The man who changed how we think about aging

butlerRobert N. Butler, M.D. died this week at 83. Beginning in the 1970s, his work was dedicated to rethinking aging and how we think of aging….not the technology, but our understanding of the process and most importantly, our attitudes. The many tributes and obituaries tell the story of his life and work far better than possible here.  What is surprising to this editor [Donna] is that Dr. Butler is not being acknowledged–even by his International Longevity Center–for his role in kickstarting the use of technology to support healthier aging and a better quality of life for older adults. It’s only mildly speculative on my part that being a scientist, Dr. Butler saw a role for technology in helping to maintain health. The proof: he joined the medical advisory board of a New York-based startup, a pioneer in telecare. Certainly not for the money–it was unpaid.  But his name mattered a great deal in lending credibility to a then-fledgling Living Independently Group (QuietCare) [disclosure: my former company]. Farewell and thank you, Dr. Butler.  New York Times obituary, ‘A last conversation’ (NY Times), International Longevity Center tribute.

[Update 15 July:  Neil Versel’s article in FierceMobileHealthcare confirms this last thought.  Dr. Butler’s conversations with Eric Dishman and his visit to an Intel lab.]