Originally posted on Eerdword.com.

R. Paul Stevens is professor emeritus of marketplace theology and leadership at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, and author of a number of books on the spirituality of work. The following is an excerpt from his new book Aging Matters: Finding Your Calling for the Rest of Your Life.

There is no question that we have a population bulge in the seniors group that, on the population charts, is like an awkwardly large animal going through the long neck of a snake.

In the late Middle Ages those who survived to twenty could on average live to around fifty. In 1992, 12 percent of the U.S. population — something over thirty million people — were over sixty-five. By the best estimate, 18 percent of us will be that old by 2020. By 2040 one out of four North Americans will be sixty-five or over.

In 1776, a child born in the United States had an average life expectancy of thirty-five. By the middle of the twenty-first century, it is expected in some generous estimates that men will live to 86 and women to 92. “According to the Institute of Medicine, starting in 2011, a baby boomer [born between 1946 and 1964] will turn sixty-five every twenty seconds [in the United States].”

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