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We Can't Go Crazy With Worry . . . and Yet

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By Steve Moran

Over the long holiday weekend, I came across an article titled: Stunning anti-ageing breakthrough could see humans live to 150 and regenerate organs by 2020 'for the price of a coffee a day' (an astonishingly long title). And I had two immediate thoughts:

  1. I am old enough that living to 150 in good health has a lot of appeal to me.

  2. What would happen to senior living if someone invented some magic potion that dramatically increased not only lifespans but quality of life?

What makes this particularly intriguing is that they are talking about this being available in 5 years. This is not the first time I have written about this. A few weeks ago we published an article titled How Technology Could Upend the Senior Living Industry where we touched on this idea.

Snake Oil or Real?

Professor David Sinclair from Harvard and a group of researchers from the University of New South Wales have developed a new process that involves reprogramming cells. Sinclair claims some pretty amazing results:

  • Since starting to treat himself he has dropped his biological age by 24 years.

  • His 79-year-old father has been whitewater rafting and backpacking after using the same technique. I would note though that at 79, my father was doing similar things without any treatment.

  • He claims that his sister-in-law is again fertile after beginning the transition to menopause in her 40s.

So . . . maybe this is the real deal.

Senior Living and the Aging Population

We are already living in a brand new world with respect to aging. We have more people living well past age 65 in extraordinary health. As an industry, we have lamented the increasing average age of residents and the average age of entrance into senior living thinking it is an indicator that salespeople have gotten lazy, when likely a better explanation is that seniors are living longer and healthier.

Looking at the Opportunity

As an industry, we have zero opportunity to influence this kind of progress. It is progress . . . I think . . . and should be celebrated. We have some choices. We can sit back, watch and hope it won’t hurt us and might even help us, or we can start thinking about how something like this may make senior living more relevant, more attractive.

  • We might be the place to go to where the frailest come back from the brink

  • We might be the place where we help seniors reinvent their next chapters

  • We might be the place where elders come to change the world

How do you see it?

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