IELTS Essay: Effects of Longevity on Society
>In may countries, the proportion of older people is steadily increasing. Does this have more positive or negative effects on the society? [Topic: 2011-10-08]
>What are the possible effects of living longer on an individual and on the whole society? [Topic in a previous test]
Whatever the causes that contribute to people living longer, the effects of longevity remain uncertain in terms of an individual and the whole society. Researches show that people's prolonged lifespan may be the result of combined efforts of public health measures, disease preventions, improved living conditions and better medical interventions. Added to these, modern people are enjoying the luxuries and comforts provided by technology, and also feeling more positive about life. This emotion factor alone is said to be particularly beneficial to individuals as human beings. But, what then are the possible effects on the society as a whole?
It is a blessing to any individual to live a long and healthy life. If the practical science and medical technology could continue making breakthroughs and discoveries plus progress in reducing mortality and prolonging lifespan, most children born since 2000 may stand good chances to see their 100th birthdays in the next century. Similarly, if gains in life expectancy were going at the same rate as over the past two centuries, more than half of the children alive today in the developed world may hope to see 100 candles on their birthday cakes. Extended years of lifespan must be a bonus to an individual when families of five or six generations co-exist.
Such effects on the whole society are not so clear. A possible change is the distribution of years of the expected lifespan on the social scale. Questions abound. What will these dramatically longer lifespan mean for social services, health care and the economy? How people's lives are to be arranged? For example, if young people realize that they might live 100 and be in good shape, they might also re-think their roles in the society. Would they still decide to dedicate their first two decades exclusively to education, the next four decades exclusively to career and parenting, and the last 40 years solely to leisure, awaiting eventual death? Should working people continue to be retired at 60?
What does it mean to a society in which half of the population is aged over 60, now that the family planning program is in fashion? As an individual, what sense could it make of being retired at 60 and living up to 100 years or longer? All in all, what are the social costs? The good news is that many people will live to see the real effects of people living longer.