Disrupt Aging

Disrupt Aging

A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age

Public Affairs, 2016 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons), offers a rallying cry to combat outdated stereotypes of older people. Ageism affects how people see themselves, influences public policy, shapes employment practices and undermines how society treats people age 50 and older. Jenkins argues that this growing sector drives economic growth, offers a desirable market, and represents a valuable source of talent and experience. She advocates shifting from the view of aging as a decline to regarding your later years instead as an opportunity for personal development and contribution with a renewed focus on health, vitality and financial resilience. getAbstract recommends Jenkins’ manual as a must-read for anyone who cares about someone, employs someone or who is – or is going to be – someone age 50 and older.


“Extended Middle Age”

Life expectancy increased from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years by the early 21st century. People older than age 50 now can expect to live several more decades. Half of those born in 2016 will celebrate their 100th birthdays. These added years can be healthy and productive. Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, smallpox and tetanus are no longer factors. Improvement in treatments for and prevention of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes extend life. Lifestyle changes and improvements help people delay physical decline due to aging rather than accepting the decline as inevitable. Improved diet and exercise, health awareness campaigns, and regular screenings enable people to live longer in good health.

In the 1950s, the life stage now known as “retirement” became standard as Social Security and Medicare provided income and insurance for older Americans. Retirement emerged as a sought-after goal, and people came to see their “Golden Years” as compensation for a life well-lived. Today’s new longevity introduces another life stage, an “extended middle age,” when people explore, grow and redefine themselves in ways no one thought possible...

About the Author

Jo Ann Jenkins is the CEO of AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) and is the former chief operating officer of the US Library of Congress. To check your choice of a place to live on AARP’s livability index, see www.aarp.org/livabilityindex.

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