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Myths and Realities 14: Growing Old:
Something to Fear or Celebrate?

Images of later life take two extremes, adverts featuring glowing post-retirement couples enjoying life vs lonely singletons in need of expensive care or support. Many of us will live to a very ripe old age; in just 30 years since 1980, the numbers of centenarians have risen from 2,500 to over 12,500 and are predicted to rise to 160,000 in another 30 years. Longer lives are the result of improved standards of medical treatment, nutrition, housing and living... but most of us may fear rather than celebrate the prospect.

What does the evidence say about older lives? Will we grow old disgracefully or experience a sad decline?

The event was chaired by Fi Glover, BBC journalist and presenter and our speakers were Chris Phillipson, Professor of Applied Social Studies and Social Gerontology, Keele University and Mary Gilhooly, Professor of Gerontology, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University.

MP3 file, 1 hr 31 mins 52 secs, 36.8 MB