Baby Boomers Are Aging Alone More Than Any Generation In U.S. History, And It’s Creating A Looming Public Health Crisis
Researchers have found that loneliness takes a physical toll, and is as closely linked to early mortality as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day or consuming more than six alcoholic drinks a day. Loneliness is even worse for longevity than being obese or physically inactive. In other aging news: exercise, strengthening your brain, and poverty.
The Wall Street Journal:
The Loneliest Generation: Americans, More Than Ever, Are Aging Alone
Danny Miner, a 66-year-old retired chemical plant supervisor, spends most days alone in his Tooele, Utah, apartment, with “Gunsmoke” reruns to keep him company and a phone that rarely rings. Old age wasn’t supposed to feel this lonely. Mr. Miner married five times, each bride bringing the promise of lifelong companionship. Three unions ended in divorce. Two wives died. Now his legs ache and his balance is faulty, and he’s stopped going to church or meeting friends at the Marine Corps League, a group for former Marines. “I get a little depressed from time to time,” he says. Baby boomers are aging alone more than any generation in U.S. history, and the resulting loneliness is a looming public health threat. (Adamy and Overberg, 12/11)
The New York Times:
Is Aerobic Exercise The Key To Successful Aging?
Aerobic activities like jogging and interval training can make our cells biologically younger, according to a noteworthy new experiment. Weight training may not have the same effect, the study found, raising interesting questions about how various types of exercise affect us at a microscopic level and whether the differences should perhaps influence how we choose to move. There is mounting and rousing evidence that being physically active affects how we age, with older people who exercise typically being healthier, more fit, better muscled and less likely to develop a variety of diseases and disabilities than their sedentary peers. (Reynolds, 12/12)
Los Angeles Times:
Your Aging Brain: Is It ‘Use It Or Lose It’?
Yes, your brain is like a muscle: If you don’t strengthen and stretch its capacities, it will not deliver high performance. But your brain is not like one of those forgiving muscles that lets you engage in a lifetime of indolence and then perks up willingly when you take up weight-training upon retirement. No, your brain is more like one of those muscles that will reward you for having worked it across the full length of your lifespan. (Healy, 12/11)
Poverty Among Older Philadelphians On The Rise
About 23 percent of city residents aged 60 and above lived in poverty in 2017, three percentage points above 2013 numbers, according to new data from the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of older residents. The figure is just below the city’s overall poverty rate of 26 percent, the highest among the 10 most-populous U.S. cities. (Lubrano, 12/12)