Monday, July 21, 2008

Robert Butler: Longevity Revolution

Aging expert, Robert Butler recently came to Kepler's to promote his new book, The Longevity Revolution.

Bob Butler is one of the leading figures in his field.  He coined the term "ageism".  He won the Pulitzer Prize for Why Survive?  Being Old in America.  He founded the Nation's First Geriatrics Department.  He was the founding director of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.  Several attendees thanked Kepler's for having him.  The author has an easy, warm manner and a smooth presentation.  During the question period, he walked closer to the audience member to hear the question better and then repeated the question for the audience on the mic.  His book covers not only health aspects of longevity, but the impact on society, and policy changes needed in order to move forward in a more positive way.  Trivia point:  during the reception the woman from the Stanford Center on Longevity who was doing the introduction mentioned that he is dating Barbara Walters.

Points from the talk/book:
The book is dense with observations and ideas.

Even though people are living longer there is a decline in disability.
Many problems in late life start when people are young.
Genes only account for 25% of your longevity.
Raising the wage cap for Social Security taxes from $100,000 to $150,000 would take care of 60% of  the funding problem with Social Security.
America's 145 medical schools have only 11 departments of geriatrics.

Some key recommendations on what we need to do:

Fix Social Security.

Individuals need to save more. 

Support a healthy start for children.

Plan to re-invent yourself several times in your life.

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