From OurValues creator Dr. Wayne Baker—All of us are affected by the aging of America. Please use this OurValues series along with the ReadTheSpirit cover story about advocate-for-the-elderly Missy Buchanan to share with your friends, a class or a small group.
Let’s end our week with a trend that you’ll probably agree represents “good news.”
Right now, American women have a tougher time in old age because men tend to die at a younger age, overall. The U.S. Census reports that, for the year 2014, widows made up 35 percent of the population of women 65 and older. Men are much more likely than women to go through their senior years still married to their partners—mainly because of male mortality. In blunt terms: They tend to die first.
Here’s the good news: That’s changing. Men are living longer. And older Americans who are married, which describes the vast majority of seniors, can expect to spend more years living together.
One way the Census shows that trend is in the chart, above, which projects that women will be an ever-smaller portion of the population in their 60s, 70s and beyond. That shift happens because—good news—the trend is that men will live longer than they do now.
POPULAR COLUMNS from OurValues: You might question whether this Census report is, indeed, good news. But an earlier OurValues column pointed out that Americans, by a wide margin, welcome having our older men and women stick around with us. One myth about elderly men and women is that they are stuck in their ways and rigid in their beliefs—and represent a major barrier to social and cultural change. However, in an earlier OurValues series, we looked at data showing just the opposite!
Start a conversation with friends …
OurValues is designed to encourage civil dialogue on challenging subjects—and, this week, we hope readers will share this series with friends. You’re free to print out, repost or share these five columns on aging to get folks talking. Leave a comment below. Email someone. Come on, start talking …