Frank Greeve at McClatchy has a nice piece on what fancy-pants experts call…
“the compression of morbidity”
This means more life and living with less illness and disability. The idea is not that people get a greater lifespan (the top end remains about 110 years) but rather that more and more people are blessed with a greater healthspan.
Most people hope for healthspan to equal their lifespan. The actor James Dean accomplished this with the only problem being that he wrecked his car and was killed when he was still in his early twenties. Not sick a day in his life though.
More attractive is the option of achieving both longevity and a generous healthspan. This dream seems to be coming true for more and more people. The full article is here.
WASHINGTON — The remarkable thing about National Public Radio senior news analyst Daniel Schorr, 91, who only recently gave up tennis, and Landrum Bolling, 94, the globe-trotting director at large for the relief agency Mercy Corps, is the same: They aren’t.
A surprising decline in disability rates among older Americans since the 1980s is enabling millions more to lead longer, richer, spryer lives.
“This is a very important positive outcome,” said Dr. Richard Suzman, the director of the behavioral and social research program at the National Institute on Aging…
Already, the decline has put to rest fears that greater longevity would mean only more years in pain. A National Center for Health Statistics study published in August found the opposite: that older Americans typically are disability-free for the roughly 10 months of life expectancy that were added from 1992 to 2003.
(H/T Alex M)