LEO M. CHALUPA, a professor of Neurobiology at the University of California, declared that it will be common for people to lead healthy and productive lives well past their 10th decade.

It is Chalupa’s observation that life spans in developed countries are getting progressively longer. “Senior citizens are now engaging in activities previously reserved for those yet to reach what was once considered middle age,” he stated in a report. I support his observation and optimism since I often see women in their 60s actively joining Zumba exercises at the malls.

How many times have I heard seniors jokingly say, “Tawga lang ko ug buang, ayaw lang ko tawga ug tiguwang.” (Call me crazy, just don’t call me an oldie) I guess it is something psychological.

Chalupa cited two research studies. One result showed that manipulations of basic cellular functions can prolong longevity. 

“A molecule called resveratrol produced by a variety of plants has been found to significantly improve the life span of many different organisms by as much as 59 percent.” Resveratrol is present in red wine.

The other finding in the research has relevance to neurobiology. “Cells of an aged brain can be manipulated. Low levels of regular exercise, have been found to significantly enhance neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a brain structure that deals with memory,” Chalupa reported.

With these medical findings, and the clinical reports of stem-cell successes, it is rather hard not to believe in Chalupa’s report. Stem-cell procedure replaces damaged or dysfunctional body organs.

I am not sure though how this Chalupa report will be taken by senior citizens of this country. Longevity… is it good or bad? It depends where you are coming from. 

Aging Filipinos are faced with so many challenges… rising cost of commodities, health insurance, medicines that are not available in Generic outlets are expensive, hospitalization etc. That may be considered the downside of longevity. Despite the challenges, who does not want to live longer?

As for me, I would love to spend more time with my grandchildren.  Actually, I am busy tutoring one grandchild and assisting another with his piano lessons. The rest of my extra time is spent with the youngest one who keeps me active. Longevity has its upside.

Retirees who are mostly seniors will soon have a thousand peso increase in their SSS pensions. It is not the amount they expected,but it should help them get by.