Aging Across the United States

Aging Across the United States: Matching Needs to States' Differing Opportunities and Services

CHARLES LOCKHART
JEAN GILES-SIMS
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/j.ctt7v2vv
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Aging Across the United States
    Book Description:

    Older Americans experience stages of aging with distinct priorities. For younger retirees, climate can be most important; for older retirees, quality of health care. Various states support these and other priorities to sharply different degrees. While many Americans know which states offer mild climates for outdoor recreation, they rarely know which states offer the best medical care to Medicare patients. This book tells them and suggests sequential moves to take advantage of states’ varying strengths.

    eISBN: 978-0-271-05529-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-17)

    Garrison Keillor’s amusing stories about the residents of an imaginary small northern Minnesota town who fantasize in February, not about sex, but about living in Florida remind us of one way in which where we live influences our well-being as we grow older. Indeed, once they retire, many Minnesotans spend their winters in Florida or other states with milder winter climates and a range of outdoor recreational opportunities. Some Minnesotans move entirely to these other states, at least during their early retirement years. But later in retirement they develop different needs, and among persons eighty-five or older, Minnesota actually has...

  7. 1 FINDING ACTIVE FUN AND COMPANIONSHIP IN A WARM CLIMATE
    (pp. 18-33)

    Contemporary Americans in their late fifties through their sixties, the “youngold,” express widely varying orientations toward retirement. In this chapter and the two that follow, we examine state support for three common but sharply distinct broad objectives for retirement: the attainment of fun, of meaning, and of safe affordability. This chapter addresses the first basic issue we presented in the Introduction: where can retirees best find a life of companionship and active recreation? Naturally, people long to live differently. Some Minnesotans actually enjoy ice fishing and would not winter in Florida or Arizona for any-thing in the world. Others prefer...

  8. 2 MAKING MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTIONS AND FINDING SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITIES
    (pp. 34-52)

    To remain healthy and happy, most older people continue to need meaning in their lives and social involvement that keeps them connected with others.¹ Elders who retire from their normal full-time employment often miss the structure, identity, companionship or community, and sense of shared purpose that employment can—but does not always—provide.² Some seek part-time employment or start their own businesses. And, as we discussed in the previous chapter, many retirees turn to social recreational activities outdoors in mild climates and make friends golfing, fishing, or hiking. But working for pay and leisure activities do not always provide the...

  9. 3 FINDING AFFORDABILITY AND SAFETY
    (pp. 53-71)

    Once people retire, their incomes usually decline, sometimes quite sharply, while their expenses remain much the same. With more free time, retirees face new temptations to spend money. And anyone with a long-term mortgage knows that taxes and insurance become the predominant elements of the pay-ment by the time the mortgage is paid off.¹ Clever retirees have long recognized the benefits of moving from one state to another to reduce their expenses.² In this chapter we focus on states that offer seniors affordable yet safe residential options.

    A century ago those relatively few Americans who lived until they were no...

  10. 4 SUSTAINING HEALTH AND OBTAINING HIGH-QUALITY MEDICAL CARE
    (pp. 72-91)

    Here we examine two central issues for many seniors: where to live the healthiest lives and find the best medical care. We cannot control our genetic endowment, but to maintain our health we can avoid smoking and adhere to a sensible program of diet and exercise. Following desirable habits across a lifetime into retirement greatly improves the chances of remaining healthy as a senior. Yet even people who have lapsed in such practices at earlier stages of life can generally expect some salutary results from living more wisely in retirement. Seniors also need high-quality professional medical care for existing maladies...

  11. 5 FINDING ACCESSIBLE AND HIGH–QUALITY LONG–TERM CARE
    (pp. 92-116)

    As we Americans live increasing longer lives, and larger numbers of us will confront disabling health problems, particularly in extremely old age. The “old-old” do suffer from acute illnesses and injuries that require immediate medical attention, but in this chapter we focus on chronic physiological (e.g., severe arthritis) or cognitive (e.g., various forms of dementia) circumstances. Characteristically, help with these health problems means either palliation, easing physical pain or mental anguish, or maintenance, keeping elevated blood pressure under control through periodic monitoring and medication across the long term. Physicians do not generally cure arthritis, dementia, or elevated blood pressure. These...

  12. 6 PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: EXPLAINING STATE VARIATION IN SENIOR FRIENDLINESS
    (pp. 117-139)

    Jerry and Arlene Senter are idling away their days in Iowa and dreaming enviously about Art and Karen Munro’s adventurous new experiences and friends in the scenic mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Arnie and Muriel Hestir feel trapped and live without clear positive purpose in their changing neighborhood near Atlanta, whereas Nancy Currier has carved out a meaningful and supportive life in Minneapolis. Carl and Jessica Sanford’s financial situation gradually deteriorates while they persist in an unaffordable lifestyle in New Jersey; by contrast, while Jim and Sonia Tate cannot match the Sanfords’ financial resources, their move from Connecticut to West...

  13. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 140-146)

    Imagine, for a few moments, the retirement party that Art and Karen Munro’s friends threw for them a few years ago. The party occurred in late September, before most of their “snowbird” friends took off for winter locales in southern states, and a couple of friends who had previously moved to southern locations attended while on trips north to enjoy early autumn in the Upper Midwest. An extensive group of friends and acquaintances surrounded Art and Karen, and they both really enjoyed the affair. They left the party with unusually warm feelings about their lives and friends in Iowa, feelings...

  14. Appendix: State Rankings
    (pp. 147-186)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 187-200)
  16. SELECTED READINGS
    (pp. 201-202)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 203-210)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-211)