Doctor John Rowe, a professor of health policy and aging at Columbia University, observed that "low savings rates, increasing out of pocket health expenditures, and continued increases in life expectancy put 41% of Americans at risk of running out of money in retirement". Is working longer a realistic alternative for seniors? Trends point in the opposite direction. On the one hand, the US Bureau of Labor statistics suggests that by 2026, about 30% of adults ages 65 to 74 and 11% of those 75 and older will be working. The pandemic has increased these percentages greatly. On the other hand, age discrimination makes it difficult for large numbers of older adults to keep or find jobs. According to a 2018 AARP survey, 61% of older workers reported witnessing or experiencing age discrimination.
With the increased ease of computer learning at home, might a 75 year old what some basic computer skills be able to teach 4-10 year olds things of lasting value? I believe so, thus meaningful work for boomers may include home schooling children, walking dogs (good exercise for both and helping stay at home moms provide animal nurturing for all).
A caveat for the boomer is staying healthy, eliminating the role modeling of prescription drug usage and contributing to the community in numerous measurable ways. That is very doable. The key will be to not rely on bad science but on good judgement encompassing a healthy meaningful lifestyle supporting wise nurturing choices. Social security and a Freedom Dividend (UBI) will help a great deal.
Below are some guidelines from Abraham Maslow’s ten measurable and objectively describable characteristics of the healthy individual based on research and clinical experiences.
- Clear, more efficient perception of reality. (prescription drugs risk distorting that)
- More openness to experience. (prescription drugs often muddle, confuse, invite anxiety and withdrawal)
- Increased integration, wholeness, and unity of the person. (prescription drugs create multiple adverse side effects)
- Increased spontaneity, expressiveness; full functioning. (prescription drug side effects of side effects of side effects risk compounding lack of mental clarity and increased confusion)
- A real self; a firm identity; autonomy, uniqueness. (prescription drug side effects risk fostering dependency and increased challenges to financial freedom)
- Increased objectivity, detachment, transcendence of self. (prescription drugs risk inviting mind body spirit confusions)
- Recovery of creativeness. (prescription drugs muddle clarity of thought)
- Ability to fuse concreteness and abstractions. (prescription drugs muddle, confuse, invite anxiety and withdrawal)
- Democratic character structure. (prescription drugs often foster dependencies)
- Ability to love and be loved. (prescription drugs muddle, confuse, invite anxiety and withdrawal)
I found my mother on 29 medications in a rest home in Bradenton Florida. She did not recognize her only son and inaccurately remembered she had been a great actress. Safely stopping side effect prescription drugs is the goal.
Message! If you are wisely nourished, have a safe sheltered place to sleep, and clean clothes to wear, ask yourself, what gives you the most meaning in life? Then proceed from there. Oxygen and Aging?
Michael Grant White