Longevity Science and Women's Health and Wellbeing

J Popul Ageing. 2023 Jan 30:1-20. doi: 10.1007/s12062-023-09411-y. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

In most areas of the world women comprise the majority of older persons (especially at the most advanced ages), but the additional longevity (globally it is 4.8 years) women have often comes with poorer health status compared to age-matched men. This article draws attention to four distinct ways an applied gerontological intervention designed to increase the human healthspan via "rate (of ageing) control" could positively impact the health and wellbeing of women in today's ageing world. The four benefits examined are: (1) improving women's health in late life; (2) increasing reproductive longevity and improving maternal health, (3) reducing the financial vulnerability many women experience at advanced ages (especially in the developing world); and (4) reducing the caring burdens which typically fall, at least disproportionately, on daughters to care for their ageing parents. Highlighting these factors is important as is helps focus geroscience advocacy not only on the potential health dividend age retardation could confer on those in late life, but also the distributional effects on health throughout the lifespan (e.g. improving maternal health) and on helping to ameliorate other important inequalities (e.g. reducing the financial vulnerabilities of late life and easing the burdens on the care givers for ageing parents). By making vivid the benefits "rate (of ageing) control" could confer on women, especially in the developing world, the goal of retarding biological ageing can be rightly construed as a pressing public health priority for the 21st century.

Keywords: Ageing; Geroscience; Healthspan; Longevity; Women.