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February 19, 1973

Medical News

JAMA. 1973;223(8):845-856. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220080003002

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Any 'treatment' for old age? Change in social attitudes may help  Never mind all those commencement speeches you've heard—the future belongs to the old, not the young.After all, while the population of the United States was growing 2.5 times, its members over age 65 increased their numbers by some 7 times. While we have approached the ecologist's ideal of Zero Population Growth, we have also succeeded in keeping many more people alive into their seventies and eighties.So society had better start reshaping its attitudes toward its older members. Not only are there more old people alive than ever before, but today's young people can expect to live longer too—and reforming the way we treat the elderly is in their own interest.These were some of the ideas that came out of the recent 25th annual scientific meeting of the Gerontological Society, held jointly with the American Geriatrics Society in San Juan, Puerto Rico