As life expectancy in India surges nearly 20 years since 1970, we face a ‘Silver Tsunami’ — a demographic shift that sees Generation X ageing into a majority over 50 years, requiring a reshaping of healthcare.

Our success in addressing health issues has been significant, and I believe the next 10 years will be transformative. We won’t just be fixing health problems; we’ll be fundamentally changing the way we age.

This shift is driven by increased investments in longevity research, more initiatives from institutions, technological advancements and heightened focus and funding in this area. With the current approach to disease management, we understand that age-related diseases arise from decisions that we’ve taken in our early years.

The need now is to focus on promoting healthy ageing and enhancing quality across both lifespan and healthspan. Lifespan measures total years lived, while healthspan concentrates on years lived free from chronic diseases. Prioritising healthspan is crucial, as it emphasises not just longevity but a healthy, productive life. Early engagement with health not only increases life expectancy but also disease-free life expectancy, narrowing the gap between the two.

The current healthcare system, rich in doctors and products, predominantly focuses on immediate fixes rather than preventive care. However, Gen X and millennials are pivoting away from the traditional ‘senior-focused’ offerings towards innovations that enhance their physical, cognitive and immune functions. The introduction of biological age and gut microbiome tests marks a significant shift in health management. These tests not only offer strategic lifestyle advice to improve healthspan but also deepen our understanding of the microbiome and our body’s true age. Supported by advances in cellular health supplements, we envision a future where ageing is linked with vitality. With health tracking technologies, doctors can access essential health data more efficiently, streamlining patient monitoring and promoting a holistic approach to longevity.

Looking ahead, healthcare is shifting focus from treating illness to preventing it. Future solutions will blur age distinctions, offering products and services that cater universally across different life stages, enhancing health and social life. This proactive approach paves the way for a society where wellness and ageing merge, redefining experiences and expectations as we grow older. By focusing on healthspan, inclusivity and preventive measures, we must aim to fundamentally redefine the concept of ageing.

(The writer is CEO and Co-Founder, Decode Age. Views are personal.)

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