Tip sheet looks at global longevity challenge

Photo: Tomi via Flickr

What do we mean by healthy longevity and how do we achieve it? That is the focus of the Global Grand Challenge, a multi-million dollar competition to accelerate improvements and innovation in healthy longevity. In a new tip sheet, Janice Lynch Schuster highlights initial efforts by policymakers, practitioners and academics from around the world to come together, share their expertise, and diverse ideas to address their respective aging populations.

The first of three planned meetings of global aging experts was held in Washington, D.C., in November 2019. These meetings will ultimately generate a Global Roadmap for healthy aging, spearheaded by National Academies president Victor Dzau. It’s an ambitious, but much-needed framework, according to attendees that Schuster spoke with.

The tip sheet takes a look at the many challenges involved in tackling issues of healthy aging — from defining the term to addressing problems of social determinants, health disparities, workforce challenges, economic justice, LGBTQ aging challenges, and improving average life expectancy in poorer nations.

Janice Lynch Schuster

Janice Lynch Schuster

The tip sheet provides story ideas and resources to help jump start reporters’ coverage of global aging issues. For example, take a look at pervasive ageism — it not only happens in the U.S., but other industrialized societies also marginalize older adults; they are frequently excluded from clinical trials, and are often negatively portrayed in advertising, television or movies.

Our interconnected world means journalists need to keep tabs on aging’s impact on policies societies around the world. By 2040, more than one in three adults in Germany, Italy and Japan will be retirees, according to the Global Aging Institute. The Population Reference Bureau projects “By 2050, nearly 1.2 billion of the expected 1.5 billion people age 65 or older will reside in today’s less developed regions. Just 22 percent of the world’s older people will live in what we today call more developed countries. This demographic transformation will profoundly affect the health and socioeconomic development of all nations. “

While we have made great strides in helping people live longer, not everyone experiences healthy longevity. The Grand Challenge aims to change that. Not only will winners of the competition receive significant monetary prizes, but their ideas could change how we address the challenges of aging on a global scale.

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