Bombarded with adverts promising a longer, healthier life, BBC News Los Angeles correspondent Peter Bowes goes in search of eternal youth. If we are lucky, we will grow old. Most of us have grey hair, wrinkles, frailty, loss of memory and degenerative diseases to look forward to - if we do not have them already.
It is not all bad news. With ageing, we can acquire wisdom and often become more emotionally stable and at ease with life. But the downsides seem to far outweigh the perks.
California epitomises a society where everyone wants to be young, attractive and vibrant. Being old, looking old, acting old is not an option, so much so that after many years operating as the University of California's Ageing Centre, in Los Angeles, the name was changed to Longevity Center, to "give it a more positive spin," according to its director, Dr Gary Small.
"Ageism - prejudice against old age - is a tremendous problem," says Dr Small.
"People need to understand that older people are just people. As soon as you understand that, you can get over that ageism and that fear. Part of it is our own fear of death and of ageing ourselves, so we want to deny that natural process," he says.
Scientists have long been searching for the key to a long and healthy life and experiments can throw up unlikely results.
A stress-free existence is often put forward as recipe for a long life, but a study by Dr Lewis Terman at Stanford University in 1921 refutes many commonly held beliefs about lifestyle and lifespan. It followed the lives of about 1,500 people from childhood to death and set out to match behavioural traits and actual life events with how individuals thrived in later years.