deaths surpassed the number of births. South Korea is grappling with an increasingly aging society, with more than 24 percent of the population now over the age of 60.


November 2020

  • Researchers from Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Centre in Israel found that high-pressure oxygen therapy in hyperbaric chambers could halt and even reverse the shortening of telomeres, caps on the ends of chromosomes that are key to the ageing process. As we get older, telomeres shorten until the cells themselves die. High-pressure oxygen therapy lengthened participants’ telomeres, reversing ageing at the cellular level. The findings may lead to treatments that improve our ability to pay attention and process information as we age.
  • US President-elect Biden is three years older than Bill Clinton, who took the oath in 1992. The future-facing lesson for all of us? New World Same Humans thinks that it's this: we’ve extended the human healthspan, and that has made possible new kinds of story arcs across our lives. And besides, life is full of surprises. Never count yourself out.
  • As people age, they often lose their motivation to learn new things or engage in everyday activities. In a study of mice, MIT neuroscientists identified a brain circuit that is critical for maintaining this kind of motivation. This circuit is particularly important for learning to make decisions that require evaluating the cost and reward that come with a particular action. The researchers showed that they could boost older mice's motivation to engage in this type of learning by reactivating this circuit, and they could also decrease motivation by suppressing the circuit, reported Big Think.
  • Technological frontrunners like South Korea aren't immune to the digital gap between young and old, which has only widened as the pandemic increased our use of contactless technology. To narrow that divide, the Seoul Digital Foundation is employing robots to teach older adults to use KakaoTalk, one of South Korea's most popular messaging apps.
  • A professor of psychology at the University of California argued in Aeon that human beings need special care while we are young and when we become old. The 2020 pandemic made this vivid: millions of people across the world took care of children at home, and millions more tried to care for grandparents, even when they couldn’t be physically close to them. COVID-19 reminded us how much we need to take care of the young and the old. But it’s also reminded us how much we care for and about them, and how important the relations between the generations are. 


October 2020

  • One in nine people in the world is 60 or older and this is expected to rise to one in five people by 2050. Increased longevity is an indicator of successful economic development; however, an ageing population presents social and economic challenges that have become increasingly apparent in many industrialized nations around the globe. The implications of greater longevity are profound and demand a response from policymakers and financial institutions that adequately recognises the extent of the shift to longer working lives, with measures designed to meet the financial needs of ageing societies. The COVID 19 health crisis, with the devastating impact on many sectors of the global economy, exacerbated the already challenging situation with the retirement adequacy in many countries.


July 2020

  • Even before the coronavirus pandemic, high-profile collapses and negative publicity, not to mention steep costs, have increased the need for alternatives to residential care among a rapidly ageing population. Large-scale retirement villages have taken off in a big way in recent years. There are more than 100 in the UK alone, each usually comprised of 100 or more properties. There are a variety of housing styles with a range of facilities, some of which reach luxurious standards with sauna, spas and libraries. Meals and personal care are sometimes factored in within care packages and costs are tailored to the resident


June 2020


May 2020

  • Age discrimination has long blighted labour markets around the world, in spite of legal prohibitions against it, warned The Financial Times. Do campaigners worry the coronavirus crisis is about to make age discrimination far worse? “Hugely,” according to Ros Altmann, a former UK pensions ministers. “I’m so upset to see it.” Covid-19 has reinforced the idea of older people as frail and vulnerable. Some previous pandemics have largely affected the young — the polio outbreaks of the 1950s mainly hit children under five; the devastating 1918-19 flu killed millions of young adults — but Covid-19 mostly kills older sufferers.


April 2020

  • Age UK warned that prolonged social isolation for all over-70s could be “unimaginably” bleak. Given that the living symbol of the UK’s resistance to the virus turned 100 during the coronavirus crisis, Tortoise Media warned that it may not be a wise idea to patronise our elders.


March 2020


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December 2019


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June 2019


May 2019


April 2019

  • In Europe, taxes would have to rise as much as 30 percent to cover future pension outlays, claimed the IMF.


March 2019

  • For the first time in history there are more people over the age of 65 than under the age of five. The trend towards ageing has economists worried about soaring pension costs and weakening productivity. Older economies appear to be less productive because older workers are less eager to embrace new technologies. Research suggests that economic dynamism could be maintained by increasing industrial competition or immigration, but it will be difficult to win political support for either, warned The Economist.


February 2019

  • In 1997, about 5 percent of crimes in Japan were committed by people over the age of 65. By 2017, the percentage had risen to 20. Why, asked GZEROMedia? Some say Japan’s pension system isn’t generous enough and that the elderly are choosing prison, where they’re guaranteed three meals a day, over poverty. Others add that many older Japanese would rather live within a prison community than isolated and lonely on the outside. Whatever the cause, this may become a problem worth studying in all countries with fast-expanding populations of pensioners.
  • Further reading:


January 2019


December 2018

  • The UN estimated that the world will have 2.1 billion people over age 60 by 2050. Around the world, governments (and companies) are grappling with the implications of aging populations, and reassessing how retirement works. The New York Times examined ways countries are addressing the issue (paywall), from increasing the retirement age to reforming pension systems to incentivising people to work longer.


November 2018

  • In a culture that celebrates youth and vitality as the summum bonum, old age and its attendant frailties seem more like shameful system failures than inevitable realities from which we might learn. It need not be this way, argued The Hedgehog Review, which looked at ageing and dying from a number of vantage points: socioeconomic, personal, literary, and medical - all with the aim of recovering the meaning and value of life in its twilight hours.
  • More than half of Japanese babies can expect to live to 100. The Economist noted that this prospect would have horrified Yukio Mishima, a writer who thought it so important to die young and handsome that he ritually disembowelled himself after staging a pantomime “coup” attempt in 1970. It horrifies today’s pessimists, too. They worry that, as the country ages and its population shrinks, health bills will soar, the pension system will go bust, villages will empty and there will be too few youngsters to care for the elderly.
  • China is turning grey on a scale the world has never seen, noted Quartz News, exploring what happens when the world’s largest group of baby boomers remains eager and able to work past retirement age, and why we need to redefine the role of ageing populations in society.


October 2018


September 2018


August 2018

  • Humans are living longer, which puts additional strain on healthcare provision, social care and pensions. And unless these issues are addressed, they could wreak havoc on economies in the future, warned the World Economic Forum (WEF). The thinking goes that by harnessing the potential of older workers, governments can raise additional tax revenues and increase spending power, which in turn boosts output
  • In this vein, PwC’s Golden Age Index assesses the impact of older workers on different aspects of a country’s labour market, including employment, earnings, the gender gap and participation in training. Iceland topped the 2018 index with 84% of the 55-64 age range employed, compared with the OECD average of 60%. New Zealand was second (78%) and Israel (66.8%) took the final podium step. At the other end of the scale were Luxembourg with 40% of the same age group employed, Greece with 37% and Turkey with 34%.
  • Scientists at Yale have developed a blood test that can estimate a person’s life-expectancy. The test involves the analysis of nine biomarkers in the human body that indicate how long a body is likely to survive as opposed to how long it’s been out of the womb, according to The Guardian.
  • Much has been written in recent years about the growth in the multi-generational workplace that will see millennials, boomers and Gen Xers rubbing shoulders for the first time. When taken together with workplace trends such as the rise in the gig economy, it’s prompted many to reassess the linear model of life that sees us study > work > retire, which, for RealKM, is a model that tends to diminish the value of people as they near the end of the work phase, which could see both organisations and society missing out on tremendous wisdom.
  • This is an argument also made in a recent book, Wisdom at Work, which argues that we should be seeing the rise of modern ‘elders’ who can impart distinct wisdom, especially in technology-driven workplaces that often favour the young.


June 2018

  • While the ageing of society has become one of the givens in today’s world, less is made of the lived experience of the very elderly in society, noted The Conversation. And although there is some suggestion that the much trumpeted steady expansion of the human lifespan has begun to slow down, the numbers of very old people continue to grow. Despite this, debates about the resourcing of universal health and social care tend not to examine the costs associated with extreme ageing. 
  • Multivitamins aren’t helping people live longer, argued Quartz. For most people, there is no reason to take them.
  • The last human who was alive in the 19th century died. Nabi Tajima passed away in April 2018 in a hospital on the Japanese island of Kikaijima. At 117 years old, she was both the world’s oldest woman and the only known living person who was born in 1900 (which is, in fact, part of the 19th century). Her secret to good health? “Eating delicious things and sleeping well”, according to Quartz.
  • Over the past 500 years, life expectancy has effectively doubled in countries around the world.
  • A chorus of nursery rhymes may not be what one expects to hear on walking into an elderly people’s home, but a retirement facility London has its residents doing just that -and children are there to lead the way. The facility is the first of its kind in the UK that integrates both older residents and children into the delivery of the curriculum and elderly care. With a nursery and a care home on the same site, the children are able to visit the elderly residents on a daily basis - to the delight of both parties.
  • 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%.
  • In one country alone (UK), 60% of older people agree that age discrimination exists in the daily lives of older people. 50% of adults agree that once you reach very old age, people tend to treat you like a child. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia primarily affect the over-60s, heart and circulatory diseases are the largest cause of mortality in adults over 65 and there are steep increases in alcohol-related hospital admissions for pensioners, while many older people suffer from isolation, with a third of people aged over 65 wanting to be more socially active.
  • A London Business School professor of management practice argued that the trajectory of our lives, professionally and personally, remains trapped in a mind-set that applied when life spans were much shorter. In her book, The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity, Gratton explained why lives are moving from two stages to three and what that means not only for individuals but for corporations and governments as well.
  • When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, they found a poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
  • 2011 saw the first baby-boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, reach 65. Over the next 20 years, what has been called the "most numerous, most successful and luckiest generation ever" will gradually move into retirement.  Indeed, most wealth is owned by the over 65s, and increasingly, most of that wealth will be owned by women (see video) - a business opportunity many organisations don't seem to have woken up to yet. Globally, the number of those aged 65 and over is growing at around twice the rate of the overall population, and by 2050 nearly one in three people will be aged over 60. This is now the fastest-growing primary segment of the world’s population, and its growth rate is outstripped only by that of an even older subgroup: those aged 80 and above.