‘Resilient Aging’ Will Become More Important As U.S. Population Trends Older

U.S. Census projection of population's age
The U.S. Census predicts that by around 2055, the number of people older than 64 will be larger than the number younger than 18.

Scientists say as the world population continues to trend older, a concept called “resilient aging” will become more important.

For at least hundreds of years, and still today, the number of people under age 15 has been larger than the number age 60 and older. Population experts predict by the year 2050, the older and younger groups will be tied at 21 percent of the population, with most of the balancing coming from older people living longer.

University of Illinois professor Elizabeth Stine-Morrow says cartoonist Gary Larson once created a Far Side panel that portrayed the downside of getting older. “The ‘Old Age Truck’ that runs the guy over, and it says, ‘you never see it coming.’ Well, we see it coming,” she said, “and we don’t want to be run over: we want to drive it.”

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Stine-Morrow says to offset or reduce the tendency of people over 60 to lose some awareness and other cognitive skills, it’s vital to get those folks engaged in regular exercise, rewarding social connections and other positive things. She says if more people are going to be alive longer, their aging should be resilient or able to recover some lost skills. Stine-Morrow spoke Sunday at a science meeting in Chicago.