Retirement and Aging in America, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Retirement and Aging

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Full Chapter Outline:
American Attitudes Toward the Elderly

Planning for Getting Older

Financing Retirement

How Social Security Works

How Medicare Works

Staying Healthy

Where to Retire

Personal Safety

New Careers and Education

Advantages for Senior Citizens

Politics and the Community

Introduction
Growing Numbers of Elderly. Old age in America, as elsewhere, is inevitable unless you die young. There is no middle ground. The elderly (often called “senior citizens”) have only their longevity in common, otherwise they come from every ethnic and economic background. That said, they do act together to form a strong political force, which is often backed by considerable economic power.

As the “baby boomer” generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) reaches the so-called “golden years,” the ranks of the elderly will swell as never before. One of the characteristics of the baby boomers is a focus on their own, often privileged, youth and the belief that it will be eternal. Although Mother Nature, and the human body and brain, might not cooperate with this view, the baby boomer attitude will act as a potent societal force for many years to come.

While the golden years for many people may be not quite as golden as they imagined, today in the United States, many older people have significant privileges and advantages, if they know where to look, and if they plan their lifestyles in a sensible way. The sections that follow cover some of these advantages, as well as some of the major challenges facing elderly Americans today.


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