Monday 27 January 2020

The Irish babies who'll live to be 100

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

New studies predict a third of all tots born this year will still be alive in 2112. So what will life be like for these future centenarians? Celine Naughton reports

I CAN EXPECT TO LIVE UNTIL I’M 83 if I’m a girl and 78 if I’m a boy. I am eight times more likely than my grandparents to live to 100. If I’m a girl, I’ve got a one in three chance of becoming a centenarian. If I’m a boy, my chances are one in four. I’M ONE OF OVER 70,000 BABIES born in Ireland this year. If I’m a girl, my name is most probably Sophie, Emma, Emily or Sarah and if I’m a boy, I am likely to be called Jack, Sean, Conor or James.

BY THE TIME I REACH EIGHT YEARS OF AGE, I have a one-in-three chance of being obese if I’m a girl and a one-infive chance if I’m a boy. By then, a quarter of a million adults in Ireland will have diabetes

THANKS TO PIONEERING MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS, diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and AIDS will become manageable conditions by my 30s. Current studies indicate fewer cataracts in older people in the future, while bionic eye implants will not only restore sight to the blind or visually impaired, they will offer superior human vision, at first to those who can afford them and in the following decades to the mass public.

AS FOOD PRICES SOAR, cheaper options frowned upon by my parents’ generation will become commonplace. Many of my groceries are likely to be imported from Russia as a major future producer of GM crops. I will also eat in-vitro meat – that is, animal flesh which has never been part of a whole animal. Produced from stem cells without harm or cruelty to animals, this is set to become a more environmentally friendly protein and a cheaper option than traditional meat sources.

I’M ONE OF OVER 70,000 BABIES born in Ireland this year. If I’m a girl, my name is most probably Sophie, Emma, Emily or Sarah and if I’m a boy, I am likely to be called Jack, Sean, Conor or James.

BY THE TIME I’M 18, cancer rates in Ireland are expected to have increased by 72pc, the biggest predicted rise in the 27 EU member states, according to a recent World Health Organisation report.

FROM THE TIME I REACH MY 20s, with a dwindling supply of cocoa and farmers abandoning unsustainable crops in the troubled West African cocoa fields, chocolate will become so rare, it may be a luxury I can’t afford.

WITH PENSIONS BEING LINKED TO LIFE EXPECTANCY, I am likely to work until my mid- 70s before I can retire. (The current state pension age is already scheduled to move from 66 to 68 by 2028.)

BY THE TIME I START WORK, mobile technology will be so advanced, I am very likely to travel and/or emigrate to find work. With the advent of hypersonic airlines expected to come into force in the 2030s, a trip from Ireland to Australia should take no longer than four hours.

IF MY PARENTS MANAGE TO COVER THE SOARING COSTS OF THIRD-LEVEL EDUCATION and I graduate from college, developments in nanotechnology, quantum computing, hologram applications and other scientific advances will create exciting job opportunities for me. According to ‘Galway Vision 2040 – Education Strand,’ I am likely to have “an occupation that does not now exist, using technology not yet invented to solve problems not yet encountered”.

I AM PART OF A CHANGING DEMOGRAPHIC with Co Laois by far the fastest growing county with a 20pc population increase since 2006, while Kerry has the lowest increase of just 3.7pc.

AS I ENTER MIDDLE AGE AT THE AGE OF 60, I am likely to use a wide range of artificial intelligence technologies, including brain-computer interfaces, on-person communication devices, contact lenses with internet access, and androids in my day-today life.

I AM LESS LIKELY THAN PREVIOUS GENERATIONS to be part of the traditional family model of a married couple, both of whom are in their first marriage. A recent report shows that one in three families in Ireland includes never-married cohabiting couples, lone mothers (single, separated or divorced) and blended families.

WHEN I START PRIMARY SCHOOL, at least one or more of my friends will have non-national parents. Latest figures show that more than half a million Irish residents speak a foreign language at home.

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