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The challenges of longevity

Sibila Marques, researcher at the Centre for Psychological Research and Social Intervention (CIS-Iscte), worked as a scientific consultant in the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation's documentary "Longevity - Economic and Social Challenges", in which she was also interviewed. The documentary is available in Portuguese on RTP Play.

This two-episode documentary reports data on the aging of the Portuguese population, highlighting the current economic and social panorama and its impact on the future of society. Different perspectives are addressed, from policies for active aging, or the silver economy, which encompasses the production, consumption and trade of goods and services of economic activities relevant to people over 60/65 years old; to individual and health factors that are relevant in this age group.


"When you think about all the challenges that a long life can bring, I would say that the most important is maintaining good health." - Sibila Marques

Image taken from the documentary (ep. 2) © 2022 RTP e FMMS


Still on the subject of this documentary, Sibila also participated in the podcast "Da Capa à Contracapa", where she was interviewed by journalist José Pedro Frazão, with the participation of economist Armindo Silva.


In both programs, the perspective of the researcher and social psychologist focuses on her expertise in the subject of aging. If on the one hand, people tend to say they want to live to be 90 or 100 years old, on the other hand there is a perception of threat in relation to aging. According to Sibila,

"It is like we are in a paradox: we want to grow old, but at the same time we also don't want to grow old."

Regarding people's fears in the face of aging, the researcher reports that at the individual level, health issues, financial issues, or fear of social isolation are the most mentioned. On the social level, people often fear not being able to get the pensions to which they are entitled at this stage of life.

Senior business woman with her team

© 2020 pixelfit / iStock

"We often see the aging situation in a very negative way, catastrophic even."

When planning for active aging, it is necessary to consider mental health, which has received increasing attention in this post-pandemic time. According to Sibila Marques, mental health "is not a detail," as anxiety and depression can compromise "the working capacity, innovation, and creation" of the active generation, also compromising their aging.


"When we think about active aging policies as a long-term thing, and the mental health indicators of our younger populations right now, we should think about how we are promoting the active aging of these generations."

The podcast, which also refers the economic issues related to this topic, is available for listening (in Portuguese) on the Rádio Renascença's website or on the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation's website.

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