Humans have roamed the earth for a long time, but only in the past decades have our life expectancies increased by leaps and bounds. According to the World Bank, Singapore’s life expectancy at birth averaged 66 years in 1960 and rose to 83 years as of 2017.
Such dramatic changes were made possible by breakthroughs in medical science and technology.
Not only do inventions like the pacemaker prolong lives of numerous patients suffering from heart disease, medical science has enabled us to prevent the spread of diseases like polio and hepatitis A amongst numerous others with vaccinations.
How old might we live till?
But what if we don’t stop here? What if people lived to 150 by the year 3,000?
After all, the oldest person to have ever lived was supposedly 122 years when she passed, and the current recorder holder of “oldest living person” is 116 years old according to the Guinness World Records.
As science continues to advance, living to a hundred, or even becoming a supercentenarian (people who live till 110 years old), might become the norm for more of us.
The key question is: are we ready for this?
Work will have to change
Life as we know it is already changing. With people living longer, the typical concept of a three-stage life course is being reevaluated. Companies like Prudential have already scrapped the retirement age for its employees, giving them the chance to fulfill their career aspirations with no expiry date.
This is a step towards embracing a multi-stage life, where individuals have the freedom to break out of the school-work-retirement mould and pursue new passions or learn new skills without adhering to arbitrary timelines.
If 100 is the new 50, would people stay in the same profession? A longer life means more time to do what you love. Perhaps living and working longer will allow people to start new careers in entirely different fields and fulfill other dreams.
If 100 is the new 50, the current concept of ‘being old’ is rendered obsolete. Centenarians would be ‘middle-aged’, still within their prime productive years.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, scientists are producing Nobel Prize-winning work at increasingly older ages compared to history. Budding geniuses still have time to achieve breakthroughs and attain laudable recognition.
If 100 is the new 50, birthday cakes are going to be an even bigger fire hazard but thinking about the idea of so many candles on a cake is definitely amusing.
Ageing well with help
It is a long way to year 3000, but the possibilities seem endless. The scene-stealer in the 2013 sci-fi film, Elysium, was the Med-Pod 3000: a medical bed that detects and cures diseases within seconds with a near-100% success rate, keeping illnesses at bay. People would no longer be ill in their older ages.
The idea of a med-pod might seem far-fetched, but if we can conceive of it in fiction, who is to say we cannot make it a reality? We are still some way off from that but many organisations today are focusing on helping people live well for longer. Healthtech is a big part of this and Prudential is doing this with Pulse.
Innovation is needed if we were to live to 100 or older. The future cannot be built by sticking to outdated mindsets and old ways of doing.
This is why companies like Prudential are adapting its practices to be more friendly towards an ageing Singapore. By changing the nature of work, age is no longer a barrier; people are free to explore more opportunities in the workplace and can continue working for as long as they’re able to.
As society and individuals prepare to live longer, the far future of the year 3000 sounds like it’ll be exciting. The future is in your hands, so make your 150th birthday a healthy and happy one!
The information in this article does not necessarily reflect the views of Prudential Assurance Company Singapore Pte. Ltd. Certain information in this article may be taken from external sources, which we consider reliable. We do not represent that this information is accurate or complete and should not be relied upon as such.
This article is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you seek advice from a Prudential Singapore Financial Consultant before making a commitment to purchase a policy.