Clinical manual of geriatric psychiatry by James E Spar; Asenath La Rue

By James E Spar; Asenath La Rue

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Good health, a strong psychological commitment to work, and an active distaste for retirement are among the strongest predictors of continuing to work past traditional retirement ages. Employment trends for women have moved in the opposite direction. Labor force participation rates have increased for older women since the early 1960s, as new cohorts with a history of working outside the home have begun to age. In 2003, 64% of women ages 55–61 years, and 23% of those ages 65–69, were employed. Although people who retire report that they miss the money and opportunities for social contact provided by their everyday work, most take retirement in stride, adopting new routines and activities to take the place of their work.

Those individuals who suspect that their fate depends on chance may adjust best if the care environment is consistent and predictable. Other aspects of personality need to be considered as well. The increased vulnerabilities that accompany old age may amplify neurotic traits, increasing susceptible individuals’ worries about health and making it more difficult to provide reassurance based on objective results. , by participating in health-oriented support groups). Normal Aging 43 Increasing salience of emotional matters can influence assessment, especially of cognitive skills.

Because of Social Security and other pension programs, a majority of older people in the United States are financially independent. Persons with medium income now constitute the largest group of older Americans (35%), and 26% have been rated as having high income (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics 2004). In 2003, Social Security provided 39% of the total income for Americans age 65 and older, with an additional 25% provided by personal earnings, 19% by pensions, and 14% by asset income.

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