These are the words of the world-famous Russian academic Vladimir Shabalin. In MyClinic, we will offer you excerpts from his latest interview, which will perhaps answer one of the pressing questions in our, Bulgarian modern times, namely: is later retirement useful, as the pension reform suggests?
Vladimir Nikolaevich, today there is a lot of talk about the so-called he althy aging and active old age. But people seem unwilling to accept aging as normal
- Not only ordinary people, but also many professionals, biologists, doctors, also do not understand what aging is. Most people see it as a personal drama, even a tragedy. After all, this is the basic mechanism for the development of living nature. Only through the process of aging can living matter evolve and satisfy the demand for new, more perfect structures, which imply more perfect functions. Therefore, when it comes to life extension and active longevity, one must understand the given situation. It may seem like a tragedy from a personal standpoint, but from a basic, fundamental standpoint, it is not like that at all.
At what point do you think growing up ends and aging begins?
- There are no such moments, no clear boundaries. It is a permanent one-way process. We begin to age literally from the moment of conception… Aging is a transformation and a search for new structures…
There is an opinion that states and corporations do not benefit from recognizing old age and death as diseases and somehow help to extend active longevity in order to reduce the length of life during which they have to pay pensions. At the same time, raising the retirement age is always an unpopular step and they seem to be trying to avoid it by all means. Is there any truth to this opinion or is it pure conspiracy?
- You can always find a grain of truth even in the biggest lie. We constantly hear about the so-called demographic burden, because the number of people of disabled age is growing. What an idiotic term - "disabled age". And that the younger ones are tasked with supporting this part of the population. But if we start thinking in the opposite direction, then one would think that we are all fighting to increase the average life expectancy. No one is saying: let's lower the average life expectancy. But how can this be done if the number of elderly people is not increasing? Let's look at how labor resources are used, for example, in our country. How many security guards work how many
there are completely unnecessary officials
in the non-production sphere? I will tell you: they are four or five times more than in the US. The position of our social services is wrong, according to which, after reaching retirement age, a person should take a well-deserved rest. In Finland, for example, they think exactly the opposite. There they motivate the person to work as long as possible and create the appropriate conditions. There, as in some other countries, they accept this behavior as quite normal. Now we are developing the "Active Longevity with High Quality of Life" program. Namely active longevity. Because on the one hand, by re-engaging the experienced, professionally prepared population in the economy and the social sphere, we will make them active citizens, along with people in youth and middle age. On the other hand, the longer a person works, the longer they will live. I have always emphasized that work is the strongest geroprotector, i.e. anti aging medicine.
That's why I explain in simple language that if the athlete stops training, his muscles will relax and all the internal organs will start working in a different way. If a person, engaged in intellectual activity all his life, goes out of this sphere and starts to deal with something completely different, his main brain will stop working. Note that the aging of the brain in intellectuals who have abruptly stopped their intellectual activity occurs much faster than in other people. Therefore, the more we train, the more we allow types of active influence on our biological systems, the better we will provide them with more active content, with higher resistance to all environmental factors. And that is how we will create a base for a longer lifespan. Now regarding pensions. I have completely excluded the pension as such as an age factor. Because the pension is a person's work, not his age. One should receive a pension for one's work. And it's necessary
to remove the concept of pension
from gerontology, in general from demographic processes. Let it be brought into the sphere of labor relations. The person has worked for 30 years - he has the right to a pension, his pension fund is so and so, let him spend it at his own discretion. He worked for 40 years - so he accumulated more in the pension fund, that is… I think that the criterion for retiring should be infirmity, determined by medical methods. I.e. biologically, how this person feels, not how old he is. As with disability pensions, for example.
How to perceive the understanding that it is too early to be buried at 60?
- Motivation for longevity must be worked out and from school age. For a person to know that he must work and live in such a way as to become a long-lived man. I.e. to carry out certain actions in the field of nutrition, behavior, intellectual workload. It's a complicated process. In our country, this problem has not been resolved, it has not even been raised. I want to point out one more thing: in our country, and in many places, 45 percent of people of retirement age who can work are thrown out of the active sphere. Why? Because there are no conditions for them to work. But the main thing is that the general social orientation is this - that pensioners leave active life and do not get in our way. And it may be the exact opposite - to attract these professionally prepared people into the active sphere. Conditions must be created for them, for example
to develop a small business
But this same small business is very underdeveloped in many post-communist countries. Because he is oppressed and outright killed both by the state and by the criminal circles, by everyone. By the way, the field in which elderly people can work is a small business in a village, for example. Don't we know that they are working on their gardens anyway. In addition, jobs can be created for people who work at home, for example on a few-hour day. Let's take an accountant - he can work at home, do his calculations, send them on the Internet, make appointments.
And is it true that the length of the so-called depends on the level of education. telomeres, i.e. does a person with higher education live longer? Isn't the role of telomeres in longevity exaggerated?
- Telomeres determine the life of the cell, not the life of the organism. Our organism is a cellular community and it is not yet known how this community will behave, how the cells will interact with each other if some of them have longer telomeres. But anyway, there are statistics, according to which the lower the education, the lower the average life expectancy. This is proven by statistics. This is about the level of education, not about its specifics. In general, education definitely increases the chances of longevity because it is brain training…