Dramatic increases in life expectancy are shaking the structure of societies around the world and profoundly altering human perceptions of life and death. Not only are first world country citizens living longer, but the evidence of recent decades shows that old age itself is being transformed. The latest cohorts of older people are in significantly better health than their predecessors, and in Australia and the UK this trend appears to be continuing. A revolution is taking place in the life sciences and that revolution is longevity. While every revolution has a turning point - a time when the original impetus for change has run its course, history shows that this is often a vulnerable time for political decision makers. The key ingredient distinguising ageing from other social divisions is that it affects us all.
Adapted from BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures THE END OF AGE by Tom Kirkwood