Is it really a good thing?

By Steve Moran

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I came across this story out of the NZ Herald titled “Anti-ageing drug could let you live to 120 in good health.” The gist of the story is that there is some evidence that the diabetes drug Metformin might make it possible for humans to live to age 120 in good health.

The way it works is by increasing the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell, and evidence suggests this will boost the robustness and longevity cells. 

This could be the real deal. According to the article clinical trials on this drug will begin next year here in the US.

Good or Bad for the World . . .

So it got me to thinking about whether this would be good or bad. 

  • I am pretty sure this would be good for me. I can remember when I thought 60 was really old and here I am. There are so many more things I want to do and experience, being able to live to 120 in good health would get me through more of the items on my bucket list.

  • If the drug proves to work, it will take a number of years before it is widely available and even more years before it would begin to impact the senior living sector.

  • It is slightly scary to think, about because it is entirely possible there will be unpredictable, side effects or consequences that might not show up for years.

  • Workforce: It would likely mean that people would just plain work longer. Imagine a new retirement age of 80, 85 or even 90.  

    It might mean people would have longer to save for retirement, which would be good. It might also mean fewer jobs for those just coming into the workforce. It could either increase or decrease the anticipated shortage of caregivers.

  • Perhaps, most intriguing . . . or . . . scariest . . . is that it could radically change the whole aging process. Imagine living to 120 in great health, then just dropping dead without the more typical decline we see today.  

  • It is also scary to consider the impacts on the Social Security and healthcare systems. It seems as if it would likely substantially increase costs to to the system. Particularly scary is the likely reality that more people will outlive their assets. Or worse . . . maybe one lives strong to 120 then has 20 years of mental and or physical decline that is difficult for the individuals or families.

Good or Bad for Senior Living

  • It is possible that over time a drug like this would further increase the average age and age of entry for all levels of senior living.  

  • It is also possible that it will increase the number of people who need senior living and the lengths of stay.

If it becomes available will you take it? What impact do you see it having on our industry?