Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More retirees have living parents; some risk their own retirement; a new crisis? Look at Blue Zones!


AARP Magazine has an online article “Are you risking your own retirement to care for a parent?”, by Martha Hamilton in “Your Financial Future” column, Sept. 24, 2008, here.

The article mentions a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC "Life Care") indicating an average of $5530 a year from adult child caregivers, with proportional burdens much greater in lower income families.

Increasingly, adults in their 60s, already able to retire (or at least start early retirement with Social Security) are caring for parents in their 90s, because longevity has radically and rapidly increased with medical advances (especially prescription medications and some surgeries) that notably prolong life but don’t always prevent clinical deterioration (such as frailness or particularly memory loss). This could cause a quickly ballooning financial crisis for retirees in the future that policymakers seem unprepared for now.

NAC has an interesting position paper on caregiving and the workplace, here.

Oprah Winfrey, on a show Nov. 24, examined “Blue Zones” including one around Loma Linda CA where seniors live even past 100 in good health with little loss of vitality or little need for care. One male surgeon was still practicing medicine at age 94, and Barbara Walters had earlier introduced a financial planner who was 94. In Loma Linda, many people were Seventh Day Adventists, who eat plant-food diets and who have very strong social ties compared to many mainstream Americans. The Blue Zones Community website has an article on the importance of social ties by Kathryn Savage, “
Love, Marriage, Friendship, & Your Brain", link here.

This is not good news for introverts.

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