Well, it was inevitable that we'd get an application called "Agnes the Aging Suit," which stimulates the effects of aging in order to engender sympathy for our elders. I wonder what took scientists so long to come up with this since the marketplace already has the Empathy Belly Pregnancy Stimulator for non-gestating humans and Empathy Lungs to encourage smoking cessation.
Unfortunately, I don't need a souped-up spacesuit to teach me to slow down and enjoy being in a relatively-healthy body. I just have to spend time with my seventy-something mother who faces knee replacement surgery this fall. Her every step makes me wince, knowing that she has no cartilage left in her right knee. She refuses to use a cane or pain meds, despite the fact that her knee joints are reduced to rubbing bone on bone.
Oh these stubborn seniors. But we live in an age of miracles. In addition to surgery, we are exploring stem cell replacement therapy. My mother had her initial cell replacement shot two weeks ago and we're hoping the cells can regenerate her cartilage.
As James Crabtree explains in the above-linked article "Agnes the Aging Suit," more innovative tech to alleviate the frailties of aging will follow. Joseph Coughlin, founder of the AgeLab at MIT, articulates the best perspective on the effects of longevity I've heard so far:
"We need a vision that says ageing is not just about the frail. Ageing is about all of us, and how we keep people productive for as long as possible; " Coughlin tells me. "What we're left with is a crisis, where we're using yesterday's social and policy models to address today's new ageing population. It is a fundamental disconnect."
I guess we all need to take urgent steps into the future.