The Over 65 Blog is a part of The Hastings Center, an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit bioethics research institute that focuses on ethical issues in the areas of health, medicine, and the environment. The Center concentrates on and produces research about making decisions at the end of life, public health priorities, and the role of emerging technologies when it comes to medical care and aging.
The Over 65 Blog examines issues and problems that affect members of the over-65 generation, and I’ve started to follow it after learning about it on Facebook from Jane Gross, who is on the organization’s board.
Those of us who are adult children and also approaching retirement are watching the Medicare debate with a combination of anxiety, frustration, and resignation. A recent post on the over 65 Blog, The Medicare Showdown, by Daniel Callahan, offers some sobering thoughts about what it may take for Medicare to continue to operate effectively.
- Quite apart from the long-term deficit crisis, Medicare is in deep trouble: unsustainable in the long run and a burden already. Much higher taxes, especially for the rich but even for the middle class, will be necessary to soften the impact of benefit cuts.
- The president’s proposal contains a gradual increase of benefits after age 76 to offset inadequate retirement income, a far-sighted and welcome idea.
Over and over the media refer to boomers as a health conscious generation, and boomers often assume that their generation is healthier than their parents’ generation.
Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Health Examination Survey (NHANES – Check out this informational video), researchers compared data from 1988-1994 for our parents’ generation and data from 2007-2010 for the boomers. This means that they were examining health data from similar age groups. The results are dramatic.
Some of the Findings
- In the older generation, 32% the those surveyed reported excellent health, while only 13.2% of boomers reported excellent health.
- Obesity was more common in the boomer generation.
- Regular exercise was less frequent in boomers’ lives.
- Hypertension was more common in boomers with 43% reporting the condition, but only 36% of their parents reported hypertension at the same age. Read more »
Check out Aging Boomers Seen as More of a Market than Burden, a January 1, 2013 article appearing in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
The article, by reporters Franco Ordonez and Casey Conley of McClatchy Newspapers, points out that, “… the 78 million boomers – born from 1946 to 1964 – have always broken the mold in terms of setting trends, and some investors and business and community leaders see their retirement as no different.”
While plenty of leaders and policy makers are moaning and groaning about the potential strain on the economy as boomers begin to use government benefits, few or these leaders seem to take into consideration the fact that boomers are working longer and in general reinventing themselves as well as the important parts of their lives — while the generation moves along. The article also points out that many venture capitalists are now asking new start-ups if they have developed an “over-fifty” plan for their businesses. Many seniors, as they retire, are even developing small businesses.
“It’s only in Washington that 100 million people are viewed as an unaffordable cost and financial burden,” said Jody Holtzman, a senior vice president at AARP. “In the private sector, 100 million people are called a market and an opportunity.”
A while back I wrote a post about the Ford Motor Company’s plans to increase the font size on dashboards, starting with car models in 2012.
In A Stethoscope in the Steering Wheel, reporter Anne Tergesen describes some of the accommodations in the pipeline — changes that may be made in future models to assist aging drivers.
Here’s what stands out to me. The cars will look just like any other car — nothing will give away the fact that they will provide additional features for seniors when they drive.
Bridges, highways, businesses, savings accounts, good schools, paid off mortgages, parks, protective regulations, Medicare, social security, you name it. Even foreign aid to build up countries that had been our enemies during World War II.
The generations that preceded us, and especially the greatest generation, had a finely tuned respect for public service. Civics was important to them, and they understood how building a government, whether national or local, encouraged participation and helped others. Did I mention a love of education?
They also believed in paying their way with taxes — none of this lowering taxes and increasing debt and not paying for wars. I’ve lost track of the number of times my parents and grandparents told my brother and me that ”…taxes are a privilege in a democratic society… for all of us, not just our family.” These were not affluent people talking.
We adult children and those who have followed us have mistreated and trivialized the gifts that were given to us.
Check out today’s post, No Need for Death Threats! over at Changing Aging, Dr. Bill Thomas’ blog. He snapped this picture of this magazine cover at the airport in Philadelphia. I am beginning to believe that the next 30 years will be generationally tough, not only for our parents but also for us, the adult children who are following right behind.
I am going to Philly for a conference next month. I won’t buy the magazine this time. The blame for this type of thing can be placed squarely on the shoulders people who opine about budgets, intentionally creating generational rifts, to get political attention, but the same people do nothing to really solve our problems. Already twenty and thirty somethings indicate in a variety of ways that boomers are the problem — precisely the type of rifts that make people think this magazine cover is appropriate.
Head on over to read the post. B.T.W. I shared this on Facebook and retweeted on Twitter.