weekly blog--one for the ages
A moment in history...On this date last year the health commission in the Chinese city of Wuhan announced that experts were investigating an outbreak of respiratory illness and that most of the victims had visited a seafood market in the city. The statement said 27 people had become ill with a strain of viral pneumonia and that seven were in serious conditions.
As the U.S. nears the end of its four-year nightmare, the year 2021 offers the promise of a new president, CoVid relief, and a return to normalcy. Season’s Greetings from ConfrontingAging, and thank you for continuing to read our website and blog posts.
The 50-plus age groups represent an $8.3 trillion market opportunity in the U.S. and $22 trillion globally.
8 questions to ask in retirement planning:
-- Where do I want to live?
-- How do I want to live?
-- How will I spend my weekdays, my weekends?
-- Would I like to give back?
-- Will I travel and what type?
-- Will I have adventure?
-- Will I be healthy and physically strong?
-- Who do I want to spend time with, conversely, who not?
9 food rules from the world’s longest living people:
-- Ensure your diet is 80% to 90% plant based. Centenarians eat an impressive variety of garden vegetables and leafy greens (especially spinach, kale, beet and turnip tops, chard, and collards) when they are in season.
-- On average, eat about two ounces or less of meat about five times per month (usually as a celebratory food, a small side, or as a way to flavor dishes).
-- Go easy on the fish. Centenarians ate small amounts of fish, fewer than three ounces up to three times weekly.
-- Eat beans. Centenarians typically ate at least four times as many beans as the average American-- at least a half cup per day.
-- Consume less sugar. Centenarians consume about the same amount of naturally occurring sugars as North Americans do, but only about a fifth as much added sugar — no more than seven teaspoons a day.
-- Eat two handfuls of nuts per day.
-- Reduce bread consumption. If you can, strive to eat only sourdough or 100% whole wheat bread.
-- Avoid soft drinks, including diet soda. With very few exceptions, centenarians drink only coffee, tea, water, and wine.
Looking for the Next Big Thing? It May Be Catering to Our Rapidly Aging Population. | Barron's
It’s Time to Change How We Talk about ‘Retirement,’ Starting with the Word Itself | Kiplinger
'Ensure a 90% to 100% plant-based diet': Food rules from people who live to 100 (cnbc.com)
Former Zappos chief executive Tony Hsieh, who died from complications of smoke inhalation from a house fire over the Thanksgiving holiday, didn’t have a will. He was 46 and reportedly worth almost $1 billion. The musical legend Prince didn’t have one. Aretha Franklin had three handwritten wills, which resulted in an ugly battle between her heirs. A 2016 Gallup poll found that more than 30 percent of people 65 and older didn't have one, nor did more than 40 percent of people ages 50 through 64.
The main reasons people stall, according to Caring.com? They say either that they just haven't gotten around to it or they don't have enough assets to leave to anyone. Whether you are wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between, maybe now is the time to make that New Year’s resolution to do so. Alas, without instructions on how you want to distribute your assets, you may leave a legacy of chaos. In the worst cases, relationships are forever fractured, because you didn’t take the time to prepare for your death.
And while you’re at it, create a "Death Book" for the person who you designate to handle your affairs. A Death Book should include the following:
-- Detailed instructions on who gets what.
-- Advance health-care directives such as a living will which details the type of medical treatment you want at the end of your life and your health-care power of attorney who can make medical decisions on your behalf.
-- Ownership information, including the mortgage servicer, titles to vehicles and other properties, retirement account/pension information, life insurance policy information.
-- Instructions for the kind of funeral arrangements you want.
-- A bio or resume to help write your obituary.
-- Military related information including discharge papers.
Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh didn’t have a will. Here’s why you need one. - The Washington Post
How to Stop Stalling and Write Your Will and Estate Plan (aarp.org)
It is rather shameful the way the president and his cadre of Republican supporters are putting our hard-earned democracy in peril by continuing to push baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, and how they have reacted to the worsening pandemic. So, what is it that makes Americans American? Here is a take from a prominent political scientist.
According to the scientist, a lot of the things people think of as being uniquely American are appropriately called aspirational: the idea of individualism, equality of opportunity, self-governance and engaged citizenship.
Most Americans want certain values to be prevalent in their lives and they want the government to support them. Some of these key values are freedom, equality, and order. However, those do not always go together. And when they conflict, and politics can be thought of as a conflict between these values, the government must pick one.
In any society, there is always going to be some degree of autonomy that people must give up for society to function. What type of autonomy are you willing to give up? When are you willing to give it up? And any time it is something new that we are not already used to, there will be resistance to it. There is also a deep distrust among Americans towards government, and they often do not believe that government will execute programs efficiently or use its resources responsibly.
Compared with other countries, Americans also have the complexity of federalism where we value devolving power to the states in some areas, but not others. And people like to celebrate their state identities. Part of our national character is the immense variation across the states, and all that feeds into our response to the pandemic and the recent presidential election.
CoVid Update…Two recent studies on health care workers at nursing homes tell us something profound about the pandemic in the US, according to an article in the Boston Sunday Globe.
One suggests that one of the most important factors in keeping patients alive was whether staff were unionized. The mortality rate was 30 percent lower in unionized nursing homes than those without worker unions because unions generally demand high staff-to-patient ratios, paid sick leave, and higher wage and benefits levels that reduce staff turnover. The second shows that patients at nursing homes where staff had to work at multiple locations were more likely to die, because staff carried the infection from one facility to the next.
American individualism and our collective crisis (knowablemagazine.org)
Germany has lessons about containing the damage of COVID-19. It’s not too late for us to start listening - The Boston Globe