Retirees fear running out of money and getting dementia

Posted on March 10, 2011 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

Ted Fishman, author of "Shock of Gray," recently spoke at a SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence) event in support of the Institute for the Ages.  He discussed his research findings, which are included in his book, and to me, he made three noteworthy observations.

1. Contrast in how various ages are perceived across America -  Specifically, he observed that in Rockford IL, the age of 50 is viewed as being old.  In contrast, he said in Sarasota, FL, the age of 60 is considered young. This subtlety is profound when one considers the mindset permeating from these perspectives. In Sarasota, 60 is “young” and therefore, as young people, 60-year-olds are “expected” to be active, vibrant, engaged and healthy. The result – they are!

2.The greatest fear among people moving into their retirement years is the fear of outliving their money -  As we live longer, and as the economy continues to waiver, this is a legitimate concern.  Most of our retirement, healthcare and financial systems were established on a life span expectancy a lot shorter than it is now. So the good news is we are living longer. The bad news is, this could be expensive (vis-à-vis our asset base as we get older).

3. Surveys show that the fear of dementia and losing cognitive ability is listed by over 60 percent of respondents as a major worry about getting older -  And why shouldn’t it be?  Fishman cites statistics that show for each year over the age of 65, the chance of getting Alzheimer’s Disease doubles. People over age 85 have a 50 percent of having Alzheimer’s. This is frightening – especially because there is no cure for dementia, and outside of making sure the cause isn’t drug interaction induced, there is little that can be done.

It is this third point that The Patterson Foundation is trying to address through the Debilitating Diseases: Dementia initiative. Through our research and experiences, we have determined we can make the most impact by helping put patients and caregivers in control of dementia instead of dementia being in control of them.

What does this mean? Today it means giving these people access to the appropriate information at the appropriate time in the appropriate setting. We will be working on developing and implementing our model throughout 2011

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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