Lynn Ruth Miller is 82, and she's been doing stand-up for 12 years. The focus of This is Your Future is ageing, and it features faulty hearing aids, fractured limbs, replacement hips, mammograms and colonoscopies. It also discusses the joys and perils of geriatric dating – google it and you'll find a range of websites aimed at 'senior singles', although Miller suggests the obituaries are a good place to find out who's newly available. She gives comic voice to the elderly experience, defying anyone who might think someone in their 80s should stay at home with their feet up.
Life expectancy is rising, and all of us can expect to live for longer. We can all expect to work for longer, too. A study by Imperial College London published in the Lancet last year predicted the national average life expectancy will reach 87·6 years for women and 85·7 years for men by 2030. The implications are massive – if longevity is increasing, health and social care provision will need to increase too.
Why are people living for longer? Better hygiene and drugs like antibiotics have made a huge difference. People are also better educated about how diet and exercise impacts their health. Further medical and technological advances mean the next generation might expect to live for even longer. Alex Zhavoronkov, author of The Ageless Generation, says there are 'several megatrends and specific technology trends' that will 'undoubtedly make us live significantly longer than our parents and grandparents'. He lists things like better screenings and diagnostics, artificial organs and cellular programming as sources of a longer life.
Lynn Ruth Miller is frank about the challenges of getting older, but her own stand-up career is proof that it's possible to lead an exciting and fulfilling life into your eighth decade. The cult of youth stays strong, but whispers that 80 is the new 60 are lately turning into shouts. (HB)
This is Your Future is on at Just the Tonic at the Community Project at 20:15 until 28 August. Wheelchair Access, Level Access - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/lynn-ruth-miller-this-is-your-future
'People will live longer than official estimates predict, say researchers': http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_29-4-2015-12-44-51
'Britain is facing a life expectancy timebomb': http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3061611/Britain-facing-life-expectancy-timebomb-Longer-lives-pressure-pensions-elderly-care-funding.html
'Where do people live longest in the UK – and why?': http://www.agewatch.org.uk/secrets-of-longevity/where-do-people-live-longest-i/
'13 Reasons Why We Will Live Longer Than Our Parents': http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-zhavoronkov/13-reasons-why-we-will-li_b_3519357.html
'Is 80 the new 60?': http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Is-80-the-New-60
'80 Is The New 60': http://www.businessinsider.com/ubs-80-is-the-new-60-2013-10?IR=T