This generation of retirees is going to live longer than any in history. Today’s older adults are healthier, more active, and receiving better preventative care. On top of that, a growing group of scientists is trying to harness technology and modern medicine to slow down the aging process.
Experts call the cumulative effect of these changes to life expectancy, “the longevity effect.” They project that extending our years of healthy living can have tremendous benefits both to individuals and to society as a whole.
Let’s look at some of the cutting-edge advances in slowing biological aging and the recommendations by experts on what you can do to stay more than just young at heart.
You’ve probably seen products like AncestryDNA that can give you a robust genealogical profile from your DNA. Scientists are continuing to progress with technology to use your genes to test for serious diseases. There’s even hope of being able to test for genes that are associated with longevity, and others that could eventually shorten your lifespan.
We all know that the best medicine is preventative. If scientists can perfect this “road map” for life expectancy, the implications for your financial planning could be enormous. An accurate longevity expectancy could make it much easier to plan ahead for significant medical expenses that might not be covered by Medicare. With a better idea of when you were likely to start “slowing down” in your retirement, you might enjoy your early retirement years more and worry less about running out of money.
Fighting “Zombie Cells”
The cells in our bodies are constantly dividing. After a certain number of divisions, cells usually die. Those that don’t – so-called “zombie cells” – can build up in our bodies over time and interfere with how our healthy cells operate.
Scientists are looking for ways to clear out zombie cells via “interventions.” Clear out the zombies, and you’re eliminating cellular environments ripe for things like cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis. The more resistant we are to these kinds of diseases, the greater our longevity will be. The longer you live without having to cope with a debilitating disease, the longer you’ll be able to work part-time, volunteer, play your favorite sports, and vacation with your favorite people.
In the Meantime
There’s no guarantee that these specific medicines and technologies will be ready for the general public during your retirement. It’s safe to assume that advances both gradual and rapid will continue to improve the quality of your health care.
While we’re all waiting for the next big medical breakthrough, old fashioned common sense will go a long way towards a long and healthy retirement. Go to the doctor. Eat well. Exercise. Wear sunscreen. Pursue your passions with a vigor that will keep your body and mind energized.
While it may not sound as exciting as fighting zombie cells, the most important thing you can do to keep aging in check during retirement is to be proactive. It’s the most effective way to detect significant health problems while it’s still early enough to do something about them.