Category : Middle Age

(Bloomberg) Illustrating a broad shift, at 61 She Lives in Basement While 87-Year-Old Dad Travels

While plenty of baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, have become affluent and many elderly around the U.S. face financial hardship, the wealth disparity of this father and daughter is emblematic of a broad shift occurring around the country. A rising tide of graying baby boomers is less secure financially and has a lower standard of living than their aged parents.

The median net worth for U.S. households headed by boomers aged 55 to 64 was almost 8 percent lower, at $143,964, than those 75 and older in 2011, according to Census Bureau data. Boomers lost more than other groups in the stock market and housing bust of 2008, and many also lost their jobs in the aftermath at a critical point in their productive years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Children, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Medicare, Middle Age, Pensions, Personal Finance, Psychology, Social Security, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

The Case for a Midlife 'Gap' Year–More Baby boomers are taking career breaks to reflect and Refuel

Baby boomers are calling for a timeout.

After decades of raising children and climbing the corporate ladder, they’re weary of the same old routine. But they’re so caught up in high-pressure jobs that they don’t have the time and energy to figure out what to do next.

Enter the career break.

Inspired by high-school and college students who take “gap” or “bridge” years, more baby boomers are taking an extended leave from the working world. Their goal: to relax, re-energize and reflect upon what they want to do next””which often means heading down an entirely new and more fulfilling career path.

Read it all from the WSJ.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(WSJ) Stanley Druckenmiller: How Washington Really Redistributes Income, robbing future generations

Stan Druckenmiller makes an unlikely class warrior. He’s a member of the 1%””make that the 0.001%””one of the most successful money managers of all time, and 60 years old to boot. But lately he has been touring college campuses promoting a message of income redistribution you don’t hear out of Washington. It’s how federal entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are letting Mr. Druckenmiller’s generation rip off all those doting Barack Obama voters in Generation X, Y and Z.

“I have been shocked at the reception. I had planned to only visit Bowdoin, ” his alma mater in Maine, he says. But he has since been invited to multiple campuses, and even the kids at Stanford and Berkeley have welcomed his theme of generational theft. Harlem Children’s Zone President Geoffrey Canada and former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh have joined him at stops along the tour.

Mr. Druckenmiller describes the reaction of students: “The biggest question I got was, ‘How do we start a movement?’ And my answer was ‘I’m a 60-year-old washed-up money manager. I don’t know how to start a movement. That’s your job. But we did it in Vietnam without Twitter and without Facebook and without any social media. That’s your job.’ But the enthusiasm””they get it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Medicare, Middle Age, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology, Young Adults

A CBS 60 Minutes Expose on the American Disability Insurance System and the way its Gamed by Some

….the Federal Disability Insurance Program…serves nearly 12 million people — up 20 percent in the last six years — and has a budget of $135 billion. That’s more than the government spent last year on the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Labor Department combined. It’s been called a “secret welfare system” with it’s own “disability industrial complex,” a system ravaged by waste and fraud. A lot of people want to know what’s going on. Especially Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Tom Coburn: Go read the statute. If there’s any job in the economy you can perform, you are not eligible for disability. That’s pretty clear. So, where’d all those disabled people come from?

The Social Security Administration, which runs the disability program says the explosive surge is due to aging baby boomers and the lingering effects of a bad economy. But Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations — who’s also a physician — says it’s more complicated than that. Last year, his staff randomly selected hundreds of disability files and found that 25 percent of them should never have been approved — another 20 percent, he said, were highly questionable.

Read it all or better still watch the video.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Medicare, Middle Age, Personal Finance, Psychology, Social Security, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Washington Post) U.S. disability rolls swell in a rough economy

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of people in Penobscot County [Maine] receiving Social Security disability benefits skyrocketed, rising from 4,475 to 7,955 ”” or nearly one in 12 of the county’s adults between the ages of 18 and 64, according to Social Security statistics.

The fast expansion of disability here is part of a national trend that has seen the number of former workers receiving benefits soar from just over 5 million to 8.8 million between 2000 and 2012. An additional 2.1 million dependent children and spouses also receive benefits.

The crush of new recipients is putting unsustainable financial pressure on the program. Federal officials project that the program will exhaust its trust fund by 2016 ”” 20 years before the trust fund that supports Social Security’s old-age benefits is projected to run dry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Medicare, Middle Age, Psychology, Social Security, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(NY Times) Couples tell their relationships story, from romance to vows to divorce to thereafter

Dennis Hummer, now 45, met Nancy Hess, now 53, working at a church camp in 1988. Over 18 years of marriage, they learned they wanted to spend their time differently from each other. They divorced after Ms. Hess fell for another man. The couple did not have children, but now Mr. Hummer, who remarried and is now stepfather to two girls, find he loves being a “bonus” dad….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR Its All Politics Blog) CBO Report Warns Of Long-Term Debt Problems

There’s plenty of fodder for deficit hawks in a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In short, the future looks grim….

First, the good news: The CBO projects the deficit will shrink to $378 billion in 2015, or 2.1 percent of the size of the overall U.S. economy. Compared with just a few years ago when the budget gap ballooned as a result of the recession, this marks a nearly unprecedented improvement in the deficit picture. It’s a rapid decline in budget shortfalls not seen since the end of World War II. The national debt will bottom out in 2018, at 68 percent of GDP.

The bad news: From there, the picture gets decidedly less rosy. Budget deficits gradually rise, “mainly because of increasing interest costs and growing spending for Social Security and the government’s major health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and subsidies to be provided through the health insurance exchanges),” says the report. By 2038, the national debt will reach 100 percent of GDP….

Read it all and follow the link to the actual report.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Medicaid, Medicare, Middle Age, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology, Young Adults

Douglas Coupland on Generation X–Food for Thought for a Tuesday Morning

While the subject of his fiction has shifted in venue and somewhat in tone, it remains in a generational vein. Speaking of his work, Mr. Coupland explained: “I’m interested in people my age and younger who have no narrative structure to their lives. The big structure used to be the job, the career arc, and that’s no longer there. Neither is family or religion. All these narrative templates have eroded.”

–From a 1994 profile article in the New York Times (emphasis mine)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, History, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(NY Times Business) Taste-Testing a Second Career, With a Mentor

Only half of all small businesses survive five years, according to the Commerce Department ”” the number is much lower for food establishments. But at his original location, Mr. [Duncan] Goodall said, he’s figured out some rules for indie coffeehouses. These are rules that he has now evangelized to all the mentees, “about 20,” who have found him on the Web.

“You have two types of people” who come for mentorship, Mr. Goodall said. “People who love coffeehouses, and people who love coffee. But there’s no requirement for either of those groups to know anything about business.” So what he offers mentees is like a quickie M.B.A. for people whose background is in ”” to use the Owens’ example ”” preaching or nursing.

Mr. Goodall is emphatic about Rule No. 1: “Figure out your niche.” If you’re attracting the artsy crowd, don’t worry if your employees have crazy tattoos ”” it might be better if they do.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

([London] Times) Baby boomers have grown into a generation of ”˜silver splitters’

The number of over-sixties divorcing their partners has hit a 40-year high as men seek a new life of adventure after years of marriage, according to figures published yesterday.

“Silver splitter” divorces are continuing to rise at a time when the overall number of marriage failures is in decline. Unlike other age groups where women are more likely to file for divorce, among the over-sixties men are as likely as women to want to end a marriage.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Her.meneutics) Michelle Van Loon–Who Raised These Millennials Anyway?

So let’s talk reality. Today’s young adults go through their own glory days with crushing student loan debt and a severe recession that continues to affect those entering the job market for the first time. Those from every generation can affirm we are living in a time of unprecedented technological and social change, but millennials are doing so in the midst of the formative years when they build their adult lives. While some boomers unfortunately find themselves forced onto the employment exit ramp, millennials trying to launch their career may discover that no clear “on ramp” into the workforce exists at all for them, save for the merry-go-round of low-paying, part-time jobs (or worse, internships!).

I have watched my own 20-something children and some of my young adult friends struggle to find the kinds of mobile, sustainable careers we boomers have had. Some young workers don’t crave those kinds of jobs, choosing instead to make a living through nontraditional outlets that rely on creativity, connectivity, and entrepreneurship.

Either way, we can’t regard the employment issues of millennials as character issues. Many of my peers have tried. When they complain about the slacker, selfie-selfish ways of an entire generation of young adults, there is an implication that boomers have been blessed (if you measure blessing in terms of material possessions) because we did something right.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Religion & Culture, Theology

(SMH) Matt Wade–Changes in power as world grows up

You might have heard about peak oil, but what about peak child? When I was born in 1965, about one in three of the world’s people were children. That will fall to one in five in my lifetime – assuming I make it to the ripe old age of 85.

It might not sound dramatic but the repercussions of that shift are Earth-changing. The number of babies being born around the world is unlikely to ever be higher than now, and that means the domination of the world’s population by those in lower age brackets is ending.

Over the past 50 years, the population aged under 15 ballooned from 1 billion to nearly 2 billion. But revised 100-year population forecasts, released by the United Nations last week, show the number of children will flatten out over the next 15 to 20 years and then fall back to 1.9 billion by 2050.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Politics in General, Sociology, Theology

Bishop of London–Baby boomers are now “absorbing” more than their fair share

Baby boomers are a “fortunate generation” who have enjoyed dramatic improvements in living standards but are now “absorbing” more than their fair share of taxpayers’ money, one of the Church of England’s most senior clerics has suggested.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, who is 65, said there were “severe questions” about the share of government spending that goes on his own generation.
He said the world was in the midst of a transformation that had left many believing that our best days could be “behind us”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Middle Age, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Taxes, Theology

(Telegraph) Loneliness 'time bomb' warning fuelled by baby-boomer divorces

Research published as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s “happiness” indicates that almost seven million members of the baby-boomer generation and above admit feeling lonely.

Among people over 80, the proportion rises to almost half, including a large minority who admit they feel lonely much of the time.

But campaign groups warned that the study suggests that the generation now approaching retirement will prove to be a “loneliness time bomb”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology, Theology

(NY Times Op-Ed) Andrew Cherlin–In the Season of Marriage, a Question. Why Bother?

Its surprising how many people still marry. As everyone knows, it’s a risky proposition; the divorce rate, though down from its peak of one in two marriages in the early 1980s, remains substantial. Besides, you can have a perfectly respectable life these days without marrying.

When the Pew Research Center asked a sample of Americans in 2010 what they thought about the “growing variety in the types of family arrangements that people live in,” 34 percent responded that it was a good thing, and 32 percent said it made no difference. Having a child outside of marriage has also become common. According to a report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, 47 percent of American women who give birth in their 20s are unmarried at the time.

And still, demographers project that at least 80 percent of Americans will marry at some point in their lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology, Sociology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology, Young Adults

How the American government really Spends the Tax Dollars it Currently Receives

There is a great graphic here and some comment there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Medicare, Middle Age, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Social Security, Taxes, Teens / Youth, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology, Young Adults

(WSJ) Workers Stuck in Disability Stunt Economic Recovery

The unexpectedly large number of American workers who piled into the Social Security Administration’s disability program during the recession and its aftermath threatens to cost the economy tens of billions a year in lost wages and diminished tax revenues.

Signs of the problem surfaced Friday, in a dismal jobs report that showed U.S. labor force participation rates falling last month to the lowest levels since 1979, the wrong direction for an economy that instead needs new legions of working men and women to drive growth and sustain a baby boomer generation headed to retirement.

Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist for J.P. Morgan, estimates that since the recession, the worker flight to the Social Security Disability Insurance program accounts for as much as a quarter of the puzzling drop in participation rates, a labor exodus with far-reaching economic consequences.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Medicare, Middle Age, Social Security, The U.S. Government, Theology

(NY Times) How Five Workers over 50 remade Their Careers

It’s a baby boomer’s nightmare. One moment you’re 40-ish and moving up, the next you’re 50-plus and suddenly, shockingly, moving out ”” jobless in a tough economy.

Too young to retire, too old to start over. Or at least that’s the line. Comfortable jobs with comfortable salaries are scarce, after all. Almost overnight, skills honed over a lifetime seem tired, passé. Twenty- and thirty-somethings will gladly do the work you used to do, and probably for less money. Yes, businesses are hiring again, but not nearly fast enough. Many people are so disheartened that they’ve simply stopped looking for work.

For millions of Americans over 50, this isn’t a bad dream ”” it’s grim reality….[and] though there is no single path, there are success stories that offer hope….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology, Science & Technology

Susan Engel on Parenthood and Middle Age–When They’re Grown, the Real Pain Begins

When I was 24 years old, I brought my firstborn son, 3-week-old Jacob, to my childhood home on the Eastern End of Long Island to meet his grandparents. When I arrived, an old family friend and neighbor, Cora Stevens, happened to be sitting in my parents’ kitchen. Cora, a mother to five grown children and grandmother to seven, grabbed tiny Jake, put her face right up to his and started speaking loud baby talk to him. Then, as she bounced him on her knee, she turned to me and said, “When they’re little they sit on your lap; when they’re big they sit on your heart.”

Oh, how right she was. Now that Jake is 28, and his brothers are 25 and 19, I can say without a doubt that this is way harder than having little kids. When my children were growing up, I groped my way through stormy nights, chaotic dinner hours, endless mess, nail-biting basketball games, tortured term papers, bad dates and the agony of college admissions. During all those wild ups and downs in the back of my head was the calming thought: once my children get into college, my work will be done. In retrospect, having little kids was a breeze. As long as you hugged them a lot and made good food, things seemed to be, for the most part, O.K. You could fix many problems, and distract them from others. Your home could be a haven from all that might be painful and difficult in the world beyond.

All of that changes when they are grown….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Young Adults

A helpful Reminder from John Piper About the Importance of Endurance

Perhaps it’s because I am in my mid-fifties as I write this, but whatever the reason, my mind defaults to thoughts about endurance these days. I want to finish well for the glory of Christ. I want to die well. But I have seen too much quitting and falling and failing to take anything for granted. “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

–John Piper, Endurance (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2002), page 17

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Middle Age, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Yorkshire Post) A generation gap in support as baby boomers face old age

Baby Boomers were the first generation to enjoy the concept of being a teenager, and also the first of the last century to enjoy a prolonged period of national prosperity in which they were encouraged to “have it all”, with widespread home ownership, increasing numbers taking holidays abroad and enjoying the burgeoning consumer economy.

That group of post-war babies are now approaching older age, relinquishing the habits of working life and finding themselves with decades still to live in which they might stay fit and healthy or become increasingly dependent on ”¨help and care from those around them. They ”“ and all of us ”“ are mostly in the dark about when we might crumble physically or mentally.

For many who are retired or ”¨who are facing retirement soon, the huge questions of how long their health will last, who will care from them and how they finance their care are a colossal and persistent worry….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Politics in General, Psychology

Young parents, older adults change face of cohabitation

Deanna Medina and Ever Gutierrez of Los Angeles have been engaged for three years and have lived together for 12.

They also have three kids together, ages 17 months to 11 years.

While more of the USA’s cohabiters are childless (59% ”” almost 9 million ”” as of March, when Census counted current cohabiters), they’re not the only ones driving the rise in cohabitation. There are also 6.3 million who, like Medina and Gutierrez, have kids and make up the other 41%. About half of those have kids from a partner’s previous relationship, and half are children from the cohabiting relationship, researchers say.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology

(Her.meneutics blog) Michelle Van Loon–Why Friends Disappear When You Reach Midlife

In middle age, many women discover they’re downsizing and moving into a brand-new neighborhood, so to speak. Midlife strips us of the things that formed our network of relationships back in the old neighborhood of our 20s and 30s: children’s activities or the drive to find meaning in a career. This new life location can be lonely. No one I know is riding in a red convertible with her empty-nester Gal Pals, singing along to oldies while heading together to a beach house weekend. Most of us aren’t looking for Gal Pals, anyway. We’re simply looking for a few friends in our new neighborhood. Studies confirm what we intuitively know: loneliness is a serious issue with far-reaching consequences as we get older.

The standard friend-making advice offers motivational action steps: take a class, join a group, serve those in need in your community. In addition, Christians are encouraged to find fellowship at church, though they may discover that there aren’t always as many age peers attending as they might hope.

The suggestions are useful, but without first doing what Jesus asks of us, our efforts will not be grounded in kingdom reality. We can not befriend others if we are not willing to first befriend our midlife selves. Relying on the identity that seemed to fit like a glove at age 25 to build new relationships when we are 47 won’t net us the kind of authentic relationships we’re longing for in our second adulthood, nor does it honor the process of God’s transforming, maturing work in our lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Women

USA Today Editorial: Medicare problems finally arrive on center stage

It’s game on. But to understand the contest ”” and the associated scare tactics ”” it’s best to first understand a few unpleasant facts that are not in dispute:

”¢The popular old-age health insurance plan is on a financially unsustainable course. Medicare’s payroll tax and premiums that beneficiaries pay cover barely half the program’s costs, and as Baby Boomers retire, things will get worse. The tab is projected to rise rapidly: 7.6% a year for the doctor-care part of Medicare and 8.8% for the program’s prescription drug benefit, for example. The economy, a rough proxy for the nation’s ability to afford this, is growing less than 2% a year, leaving a huge gap.
”¢There is no painless fix. Both presidential candidates have committed to detailed plans for curbing costs, and no matter who wins, beneficiaries will pay more or get less, likely both. People who say otherwise are deluding themselves. As economist Herb Stein famously said: Anything that can’t go on forever won’t.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Medicare, Middle Age, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology, Young Adults

Demographic Time Bomb in Pictures and Dollar Amounts; Ratio of S. Sec. Benef. to Workers Exceeds 50%

Quick Stats[:]

As of 2012-06 the civilian labor force was 155,163,000
As of 2012-06 there were 111,145,000 in the private workforce
As of 2012-06 there were 56,174,538 collecting some form of SS or disability benefit
Ratio of SS beneficiaries to private employment just passed the 50% mark (50.54%)

….As of May 2012, the outlays are $756.9 billion annualized. Fewer worker relatively speaking, support more and more recipients with exponentially growing payments. This is supposed to work?

Read it all from Mish’s economics blog (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Budget, Census/Census Data, Credit Markets, Economy, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Medicare, Middle Age, Office of the President, Politics in General, Psychology, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Young Adults

(WSJ) For Middle-Aged Job Seekers, a Long Road Back

By this point in his life, Keith Daniel thought he would be saving for retirement, helping his daughter through college and slugging his way to glory in his local softball league.

Instead, the 52-year-old is burning through his savings and working odd jobs to make ends meet. He hasn’t held a full-time job in over three years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(SMH) An increase in 'Desperate Housewives syndrome'–Women with eating disorders in middle age

Experts agree that the way celebrities portray themselves on our screens is piling on the pressure for ordinary older women to look just as good.

There’s been an increase in the number of women experiencing eating disorders in middle age according to Professor Phillipa Hay, Foundation Chair of Mental Health at the University of Western Sydney. Hay says a rise in body image and weight and shape concerns is to blame. “There may be more pressures on older women to retain the appearance of youth,” she says and “there may be more pressures to be a ‘super woman’ ”“ successful in the workplace and at home and ‘looking good’ as well.”

Celebrities, such as Angelina Jolie, “appear to ‘prove’ that thinness in midlife bestows many real-life benefits, for example, sexual desirability, happiness, and wealth that may be particularly persuasive,” said a recent study in Psychology of Women Quarterly co-authored by Professor Marika Tiggemann, a psychologist and body image expert at Flinders University. The research, which looked at the influence of television shows such as Desperate Housewives on women aged between 35 and 55 concluded that “exposure to thin idealised images in media content may have an adverse impact on body image and eating practices in midlife.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Movies & Television, Women

Today’s Grandmas may be different than you think

Dr. Georgia Witkin, author of the new book, “The Modern Grandparent’s Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to the New Rules of Grandparenting,” (New American Library, $15)…[says that] the average age for a first-time grandparent is 48….Whether they work or not, grandparents are busy, active people. They’re shaking their bodies in Zumba classes, running marathons, biking from the suburbs into the city and back, and chatting with friends and family, far and near, on Facebook.

And some grandmothers, like Gregory of Southfield, Mich., are even abandoning the traditional moniker for names that better fit their personalities and lifestyles, such as Grand, GiGi or Nana.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Children, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology

Susan Gregory Thomas–Why baby boomers are breaking up late in life like no generation before

For the new generation of empty-nesters, divorce is increasingly common. Among people ages 50 and older, the divorce rate has doubled over the past two decades, according to new research by sociologists Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin of Bowling Green State University, whose paper, “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” Prof. Brown will present at Ohio State University this April. The paper draws on data from the 1990 U.S. Vital Statistics Report and the 2009 American Community Survey, administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, which asked all respondents if they’d divorced in the past 12 months.

Though overall national divorce rates have declined since spiking in the 1980s, “gray divorce” has risen to its highest level on record, according to Prof. Brown. In 1990, only one in 10 people who got divorced was 50 or older; by 2009, the number was roughly one in four. More than 600,000 people ages 50 and older got divorced in 2009.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, History, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Psychology

(Belfast Telegraph) Kevin Myers on the epidemic of middle-aged Suicides in Ireland

Suicide spreads when people feel authorised to opt for it and when they have lost the will to remain alive. The second part is less important than the first part.

Most people wish they were dead at some time or other in their lives. It is the culture of authorisation that translates a possibly temporary indifference to life into a decisive and final action which can be a key factor in the spread of suicide.
The more people hear of suicides, the more suicides will follow.

And the emotive, non-judgmental, godless culture that has emerged in recent years rules out the use of taboo as a social influence on society generally.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ireland, Middle Age, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Suicide