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Anu Siren: Long life as a social and human phenomenon

Published on 14.6.2022
Tampere University
Anu Siren is Professor of Gerontology at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Her research deals with ageing as a human and social phenomenon. She is especially fascinated by the challenges and opportunities brought on by lengthening lifespans from the perspectives of both the individual and society at large.

"We often talk about the current demographic structure where the different age groups are more balanced as if it is a demographic disorder. However, longevity is a quite natural consequence of societal progress, improved living conditions and our achievements in healthcare and medicine."

According to Siren, challenges arise from how the structures of our society are designed for much shorter lifespans.  We should think about the development of these structures through a new way of sequencing our life cycles, and also with the understanding that an individual life is going to be long.

In her research, Siren has tried to estimate the features, characteristics and preferences of the elderly of the future. She has also analysed societal trends and developments, such as inequality, from the perspective of ageing.

She thinks it is probable that the forthcoming society of the long-living will be characterised by a balancing act between probabilities on the one hand and the unpredictable nature of life on the other. Life expectancy estimates affect the timing of retirement, for example. However, the promise of long life does not come true for everyone.

"Longer life and the way it shapes our life paths is a fascinating area of research. Studying these issues is extremely topical and appropriate in societal terms, but it is also an inspiring quest to solve some of the mysteries of human life."

Anu Siren's contact information