Monday, 10 December 2012

Out with the young and in with the old(er)....

The Baby Boomer generation, the same crowd that sat around smoking groovy cigarettes, listening to Bob Dylan, and vigorously celebrating the development of the contraceptive pill, have found themselves thrust into the centre of another socio-economic epoch: the golden age of aging.

Better education, improved healthcare and a steady increase in living conditions have led to a boom in life expectancy. We live in an age where conventional demographics have been turned on their head. The 2008 US Census Bureau report: An Aging World revealed for example that:

  • The proportion of people over 65 is predicted to outweigh the number of children under five by the year 2018.
  • Life expectancy now exceeds 80 years old in 11 developed countries. 

Unprecedented longevity, coupled with a drop in fertility rates has produced more ‘top-heavy’ families comprising fewer children and a greater proportion of elders. This means that by 2040, more than one out of every four Europeans is likely to be at least 65-years-old. 

You might therefore assume that the shelves of all reputable book shops would be buckling under the weight of tomes on retirement aging and sex; but aside from the stacks of financial guides (that would be more use prescribed to insomniacs as sleeping aids) you’d be wrong. Instead you will find a busty celebrity’s fifth autobiography of the year (surely there’s only so much you can say about the changing size of your own breasts?). Apparently not.

As well as enjoying record longevity in the 21st century, sexually active life expectancy is also at an historic high for both sexes. By 55, men have an average of 15 years of sexually active years compared to 10 years for women. I have spoken to many people who still have exciting and experimental sex-lives well into their 80’s and beyond.