In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.
A new survey from Careerbuilder reports that economic meltdown has caused 60 percent of workers 60 and older to postpone retirement (I assume that means those who still have a job.) Eleven percent say they may never be able to retire now due to loss of their savings. Another 73 percent say it will take up to six years of work to recoup their losses. About a quarter say they make up the difference in a couple of years. Read more here.
The New England Centenarian Study at Boston University has been going on since 1992. A recent report about it at Voice of America News noted this important point about living to be 100 and more:
"A lot of people ask, 'Gosh, who would want to live to 100?' because they get this idea of 'the older you get, the sicker you get,' when in fact, what we've found is very opposite to that,” [researcher Thomas Perls] says. "Centenarians, they markedly delay the onset of any kind of disability well to their early- to mid-90s.”
The Washington Post Op-Ed columnist, Eugene Robinson, recounted a personal health care story this week – successful surgery for a hand injury. It led him to this conclusion:
“What is relevant is that I have good insurance, which I obtain through my employer, and haven't paid a dime out of pocket for my treatment. If I were among the 46 million Americans who are uninsured, I'd be looking at a huge hospital bill. No one should face financial ruin because of a mishap with a fork and an avocado.
“The way we ration health care now - according to the individual's ability to pay - is immoral, and if higher taxes are needed to ensure that no one has to choose between health and bankruptcy, I'll pay. That was my position all along, but now it's personal.
“What's changed is that I also feel more strongly about the ability to make my own choices. I decided where I would be treated and, ultimately, what would or wouldn't be done. I'm willing to pay for that, too.”
There is no reason for this item except to note that even the bad guys get old. This is Charlie Manson before and now at age 74. Apparently that swastika on his forehead is a jailhouse tat.
If you receive Social Security benefits AND are also employed, this is valuable information about Stimulus Package payments.
“Employers have received new tax withholding tables from IRS that are based on the assumption that the worker is entitled to the entire $400 individual credit if the worker's salary is under the income limit. A problem is created because the Social Security Administration (SSA) will also independently send out $250 checks to all beneficiaries.
“This means, if working seniors receiving benefits do not take action, they will receive both the credit through their payroll withholding ($400) and the check from SSA ($250). However, double-dipping is not allowed, so the government will insist on recovering the extra $250. Working seniors receiving both benefits will find themselves with a higher tax liability than they are expecting next April 15.”
You need to know this. Read the entire story at the NCPSSM – National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
Is a new, bigger baby boom on the way? The highest number of births ever registered in U.S. occurred in 2007, beating the previous record holder, 1957. Read more here. [pdf]
Anytime someone wants to indicate something is out of date or obsolete, they say it's for old people. Now, even that bastion of liberal/progressive/green journalism, Mother Jones, that bastion of liberal/green/progressive magazine out of San Francisco has stepped in it with the headline, Email is for Old People. The magazine is published by the Foundation for National Progress, but they're not making much progress in regard to old age and attitude.
According to a new study from the University of Virginia, human mental abilities peak at 22 and are declining significantly by age 27. I wonder how this news squares with other research showing that the part of the brain that regulates risky behavior does not mature until age 25. More here and here.