As a society, we seem to be obsessed with reversing the ageing process. Plastic surgery, anti-ageing treatments and remedies to maximise youthfulness are in high demand, but what could this obsessive hunt for increased longevity mean for our communities?
Imagine waking up tomorrow to the news of a brand-new pill that extended your lifespan by 30 years.
30 extra years added to your life, just like that.
Most of us would be thrilled. Most of us would snap the pill up as soon as possible and settle ourselves down for a life that could easily extend to 100, 110, even 120.
But as the ageing population saw birthdays come and go, imagine that we collectively realise that, although the older generation is living longer than ever before, they are also requiring more care.
This pill extended life but didn’t put a stop to the ageing process. The miracle medicine may not appear to be such a miracle any more. Societal attitudes and perceptions won’t have changed overnight.
The past one hundred years have been an incredible example of what humankind is capable of. Technology has leapt forward with such speed that even we sometimes feel as though we are living in the future.
Medicine has developed from guesswork and prayers to 3D printing new body parts and reprogramming cells to treat cancer.
The sheer speed of these advancements has been fantastic news for all of us, but has also brought with it a set of unique problems.
The scenario above is not yet a reality, but eventually we will get to the point where our average lifespan exceeds 100. After all, it is said that the first person to live beyond 150 has already been born.
A child born at the dawn of the 20th century could expect to live to about 50, but now the average is around 80.
So whilst we strive for longevity, do we sometimes forget about what effect this may have on our society?
With stories of elder abuse on the rise, ageism alive and well, and even the necessity of a Royal Commission into the aged care sector, how can we hope to deal with an elderly population that not only lives longer, but requires more care than ever before?
The answer, perhaps, lies in facing the potential issue head on, investing in prevention rather than cure.
Instead of allowing our increasing ageing population to become isolated from community, we should all be living our lives to their fullest extent, healthy, independent and connected the whole way through.
This is exactly what the More Choices for a Longer Life package is all about.
We went to Berrington Como for the launch of the government package, which aims to offer older Australians more choice, opportunities and certainty, with a focus on helping people live independently for as long as possible.
As early adopters who advocate for the values presented in the More Choices for a Longer Life package, Berrington was well suited to host the event in their new Como facility.
The luxurious presence of Berrington Como, with its wide walkways and serene surroundings, has been likened to a cruise ship more than once.
Residents have their own rooms that are tailored to their personal needs, gardens and walkways weave throughout the grounds, always available for an afternoon stroll in the sun, and frequent events keep everyone well entertained.
But it isn’t just the facility that makes the difference. It is the beliefs and values that Berrington bring to their role as one of the top aged care providers in the state.
Living independently and experiencing a greater level of choice and certainty is vital for our ageing population, so it is encouraging to see that not only have the government budgeted for more investment in this area, but providers like Berrington are already living and breathing these important values.
In our current state of fear and uncertainty, fuelled by shocking reports and a story-hungry media, it is good to know that if the miracle pill appears one day, we can be safe in the knowledge that there are people and organisations out there equipped to help us deal with the opportunities and considerations it would bring.
Read more about the More Choices for a Longer Life package here.