Thanks to advances in medicine science, and technology, today there are more people living past 60. Globally, there are over 900 million people in their golden years, and a combination of greater life expectancy and lower fertility rates means by 2050, 2.1 billion people, or nearly 22 percent of the population, will be 60 or older.
The U.S. Census reports close to 54 million adults 65 and over live in the states right now. And that number will increase to 85 million by 2050.
The oldest old will continue to rise as well. The people 80 and older, will triple by 2050, growing to almost 450 million. In some Asian and Latin American countries, the number of the oldest old is predicted to quadruple by 2050. Here is the states, the oldest old will makeup 4.5% of the population by 2050, compared to 2% today.
The news may appeal to you, however, we face detrimental consequences of living longer. And these results are not that appealing. The World Health Organization predicts for people living another two decades, well into the mid-eighties, they will likely develop at least one chronic condition. Even today, the National Council on Aging says 92 percent of older adults (65+) have at least one.
When you look at the forecast, it plays out like this. The future prediction of chronic diseases, 80 percent will have one condition and 68 percent will have two or more. That’s 80 percent of the 60+ population. I don’t how you see that, but for me, that’s not something to look forward to.
The downside of living with chronic diseases is that it requires help with routine activities like bathing, dressing, meal preparation and transportation. The assistance is not low-cost either. And if the person develops more ailments and diseases, the demand for help becomes certain.
According to WHO, diabetes and heart disease will be the top two chronic conditions. Globally, diabetes has increased from 108 million people affected by it in 1980 to 465 million living with it today.
The best way to avoid diabetes is follow the guidelines:
— Cut out sugar and refined carbs like white bread, pastries, sugary drinks, juices
— Exercise regularly
— Drink water
— Stop smoking
— Lose weight if overweight
— Eat a low carb diet
— Lessen food portion sizes
— Avoid sedentary behavior
— Increase fiber
— Increase Vitamin D
— Lower processed foods intake
My added suggestion: When standing at the market checkout, don’t fall for the snack and drink temptations. Commit to eating healthy snacks and drinking water instead. Load the cart with apples, hummus, and raw vegetables.
Carol Marak is an aging advocate, syndicated columnist and editor at Seniorcare.com. She earned the Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.