Babies: will live longer

Irish people born in the noughties are set to live well past the ripe age of 100, new research has revealed. The findings, which will be presented at a conference on ageing in Dublin next month, indicate that "the babies of this generation may live to be 150 years old".

At the conference, which will be opened by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Intel Health will urge Irish companies to "turn the silver market into gold". Over 65s in Ireland have a declared income of over €6.6bn, and immense spending power, it says.

"We have to stop thinking only of zimmer frames and nursing homes and start thinking of self-parking cars, adventure gap years, disease-targeting nutrient food products, dating agencies and premium whiskeys."

Further myths the company is hoping to explode include the perception that the older generation do not use technology.

It says there has been a massive increase in the amount of older people using social-networking sites like Facebook.

"Facebook usage amongst the over 64s has surged in the last 12 months, by 390%," said Intel Health spokeswoman Sarah Dunne.

"There is also a myth that older consumers are brand loyal – but only 30% of over 60s have a favorite household cleaning product and only 40% are loyal to a particular brand of shampoo or deodorant."

According to Dunne, the "silver generation" may also help Ireland emerge from the recession. "Over the last decade Ireland has had the highs of the Celtic Tiger where jobs were plentiful, property was booming and more recently we have had the lows of recession," she said.

Intel Health says history will be made by 2045 when 60-year-olds will outnumber five-year-olds.

"The world's 60-plus population will double in size over the next decades from 11% today to 22% by 2050, and for the first time in the world's history there will be more people over the age of 60 than under the age of five by 2045."