Only 15 percent of Americans age 45 or older looked for a job in the past year because of employment uncertainty, according to our AARP Bulletin poll published in September. It has been six years since the start of the Great Recession, but people are still uneasy about their current jobs. Confidence about job stability has improved since 2009, but fewer than half of those polled feel that their jobs are stable (49 percent now versus 39 percent in 2009). The poll included 1,019 people 45 and older.
Who do you think is lonelier - adults in their mid to late 40s or adults age 70 and older? One might surmise that the older folks have experienced more loss of loved ones, diminished physical or mental abilities and/or are less active, which could lead to increased loneliness. Counter to what many people think, folks ages 45-49 are lonelier than those 70 years and older according to our research (43% vs. 25%, respectively). In fact, older people are happier than younger folks. In our recent happiness research, people experienced their lowest levels of happiness in their early 50s, and their happiness steadily increased with age.
September 11 was AARP's annual Day of Service where all employees can volunteer their time and talents to a charity of their choice. Along with 10 other AARP employees, I volunteered at Martha's Table, a 33-year-old Washington, DC charity that, among other projects, feeds 1,100 people daily, many of them homeless. They also run a preschool and after school program for children from low income families. As the Food Prep Volunteers, we chopped our way through what seemed like bottomless bins of tomatoes, peppers, onions, okra, and squash for about three hours. A couple of us (i.e., me) were even lucky enough to wash the dishes from the chicken stew that was the day's meal.
Every time I have to log into one of my online accounts and have no clue what the password is, I wonder if I am finally "losing it." I know I am not alone with this fear, as survey after survey we conduct among our members reveals their interest in brain fitness. In our most recent Member Opinion Survey, staying mentally sharp was one of members' top concerns. However, apparently this questioning is not unique to my boomer age group. My 20-year-old niece told me the other night that math just "seeped" out of her brain and she doesn't understand why (she is studying for her GREs in preparation for applying to a Master's program).
With Mother's Day around the corner, let me add my praise for mothers. I applaud the efforts every mother makes to try to ensure their children live a well-balanced life. I also applaud aunts and grandmothers too, as more and more it takes a village to raise Millennials!
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