The New Longevity

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The New Longevity

Those of us who are living into our 70s, 80s, and 90s have been given an unexpected gift — a bonus of 20 or more years of life. At 65, we can expect to live into our middle 80s, and today’s newborns into their 90s.

There is, if we choose, a new meaningful life ahead of us that might lead to new careers or inspire creativity in fresh directions. This longevity is a precious opportunity to enrich our lives, improve our communities and enhance the welfare of future generations. “We know that purposeful aging–through service and engaged citizenship — holds great promise for people of all ages,” says Paul Irving, author of The Upside of Aging.

Living with purpose

For some, longevity brings purpose through new beginnings. Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of Encore.org puts it this way: “An estimated 9 million Americans have moved into second acts at the intersection of purpose, passion, and a paycheck, so-called encore careers. Some 31 million more have said they want to … express a kind of practical idealism aimed at solving problems in areas like education, health, and poverty.”

For others, long life can bring physical and emotional challenges but when lived with engagement, connection, and as part of a community, can be filled with purpose.

Purposeful aging has demonstrable positive health benefits. Research from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago reveals that purpose in life functions as a buffer against cognitive decline (30 percent slower among the purpose-focused group). According to Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at Rush, “having a purpose in life is robustly protective,” even for individuals whose brains contain signs commonly linked to Alzheimer’s.

Villages and the new longevity

“As the longevity revolution unfolds…Villages will become one of the distinctive social inventions of our time.”(1)

The potential for extraordinary quality of life and well-being are what inspire everything at The Village Chicago. Through learning, exploring, helping, and connecting, members remain integral, vibrant and contributing members of their communities. Whether 50 or 90, together we are creating new pathways through the new longevity.


(1) The Making of an Elder Culture by Theodore Roszok