Tuesday, August 20, 2013

'Insight: Staying Alive' on SBS

Tonight, an exceptional episode of 'Insight' airs - and one very relevant to this site, which will focus on Australia's ageing population.

Titled 'Insight: Staying Alive', it will screen on Tuesday 20 August 8.30pm, on SBS ONE.

After watching Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott both struggle to answer questions on aged care during the first 2013 election debate, 'Insight' turns to Australia’s ageing population what it’s like to be old.

As many of us know, Australians are getting older and living longer – by 2050, almost a quarter of the Australian population will be aged over 65, compared to 14 percent now.

The brilliant host of 'Insight' - Gold Walkley Award-winning journalist Jenny Brockie - will speak to the growing generation of ‘centenarians’ (people aged 100+), as well as those aged in their 80s and 90s, about their longevity and whether long life is such a good thing.

One of the guests on the show, -Jacqueline Meredith, 81 - says: 

“Well I don’t want to live till I’m 100, I have a chronic disease. I’ve looked after my family and my close friends who have passed away”.

Indeed, guest Professor David Sinclair adds: “There will be a world where people can look forward to living at least beyond 100.”

Professor Sinclair is an Australian scientist trying to develop a pill to “cure ageing”. He says he could extend human life to 120 years – and beyond.

This of course poses myriad threats: overpopulation, insufficient resources and a poor quality of life,.

Guests on tonight's show include:

Ruth Frith
Brisbane resident Ruth Frith is 103 and holds world records in athletics events at the Masters Games. Ruth’s sport training is temporarily on hold after a recent medical setback – her first time in hospital since giving birth to her children. Ruth is undeterred and says she’ll get back into training next week – against doctors’ orders. She turns 104 later this month.

David Sinclair
Geneticist David Sinclair is working on a “cure for ageing”. He is testing some drugs on mice that he says could extend human life to 120 years and beyond. He hopes clinical trials now taking place will lead to anti-ageing drugs for humans within his lifetime. David is based at UNSW Medicine and Harvard Medical School.

Ken Clarke
At age 97, Ken Clarke has been receiving the pension for 37 years – more years than he actually worked. He smoked most of his life but quit when he had a major heart attack and triple bypass surgery at age 88.

Giovanni Pilu
Giovanni Pilu is from an island which boasts an unusual amount of centenarians: Sardinia in Italy. One of Giovanni’s relatives lived to 104 and smoked cigars, drank homemade wine and played cards late into the night. Giovanni says the simple diet and laid-back attitude of Sardinians may explain their longevity. (An interview with Giovanni will be posted on this site tomorrow).

Melinda Howes
Melinda Howes is paid to think about the future and work out what the risks and opportunities are around the big issues we face. She is CEO of the Actuaries Institute, which released a recent white paper on “Australia’s Longevity Tsunami”. “Of all the humans who have ever lived to age 65, half of them are alive today,” she says. “The concept of retirement will disappear; people will dip in and out of the workforce.” (See separate blog post with an interview with Melinda).

'Insight' is hosted by Gold Walkley Award-winning journalist Jenny Brockie and airs every Tuesday at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.

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