What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S. For most of human history, requiring help in old age was uncommon. As Atul Gawande writes in Being Mortal, “The natural course was to die before old age.” Only 41 percent of people born in 1900 survived to age 65. In sharp contrast, an estimated 84 percent of people born in 2010 …

Making Social Security Work for Women

Social Security is gender neutral, meaning men and women earning the same amount in their careers should receive the same size benefit. In reality, a woman’s benefit on average is lower than a man’s — $1,103 vs. $1,417 in 2012 — because her work and personal experiences are rarely the same. Women tend to earn less — an average of 78 cents for every $1 a man makes. They are more likely to be in low-paying jobs without pensions and to …

Scents for Your Dollars

Sorry, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, but your name on a perfume bottle is not enough to entice a choosy sniffer like me. That’s because the fragrances we wear aren’t confined to our bodies: They live in our clothes, waft through our closets and linger in the imaginations of those we hold closest. For me, one whiff of Noir by Tom Ford says my husband is around, while a hint of Joy by Jean Patou announces my mom’s in …

New Campaign Highlights Holiday Joy, Stress for Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and AARP has teamed up with the Ad Council in a campaign that includes the results of a new caregiving poll as well as a series of powerful public service ads highlighting the changing roles of family caregivers. The ads also point caregivers to help from the AARP Caregiving Resource Center, which unveils two new tools this month: an opportunity to tell your own caregiving story and a searchable nationwide directory of senior-care providers …

Beauty Folktales

So I’m at a concert by legendary folksinger Suzanne Vega (right) at Purchase College last week and what’s going through my head? Is it those earworm first lyrics from her “Tom’s Diner”? (You remember: “I am sitting / In the morning / At the diner / On the corner …”) Nope; it’s the notion that sometimes I sound exactly like my mother. Sporting a black blazer and skinny jeans, Vega (now 55) looked, sounded and moved like her 25-year-old self. …

Plastic Surgery? Says Who?!

On my favorite show, The Good Wife, Judge Patrice Lessner — played by Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer — tends to rule against any attorney who fails to add “in my opinion” after making a point in her courtroom. It’s a handy phrase to keep in mind for anyone tempted to judge a celebrity for work she may or may not have had done on her face. In the wake of last week’s brouhaha over Renee Zellweger’s new look, …