Sunday, March 23, 2008

Commentary: Dr. Robert N. Butler, the Longevity Revolution, and Work

Bob Moos, a staff writer for The Dallas Morning News covering aging issues, follows the conclusions of Dr. Richard N. Butler, on the publication of his latest book: The Longevity Revolution: The Benefits and Challenges of Living a Long Life. Butler, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Why Survive?: Being Old in America, which "first raised the topic of growing old in a country preoccupied with youth," is again trying to engage the country in another discussion about old age by focusing on the challenges posed by the gain in life expectancy.

As Moos writes, "[w]e haven't figured out how to accommodate older people's desire to work or volunteer so that the additional years become productive for them and rewarding for society. Retirement can't mean idleness if it's to last a third of someone's adult life." Among other things, we need to get rid of stereotypes about aging: advocacy groups "trying to create more opportunities for older workers continue to run into employers who view them as rigid, unwilling to learn new skills or likely to quit their jobs after a short while."

Butler suggests that the political agenda of baby boomers should include creating opportunities for those who want, or need, to continue working past the traditional retirement age:
The marketplace itself will solve part of the problem, as a projected labor shortage in certain industries will make employers more willing to hold onto their older employees. But Dr. Butler suggests nudging other employers, by offering financial incentives or eliminating current barriers to hiring older adults.

He proposes, for example, allowing people to qualify for Medicare at 55, instead of 65, and making it the primary payer of their health care. Older workers would then become less expensive and more attractive to businesses.
Source: Dallas Morning News "Bob Moos: The Longevity Revolution" (March 23, 2008)

Read an excerpt: Richard N. Butler Excerpt from Chapter 13

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dear Mr. Silberman:

Thank you for mentioning the Dallas News article. Perhaps your readers would also be interested in reading an excerpt from Dr. Butler's new book: "Live Longer, Work Longer: Productive Engagement".

Best regards,

Anti-Ageism Task Force
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