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What will tomorrow’s 80-year olds be like? In “The new midlife crisis,” senior lecturer in philosophy at Royal Holloway, Rebecca Roache, dives into a conversation about how our global economy and political environment is predominantly ruled over by middle-aged individuals. However, communities could be on the precipice of change as people are trending towards longer lives and longer careers thanks to societal and medical advancements.

Here are five key take-aways:

  1. As society’s movers and shakers come into power in their 80s, rather than 50s, contemporary views of generational roles would be forced to changes across politics, culture and the economy
  2. The risk is that status and influence already disadvantageously affects young people, who make less money and are more in debt than previous generations
  3. Changes at the grassroots level should focus on inclusive participation and constructive dialogue around death, inheritance, and what “the old owe the young and vice versa”
  4. Older generations’ potential is based on their ability to flourish free from the oppressive prejudice of ageism and social inequality
  5. The key to making sure that the young and old do not fall through the cracks is recognition of the different ways and times that people contribute

A thriving and aging society at the turn of the century is possible, but as acknowledged above, it is only achievable through dialogue and access to resources and support (e.g., finance, healthcare, training, education). “Ending ageism against the old might take the shine off youth, but it will free the young of some unhelpful prejudices too,” writes Roache.