Nation’s Most Prominent Experts Share Their Insights on The Upside of Aging in New Book

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The Milken Institute’s contributing authors explore how long life is changing the world of health, work, innovation, policy, and purpose.

The Upside of Aging

Many years ago, my generation – the baby boom generation – challenged authority and convention and, in doing so, redefined an age. And the baby boomers are at it again, changing expectations and the way we think about aging.

An aging revolution is changing the world, a titanic shift that will alter every aspect of human existence. In their new book, The Upside of Aging: How Long Life is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy, and Purpose (WILEY; April 2014; Hardcover & e-book; $39.95; ISBN: 978-1-118-69203-5), Paul Irving, president of the Milken Institute, and his co-authors move beyond the stereotypes of dependency and decline that have defined older age to look at aging in a new way. Exploring the vast potential of longer lives, The Upside of Aging reveals how the challenges can be met with positive solutions for people of all ages.

The contributing authors, all prominent thought leaders, reveal the remarkable upside for health, work and entrepreneurship, volunteerism, innovation, and education, as longevity and declining birth rates create a mature population of unprecedented size and significance.

“Many years ago, my generation – the baby boom generation – challenged authority and convention and, in doing so, redefined an age. And the baby boomers are at it again, changing expectations and the way we think about aging,” says Irving.

In enlightening, fact-based chapters, the writers examine dramatic opportunities arising from the intelligence of the aging brain, and the health and wellness revolution emerging from the worlds of genomics, medicine, and technology. They describe the enormous profit potential from the aging demographic’s massive impact on global markets, the attributes of a mature workforce, the tools to make one’s older years purposeful and financially secure, and the new education paradigms incorporating older people as students and scholars. They detail the baby boomers' crucial role in philanthropy and intergenerational collaboration, and discuss the development of livable cities that herald even more civic contribution from millions of older adults.

“In the past century, discovery and innovation have enabled longevity that would be unimaginable to our forebears. Increased longevity has contributed to unprecedented global economic growth and new opportunities for personal fulfillment that previous generations could only dream of,” says Irving. “A massive demographic shift across America and the world is accelerating and the possibilities are mind-boggling. Innovation in precision medicine, digital health tools, and prevention present us and our children with the likelihood of even more time to work, play, learn, give back and enjoy family and friends.”

With a positive call to action, the book suggests new ways of thinking about aging, as the world’s mature population reaches unprecedented size and significance. Among topics examined are:

  •     The emotional intelligence and qualities of the aging brain that science is uncovering, “senior moments” notwithstanding.
  •     The new worlds of genomics, medicine and technology that are revolutionizing health care and wellness.
  •     The aging population’s massive impact on global markets, with enormous profit potential from an explosion in products and services geared toward mature consumers.
  •     New education paradigms to meet the needs and aspirations of older people, and to capitalize on their talents.
  •     The benefits that aging workers and entrepreneurs bring to companies, and the crucial role of older people in philanthropy and society.
  •     Tools and policies to facilitate financial security for longer and more purposeful lives.
  •     Infrastructure and housing changes to create livable cities for all ages, enabling “aging in place” and continuing civic contribution from millions of older adults.
  •     The opportunities and potential for intergenerational engagement and collaboration.

With insight and intelligence, The Upside of Aging defines a future that differs profoundly from past generations’ retirement dreams, one that holds promise and power and bears the stamp of a generation that has changed every stage of life through which it has moved.

About the authors

Paul H. Irving is president of the Milken Institute, where he leads initiatives to improve public health and aging across America and the world, expand capital access, and enhance philanthropic impact. Under his direction, the Institute produced the widely acknowledged Best Cities for Successful Aging index. Formerly CEO of a large professional services firm and a corporate lawyer, Irving remains actively involved in global business and charitable leadership in his "encore career."

Contributing authors: Laura L. Carstensen, Pinchas Cohen, Freda Lewis-Hall, Joseph F. Coughlin, Ken Dychtwald, Michael M. Hodin, Marc Freedman, Jody Heymann, Susan Raymond, Henry Cisneros, Steven Knapp, Fernando M. Torres-Gil, Baroness Sally Greengross, Dan Houston, Philip A. Pizzo, A. Barry Rand; with a foreword by Michael Milken.

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