There is probably no faster growing market today than the industry of anti aging treatment. Everywhere, people are looking for ways to look young longer and stay healthier longer so that they can enjoy life well into their senior years. The industry is responding with a multifaceted approach – a vast selection of products and therapies ranging from the familiar skin creams and hair dyes to hormone injections, plastic surgery, and bookstore shelves full of self-help books and plans for healthy living. Medicine is explaining the processes that make our bodies and minds age, and strategies for preventing those changes follow close behind. We hear the same message over and over: we can choose to live happier, healthier, longer lives by changing what we do.
People have always had strategies for living a long life: ask a dozen centenarians what the secret to a long life is and you’ll get a dozen different answers. One may attribute it to something they ate or drank every day while another gives credit to a particular activity, an attitude, or heredity. Though research has attempted to identify common factors in people to live to be very old, studies of anti aging treatment based on things like attitude and dietary factors have not been possible. Likewise, most anti aging products have relied in word of mouth and unverified claims by manufacturers, rather than solid scientific proof.
That may all be changing. While there are still many untested anti aging products, the baby boomer generation is providing not only the subjects and the money to make testing possible, they are also providing the incentive. For the next fifty years, these affluent consumers will be living longer and using their resources to improve their lives with anti aging treatment. Formerly an area of research for a few specialists, gerontology and the study of aging processes is growing daily. Whole journals are now devoted to the subject. The knowledge and expertise that is gained during this time will remain, even after the baby boomers have passed on, to the benefit of future generations.
Not all the available anti aging treatment, of course, is backed up by scientific research – those hoping to make a quick fortune from a gullible public will always be with us. It’s important that aging consumers ask questions about anti aging products, and investigate the supporting evidence for any anti aging treatment before handing over money or exposing themselves to potentially harmful therapies. If we remain vigilant and critical, the quality of products and services available to us will continually improve.