Saturday, October 21, 2006

Today's message to boomers....

Dr. Bill Thomas believes "boomers" will rely on communities as they age, so they better start building them.

Thomas, a geriatrician (an ungainly word, but think pediatrician, except for old folks), is interviewed in today's Oregonian (Page C1 "Embrace elderhood, doctor tells boomers").

The part about communities comes near the end of the interview. Thomas says that because family members are scattered all over the map, boomers need to build new "families" that are not blood related. Such "families" consist of those "with whom you have close and deep and enduring and meaningful relationships," he says.

And those relationships emerge out of community-building. Thomas continues: "We tend to think of community as just something that's either there or not there. We move into and join it, or not. But we, the boomers, have to learn how to make it. Community is going to be essential to our well-being, our health and our life satisfaction."

Thomas' observations also mirror findings showing that people who are involved with others live healthier lives as they age.

Robert Putnam, in his book "Bowling Alone" says studies conclude that, as he puts it, "social networks help you stay healthy."
Putnam also notes that states with "high social capital" have lower mortality and better public health. (Oregon is ranked among the top 12 states in "social capital")

Writes Putnam: "Countless studies document the link between society and psyche: people who have close friends and confidants, friendly neighbors, and supportive co-workers are less likely to experience sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, and problems with eating and sleeping"

Campers, it would seem, are, by nature, "happy"—because they are together.


Anonymous Robert Hamilton said...

The Monday, October 23, 2006 copy of The Wall Street Journal features a relevant article by Lucette Lagnado: "Seniors in Vermont Are Finding They Can Go Home Again: In Shift From Nursing Homes, State Has Family Members Care for Elderly Relatives; Helping Gram at $9.25 an Hour." This is a Medicaid program, administered by Vermont, which reduces assisted-living costs from $122/day to $80/day and is paid to the family. The Feds have offered the states $1.75 billion to "find alternatives to institutional care." The program is opposed by the nursing home industry.

Keep up the good work, Rick, in developing new ways to make Hillsdale a more liveable community.

1:31 PM  

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