About our cover THINKING IT THROUGH

You don't think God is counting up years, do you?

Old age isn't what it used to be. During most of history only one person in ten ever became sixty-five or older. But in the United States today, eight in ten people pass this milestone, and some predict that by the year 2050 as many as one million Americans will be centenarians.

This "senior boom" is more than a statistical phenomenon. It marks a revolution in the way we think about aging — and living. Not only is longevity increasing; our capacity to be active and useful in every decade of our lives is expanding. According to social psychologist Bernice Neugarten, we're living in an "age-irrelevant society," in which "age has lost its meaning as a predictor of stamina and psychological health" (quoted in Newsweek, March 5, 1990).

September 30, 1991
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