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Boomers Face Reality

Patricia Sullivan

As boomers age, obits and end-of-life issues grow more prominent (in their minds, at least). Reading the April 7 issue of the New Yorker (Oh, admit it, you don't read it all the moment it arrives, either), I came across an entertaining Michael Kinsley piece on what he's learned in the 15 years since he was diagnosed with Parkinson's.

It's not a me-me-me article though; it's chockful of interesting tidbits like:

And then, at some point, death becomes a normal part of life--a faint dirge in the background that gradually gets louder. What is that point? One crude measure would be when you can expect, on average, one person of roughly your age in your family or social circle to die every year....Anyway, the answer is sixty-three. If a hundred Americans start the voyage of life together, on average one of them will have died by the time the group turns sixteen. At forty, their lives are half over: further life expectancy at age forty is 39.9. And at age sixty-three the group starts losing an average of one person every year. Then it accelerates.

By Patricia Sullivan |  April 21, 2008; 6:00 AM ET  | Category:  Aging , Patricia Sullivan
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