You’ve been warned in advance: this is a longer read than what normally gets posted here. But it’s worth it. Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist, ran an experiment in 1979. There is academic criticism of the experiment, because it was small, unorthodox, and perhaps lacking in rigor. Nevertheless, it feels intuitively right. And if it feels right, and the experimental data backs it up, we should probably run with it. Here’s hoping we see many more experiments just like this. And for those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing, here it is in a nutshell: start living as if it were 20 years ago, and you’ll become younger in almost every way imaginable.
According to the Global AgeWatch index, which ranks 96 countries around the world, the U.S. is 8th in “overall welfare and well-being” for seniors aged 65 and old. Newsmax looked at several studies, and the results are interesting. Overall health for seniors isn’t nearly as good, with overall heath and expected longevity both coming in at 25. In the previous year’s study, the results were nearly identical, and the Washington Post claimed that meant that the U.S. “is a great place to be elderly”. What do you think? 8th overall, but 25th in health and longevity — is that great?
Following up on the previous blog about the relationship between Millennials and Baby Boomers, this review of the book by Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Meyer seems particularly apropos. Largely a rant against “progressive overreach”, the review is particularly interesting, because coming from The American Spectator, it does a good job at coming at the obvious politics of the book from the other direction. So, whichever side of the spectrum you’re on, reading the article will give you good counterbalance to the book itself.
It had to happen some day, and it appears that day is today. Millennials now officially outnumber Baby Boomers. But that’s not nearly as interesting as where you outnumber them. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Florida is the home of the highest percentage of people over the age of 65. But would you have guessed that Maine is second highest? MarketWatch distills lots of great statistics like this from a recent government report.
Fernando Torres-Gil, the director of the UCLA Center for Policy Research on Aging, and principal investigator for the Ford Foundation-funded Latinos and Economic Security project, wrote an excellent op-ed piece in today’s Houston Chronicle. It looks to the future of America, and points out that within 15 years the last of the Baby Boomers will have turned 65, and within about 15 years of that minorities will actually be a majority in America. It’s a great, personal insight into one man’s view of what those changes might mean, and is well worth the read.
If you’re a Baby Boomer, then odds are you’ve been living a life of purpose. You’ve been very goal oriented, and driven. You’ve succeeded, both in your career and in your family life, in ways that previous generations weren’t able to balance as well. But, what now? Are you just going to go spend the rest of your life on a shuffle-board court? Yeah, probably not. That doesn’t sound like an enlivening retirement for your generation. The National Journal takes a closer look at how retirement is changing, and how you might be able to make yours more fulfilling.
Apparently, U.S. senior citizens are bucking an otherwise global trend — engaging in villainy. Crime in the over fifty-five set, in the U.S., has been on the decline since the 1980s; but that does not appear to be the case elsewhere. South Korea had a 12% increase in crime by the elderly, just from 2011 to 2013. But it’s not limited to small, Asian countries. There has an increase in heists performed by the elderly in Germany and the UK as well. So, as much as you might lament not being part of the Grandpa Gang, your country thanks you for not supplementing your pension with larceny.
It may seem shocking, but almost 20% of U.S. student-loan debt is carried by people over the age of 50! Worse, the fastest growth in total balances has been for those over the age of 60. This article by CNBC covers three things you should consider if you’re carrying student-loan debt and are at or nearing retirement: don’t default!, look into income-driven payment plans, and consider debt consolidation. Remember, your student loans weren’t cleared out even if you had a bankruptcy, and they’re certainly not cleared out by retirement!
If you ever wanted to fund a Kickstarter campaign, this might be a fun one: Evan Briggs has filmed a documentary on a preschool inside a nursing home in Seattle, and is raising funds for her post-production work. An article on the nursing-home-cum-preschool talks about the transformative effect the kids have had on the elderly, and one can only assume the elderly are having a profound impact on the children as well. It will be very interesting to see if this becomes more of a trend, but, in the meantime, you can always have the film. You have until July 2nd, if you want to contribute.
This article from Salon.com is a little sensationalist, but it does make some good points. Their opening statistic is that the number of seniors (age 75 to 84) living in poverty doubled from 2005 to 2009. The article is written with a decidedly political bent, but, regardless of your party affiliations, the question is an important one. Take a look at their points. What do you think? Does America treat its elderly particularly poorly? And, if so, ask yourself the far more important question, “what can I do about it?” Whether you’re on the left, and think the best thing to do is call Congress, or on the right and think the best thing you can do is give more to local charity, either way — it’s up to you to fix the problem.