In the last 30 years, since the first conference on ageing in Vienna in 1982, the debate on ageing has evolved considerably, and so has the proportion and status of elderly people both in industrialized and developing countries.While ageing is often seen as a problem, recent trends tend to place the debate on longevity on another level, i.e. that of the development of a long-life society.
The characteristics of such a society will be explored as well as the consequences on the policy level. The greying of society is inevitable; it may just as well be regarded as an opportunity to redefine issues like work and leisure, intergenerational solidarity systems, health requirements as well as housing policies. All this will shape a new society, driven by a new generation reaching old age – the baby boomers – that has already once changed the world.