Category : Middle Age

(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

(Tribal Church) Carol Howard Merritt–Perspectives on the young clergy crisis

Since I’ve been chairing a national Presbyterian Church (USA) committee on the Nature of the Church for the 21st century, I’ve been gaining a different perspective on many of the larger trends of our denomination. One thing that has been difficult to realize (and equally difficult to communicate to the larger church) is the young clergy crisis.

Why would I call it a crisis? We’ve known for a long time about the startling decline of young clergy. The drop-out rates don’t help (I can’t find hard and fast stats on this… but some claim that about 70% of young clergy drop out within the first five years of ministry, usually because of lack of support or financial reasons). The average age of a pastor in the PCUSA is 53. And I’ve realized that the age of our leadership might be much higher.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Middle Age, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, United Church of Christ, Young Adults

(USA Today) Boomers head back to community colleges

Paul Klingler likes his job as a mold-maker for a Rochester plastics manufacturer.

But the 54-year-old Parma resident also liked his last mold-making job, which he held for four years before being laid off early this year. And when he didn’t get a call back regarding an open position at another company, Klingler chalked it up to his lack of a college degree. “I know I have all the other skills they’re looking for,” he says.

That’s why Klingler is working with Monroe Community College here to figure out what coursework he needs to earn an associate’s degree in its machine trades apprentice training program. He plans to start this spring.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age

(Reuters) Retirement Crisis Closes In on Baby Boomers

Like many middle-class American baby boomers, Linda Carmona-Sanchez is anxious about slipping into poverty and says whatever dreams she once had about retirement in her “golden years” have turned into nightmares.

“We don’t value people here in this country, and we value you less if you’re not healthy and strong,” Carmona-Sanchez, 55, said.

“To me it would almost be a welcome blessing to know that I would die rather than to be old and have to live in poverty,” she said.

Her anxiety is widespread….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Middle Age, Pensions, Personal Finance

(LA Times) Many baby boomers don't plan to leave their children an inheritance

Carol Willison has made lots of financial sacrifices for her two children over the years, including paying most of her older daughter’s medical school tuition. But Willison’s generosity has reached its limits.

Not only doesn’t the 60-year-old Seattle woman plan to leave her daughters an inheritance when she dies, she’s trying to spend every last dime on herself before she goes.

“My goal is when they carry me away in that box that my bank account is going to say zero,” Willison said. “I’m going to spoil myself now.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Children, Economy, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Personal Finance, Psychology

(AP) Obesity biggest threat for boomers

Baby boomers say their biggest health fear is cancer. Given their waistlines, heart disease and diabetes should be atop that list, too.

Boomers are more obese than other generations, a new poll finds, setting them up for unhealthy senior years.

And for all the talk of “60 is the new 50” and active aging, even those who aren’t obese need to do more to stay fit, according to the Associated Press-LifeGoes poll.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Psychology

Many boomers not prepared for elder care: survey

While most of the 76 million baby boomers are no longer caring for their children, more and more of them are playing the role of caretakerfor an older generation: their parents. But how ready are they for this role?

A new survey by Home Instead Senior Care, an in-home care company, shows that an alarming number of those caring for their aging parents are under-prepared.

Almost half of those surveyed by Home Instead said they couldn’t name a single drug their parents took. Also, 34 percent said they don’t know whether their parents have a safe deposit box, and 36 percent said they don’t know where their parents’ financial information is located.

Read it all.

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

(AP) Picky Baby Boomers warm up to online dating

Dating online the second time around ”“ after divorce or the death of a spouse ”“ isn’t always second nature among boomers, let alone people who are 65 and older, but neither is it all that scary.

Yet they often have unrealistic notions of how to hunt for love and companionship, said Pepper Schwartz, a sociology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle who is also a sex and relationship expert for the AARP and developer of an algorithm to make matches more meaningful on the dating site

“People 65 or older, they’re picky in a different way,” she said. “Young people tend to go for looks, period. Older people often have a little bit more leeway on what somebody looks like, but then they have all these other kinds of requirements that may or may not be realistic.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Men, Middle Age, Psychology, Women

BBC Today Programme–Thousands more middle age people in Britain 'living a lonelier life'

The number of middle aged people living alone has soared by a third in the past decade, with singles making up 29% of Britain’s 26m households.

Home editor Mark Easton explained that an extra half a million of 45 to 64-year-olds were now living on their own.

The reasons behind the trend were both the demographic bulge caused by the baby boomer generation, but also the dramatic drop in marriage and co-habitation.

Listen to it all (a little under 8 1/4 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Middle Age

David Leonhardt–Generational Divide Colors Debate Over Medicare’s Future

The Republican budget released on Tuesday is a daring one in many ways. Above all, it would replace the current Medicare with a system of private health insurance plans subsidized by the government. Whether you like or loathe that idea, it would undeniably reduce Medicare’s long-term funding gap ”” which is by far the biggest source of looming federal deficits.

Yet there is at least one big way in which the plan isn’t daring at all. It asks for a whole lot of sacrifice from everyone under the age of 55 and little from everyone 55 and over. Representative Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who wrote the plan, calls the budget deficit an “existential threat” to the United States. Then he absolves more than one-third of all adults from responsibility in dealing with that threat.

This decision doesn’t make him unique in Washington. There is nearly a bipartisan consensus that any cuts to Medicare and Social Security should spare the baby boomers and the elderly. And, certainly, retirees or people on the verge of retirement shouldn’t have their benefits changed radically. But the consensus, like Mr. Ryan’s plan, goes too far.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Middle Age, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Young Adults

(USA Today) More workers have a gloomy retirement outlook

More workers are pessimistic about their retirement future than at any time in the past two decades, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey.

The percentage of workers who are not at all confident about saving enough money for a comfortable retirement reached 27% in 2011, compared with 22% last year. When combined with those who said they are not too confident, the total reaches 50% of workers.

“That is sobering,” says Greg Burrows, senior vice president of retirement and investor services at the Principal Financial Group, a partner with the EBRI survey. “Hopefully this will spur some action.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, Pensions, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(USA Today) The secret to a long life isn't what you think

Prescription for a long life: Work hard. Don’t retire early.

The idea that your job or your boss is leading you to an early grave is one of several myths debunked in an analysis of a 90-year study that followed 1,528 Americans. Among other myths: be optimistic, get married, go to church, eat broccoli and get a gym membership.

Researchers Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin report their conclusions in a new book, The Longevity Project. “Everybody has the ideas ”” don’t stress, don’t worry, don’t work so hard, retire and go play golf,” says Friedman, a psychology professor at University of California-Riverside. “We did not find these patterns to exist in people who thrived.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Psychology, Religion & Culture

An ABC News Nightline Interview with Robin Williams

Caught this on the morning run today–very enjoyable. Watch it all.

You can also read an article about the interview here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Movies & Television

(NY Times) N.F.L. Players Shaken by Dave Duerson’s Suicide Message

Football’s ramifications so concerned the former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson that, after deciding to kill himself last Thursday, he shot himself in the chest, apparently so that his brain could remain intact for similar examination.

This intent, strongly implied by text messages Duerson sent to family members soon before his death, has injected a new degree of fear in the minds of many football players and their families, according to interviews with them Sunday. To this point, the roughly 20 N.F.L. veterans found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy ”” several of whom committed suicide ”” died unaware of the disease clawing at their brains, how the protein deposits and damaged neurons contributed to their condition.

Duerson, 50, was the first player to die after implying that brain trauma experienced on the football field would be partly responsible for his death.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Psychology, Sports, Suicide

(WSJ) Retiring Baby Boomers Find 401(k) Plans Fall Short

The 401(k) generation is beginning to retire, and it isn’t a pretty sight.

The retirement savings plans that many baby boomers thought would see them through old age are falling short in many cases.

The median household headed by a person aged 60 to 62 with a 401(k) account has less than one-quarter of what is needed in that account to maintain its standard of living in retirement, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve and analyzed by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College for The Wall Street Journal. Even counting Social Security and any pensions or other savings, most 401(k) participants appear to have insufficient savings. Data from other sources also show big gaps between savings and what people need, and the financial crisis has made things worse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Middle Age, Pensions, Personal Finance, Social Security, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

The full text of the Time Magazine article on some Seminarians is now Available

(Please note that the article, enttiled “Holy Enrollers,” was originally discussed here on February 2, 2001–KSH).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Middle Age, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

GetReligion–On seminaries: Time ignores the obvious

Now, the key is that this is not a story about a trend in the Episcopal Church or even the world of oldline Protestantism. The heart of the story is a set of new statistics out from Association of Theological Schools, which, as Time tells us, includes more than 250 graduate schools in North America. The whole point is that gray-haired baby boomers are now the fastest growing niche in theological education….

Also, it would help to know the overall numbers and demographics at General Theological Seminary ”” a school which reported 202 students (134 full-time equivalents) in the same time frame as the Time report. Meanwhile, there were 108 students (62 FTE) up at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass.

As a point of comparison, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth had 3,042 students (2,068 FTE) that year and, on the various campuses of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there were 2,134 students (1,492 FTE)

I was going to post this when Time made the etext available, since I first saw it in my paper subscription, but alas, it never occurred. In any event, read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Middle Age, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Baby Boomers Hit New Self-Absorption Milestone: Age 65

In keeping with a generation’s fascination with itself, the time has come to note the passing of another milestone: On New Year’s Day, the oldest members of the Baby Boom Generation will turn 65, the age once linked to retirement, early bird specials and gray Velcro shoes that go with everything.

Though other generations, from the Greatest to the Millennial, may mutter that it’s time to get over yourselves, this birthday actually matters. According to the Pew Research Center, for the next 19 years, about 10,000 people “will cross that threshold” every day ”” and many of them, whether through exercise or Botox, have no intention of ceding to others what they consider rightfully theirs: youth.

This means that the 79 million baby boomers, about 26 percent of this country’s population, will be redefining what it means to be older, and placing greater demands on the social safety net. They are living longer, working longer and, researchers say, nursing some disappointment about how their lives have turned out. The self-aware, or self-absorbed, feel less self-fulfilled, and thus are racked with self-pity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Middle Age, Psychology

The Economist Leader: Why, beyond middle age, people get happier as they get older

Ask people how they feel about getting older, and they will probably reply in the same vein as Maurice Chevalier: “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” Stiffening joints, weakening muscles, fading eyesight and the clouding of memory, coupled with the modern world’s careless contempt for the old, seem a fearful prospect””better than death, perhaps, but not much. Yet mankind is wrong to dread ageing. Life is not a long slow decline from sunlit uplands towards the valley of death. It is, rather, a U-bend.

When people start out on adult life, they are, on average, pretty cheerful. Things go downhill from youth to middle age until they reach a nadir commonly known as the mid-life crisis. So far, so familiar. The surprising part happens after that. Although as people move towards old age they lose things they treasure””vitality, mental sharpness and looks””they also gain what people spend their lives pursuing: happiness.

This curious finding has emerged from a new branch of economics that seeks a more satisfactory measure than money of human well-being.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Middle Age, Psychology

(USA Today) Boomer divide: Generation gap spans 19 years

“Someone coming of age in 1950 lives through JFK, the soaring rhetoric of Martin Luther King, the Mickey Mouse Club and Leave It to Beaver,” says Steven Gillon, resident historian of the History Channel and author of Boomer Nation. “After 1960, their memories are Watergate and oil embargo.”

Yet, they have been lumped into one demographic behemoth (77 million) that has guided marketing decisions, transformed history and politics and reshaped entertainment sensibilities for more than six decades.

As the nation marks the 65th birthday of the first Boomers beginning next month, the millions born at the tail end of the generation are feeling a disconnect.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Middle Age, Psychology

CBS' 60 Minutes–99 Weeks: When Unemployment Benefits Run Out

Like the Francones, four and a half million Americans have taken hardship withdrawals from their 401(k)s. With savings gone, unemployment checks exhausted, many are coming to charities including the CALL Primrose Center, a pantry of free food.

Mary Watts has run CALL Primrose for 11 years.

“Before the Great Recession began, you were sending out how many bags of groceries in a year? Pelley asked.

“When I started in ’99 it was 4,000 bags a year,” she replied. “It’s going to be 32, to 35,000 bags this year.”

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Men, Middle Age, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Women

(NY Times) Grown-Up, but Still Irresponsible

They have sex with friends, acquaintances and people they’re casually dating. Many have never been tested for H.I.V. or any other sexually transmitted disease, but they rarely use condoms. Who are they?

The irresponsible scoundrels are not teenagers but 50-something singles, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, one of the most comprehensive national sex studies in almost 20 years, carried out at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University.

It turns out that “friends with benefits” ”” a sexual partner who is “just a friend,” and neither a soulmate nor a romantic interest ”” isn’t just for teenagers and college students anymore, and maybe it never was. Young adults may have given the practice a new name, but it probably started during the ’60s sexual revolution, when the middle-aged Americans of today were young themselves.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Men, Middle Age, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again

Patricia Reid is not in her 70s, an age when many Americans continue to work. She is not even in her 60s. She is just 57.

But four years after losing her job she cannot, in her darkest moments, escape a nagging thought: she may never work again.

College educated, with a degree in business administration, she is experienced, having worked for two decades as an internal auditor and analyst at Boeing before losing that job.

But that does not seem to matter, not for her and not for a growing number of people in their 50s and 60s who desperately want or need to work to pay for retirement and who are starting to worry that they may be discarded from the work force ”” forever.

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--

WSJ–Another Threat to the Economy: Baby Boomers Cutting Back

America’s baby boomers””those born between 1946 and 1964””face a problem that could weigh on the economy for years to come: The longer it takes for the economy to recover, the less money they’ll have to spend in retirement.

Policy makers have long worried that Americans aren’t saving enough for old age. And lately, current and prospective retirees have been hit on many fronts at once: They have less money, they earn less on what they have, their houses aren’t rising in value and the prospect of working longer to make up the shortfall has dimmed significantly in a lousy job market.

“We will have to learn to make do with a lot less in material things,” says Gary Snodgrass, a 63-year-old health-care consultant in Placerville, Calif. The financial crisis, he says, slashed his retirement savings 40% and the value of his house by about half.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Middle Age, Pensions, Personal Finance, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

For Baby Boomers, retirement jobs can be a tough fit

Baby Boomers approaching retirement age are in for a rude awakening.

Many want to keep working, knowing that they likely will live well into their 80s and 90s, stay healthier than previous generations and need more cash to keep paying the bills.

However, for Boomers ”” those 79 million Americans born from 1946 through 1964 ”” “the new retirement reality may be a messy proposition,” says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Jobs are scarce and many employers aren’t willing to hire older workers. Boomers who do land jobs often must settle for ones that are less fulfilling than desired.

Read it all.

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

Joyce King–Midlife suicides: a societal blind spot

Just days before I was to celebrate another middle-age birthday, I heard on the news that the mayor of an affluent suburb here had killed her 19-year-old daughter before turning the gun on herself. Authorities believe 55-year-old Jayne Peters ”” mayor of Coppell, Texas”” might have planned the murder-suicide based on notes found at her home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers are taking a long look at numbers showing that middle-age adults (45-54) ”” like Peters ”” have the highest suicide rate in the nation for the second year in a row.

Why? In general, researchers see a broad range of factors…..

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Psychology, Suicide

Rise in Suicides of Middle-Aged Is Continuing

For the second year in a row, middle-aged adults have registered the highest suicide rate in the country, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Historically, the eldest segment of the population, those 80 and older, have had the highest rates of suicide in the United States. Starting in 2006, however, the suicide rate among men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 was the highest of any age group.

The most recent figures released, from 2007, reveal that the 45-to-54 age group had a suicide rate of 17.6 per every 100,000 people. The second highest was the 75-to-84 age range, with a rate of 16.4, followed by those between 35 and 44, with a 16.3 percent rate.

The rate for 45- to 54-year-olds in 2006 was 17.2 percent, and in 2005 it was 16.3 percent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Middle Age, Psychology

Market Meltdown Amplifies Baby Boomer Worries

“We won’t be rebuilding wealth so quickly,” says Christian Weller of the American Progress and the University of Massachusetts, who specializes in retirement income security.

Weller says the decline in wealth is the greatest on record.

Housing prices are expected to bottom out until mid year at the earliest. Thus far, the median price of a home is down more than 20 percent from $219,000 at the market peak in 2007 to $170,000 in January.

Stock prices, however, have fallen twice as much, some 50 percent, from their October 2007 peak.

And while a greater percentage of Americans are homeowners than investors and thus the average household’s wealth is more defined by real estate than investments, the investment outlook is still a major force.

“There are more people involved in the equity market and have wealth tied up in it than the 1980s and 1990s,” says Christopher Rupley of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Middle Age, Personal Finance, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

David Yount: Singles facing recession alone

Just as we hunker down to survive the worldwide economic collapse, we are confronted daily with news of fellow Americans who already have lost their homes, jobs and life savings.

In one important respect, Americans today are at a greater disadvantage than those who faced the Great Depression some 70 years ago. In 1930, the vast majority of the nation’s households consisted of families led by married couples. Today, many more households consist of adult Americans who face life alone.

They include solitary men and women, single parents, the divorced, widowed and unwed partners.

An important reminder, especially for those in parish ministry in the holiday season. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

Starting Over, With a Second Career Goal of Changing Society

Harvard kicked off a small but ambitious experiment this week that it hopes will become a new “third stage” of university education. For the student-fellows in the program, most in their 50s and early 60s, the goal is a second-act career in a new stage of life.

The 14 fellows have résumés brimming with achievement ”” including a former astronaut, a former senior official at the United States Agency for International Development, a physician-entrepreneur from Texas, a former public utility official from California, a former health minister from Venezuela and a former computer executive from Switzerland.

They gathered at Harvard on Thursday to begin the yearlong program intended to help them learn how to be successful social entrepreneurs or leaders of nonprofit organizations focused on social problems like poverty, health, education and the environment. Their interests include sickle cell anemia, women’s education in Africa, health care quality and water conservation.

The opportunity, the fellows say, is to pick up new knowledge, skills and professional relationships in a new realm. To Charles F. Bolden Jr., one of the fellows, it has the potential to be as life-changing as his selection to join America’s space program nearly three decades ago. “The Harvard program feels sort of like that,” said Mr. Bolden, 62, a retired major general in the United States Marine Corps and a veteran of four space shuttle missions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Education, Middle Age