Aging as a Positive

Most people born today can expect to live from six to nine decades—or longer—writes Mailman School of Public Health Dean Linda Fried in an article in The Atlantic magazine on the hidden value of longer lifespans for all of society.

Linda Fried

Linda Fried

Dr. Fried, a noted gerontologist, discusses her experiences as a young geriatrician in Baltimore and reviews the body of research that shows the need for an attitude adjustment toward older members of our society.

She also discusses important research conducted by Ursula Staudinger, director of Columbia’s Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, on the positive plasticity of aging.

Her work shows that biology, behavior, and culture constantly interact to shape the development of our lives into the oldest ages. This work confirms the importance of physical environments and social institutions as well as individual attitudes towards aging across the life span.

Earlier this year, Columbia established the university-wide aging center, named for a 1953 graduate of Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons who was a noted gerontologist and founding director of the National Institute on Aging. The center is based at the Mailman School.

Read the full article in The Atlantic.