Thursday, February 8, 2007

Big trouble

All my life, I've been an information junky. Before the Internet bloomed, I was subscribing to four daily newspapers. Now, I dink around daily to feed my need for nuggets.

This morning, I found some incredible reports on a Minneapolis TV station (I'm in Texas but spend time up there). Forgive my clunky approach in directing you there, I haven't yet learned how to link. Anyhow, search for kare11.com with your browser.

They've run a couple of amazing stories about the retirement wave which is about to wash over Minneapolis -- and the entire United States.

Forget real estate as a big time investment. Sure, there will always be hot spots in the market but most Americans will soon see their real estate holdings grow only around two percent. In the next ten years, there will be more retired people in Minneapolis than school children. That, coupled with slower rise in home values, spells trouble for funding the public school system up there.

Society is aging. The world is aging. And fast. For the first time in history, there will not be more people coming along behind us than in front. The retirement wave is going to be world-wide.

Makes me wonder whether the U. S. social infrastructure is ready. Probably not.

Are the medical schools training more doctors and nurses in geriatrics? Not enough.

Are the automobile manufacturers designing cars that are geezer-friendly? We need higher seats to facilitate entry/exit via aging hips. We need higher storage platforms for ease of getting grocery bags out of the car. And could somebody come up with something to corral those damned plastic bags that spill the oranges every time! And headlights. Would it be too much to ask for brighter lights to help with failing night vision?

The drug companies are going to become even richer. After all, we buy more prescriptions in the first five years -- and the last five years of life. Are any of the major drug manufacturers taking an active role in making sure we have enough doctors?

And what about AARP? That organization has the money, the muscle and the manpower to lean hard on all segements of society to get us ready for the retirement tsunami.

Thirty-five million AARP members. Heave!

George Phenix

4 comments:

Denise said...

There's an old saying -- always follow the money. When Claritin first came out, I think the prescription ran over $100. Now, it's an over-the-counter drug at 90 percent less than that original cost. As a person now eligible for the AARP, sigh, I have to give them credit for knowing that the real power lies in the power of numbers and in members that vote. There's glimmers of hope -- my 21-year-old college boy camem all the way home to vote in the last election. The reason -- he liked Kinky Friedman. At least he's voting! -- Denise

Anonymous said...

Read the damned magazine that AARP puts out. For at least the 17 years I have been a member, AARP has warned not only senior citizens but federal officials, and more recently state officials, about the social-policy implications of the Baby Boomers' retirement. Oh, that assumes your eyes are still good enough to read. If not, maybe you can find an old girlfriend who will read for you.

George Phenix said...

My question is -- has AARP done anything substantive? Or are they just all talk? And all about making money?

With nearly 40 million members, surely AARP has the muscle to make things happen. Why not?

Denise said...

Your question caused me to wonder about AARP -- here's a pretty good op/ed piece from the Washington Post (please forgive my inability to figure out how to make this shorter): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/15/AR2005111501308.html

For something shorter, Google "Robert J. Samuelson Washington Post AARP" and it should come right up.

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