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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 56, Number 12 (April 15, 1955)

Friedmann, Eugene
The road ahead,   pp. 22-23


Page 23


By Dr. Eugene Friedmann                                    I
The author is a 32-year-old     assistant professor of
sociology who has specialized in gerontology-the stud)
of the aged. He received three degrees from the Univer-    =
sity of Chicago and now is at the Wausau Univer-
sity Extension Center. He lives in Wausau. is married.
and has two small children. In this series, he has had
the cooperation of other University staff specialists in
ratio will be one to eight. The 1950
census revealed the number of persons
65 and over had increased to over 12
million; and it is predicted that by 1975
there will be 21 million in this age
grouF. As a matter of fact, the people
65 years and over have been the most
rapidly increasing age group in our pop-
ulation.
  It is natural, then, that many ques-
tions are being raised every day by mil-
lions of Americans who have either just
retired, or are getting ready to retire. For
retirement is both a new period of life
which is being added to the years of
most American workers, and a new way
of life as well. As a new way of life it
is as different from the work years as the
work years were from years of schoolin.'g
and adolescence which came before it.
It has a new set of problems and satis-
factions all of its own.
   Retirement planning   is really not
 much different from other types of plan-
 ning we have done throughout our life.
 We wouldn't think of starting a busi-
 ness venture without making prepara-
 tions for it, or of getting married, or
 of buying a new car. It is little wonder
 that thoughtful men and women today
 are making carefully laid plans for their
 retirement years, and that these plans do
 not stop with just financial preparations,
 but include the mental, physical, social
 and spiritual aspects of retirement as
 well.
   This series of articles may assist you
 in making your own preparations for
 retirement no matter what your age.
A man's later years are often as different from his middle years as are the
latter from his
childhood years.
                                diferet fAm0i1idl0  er1a    r  heIte   fa
First, it will present some of the facts
you'll want to know about aging and
retirement. Then it will discuss some of
the experiences common to retired per-
sons and the ways in which they have
gone about meeting the challenge of
retirement. And finally, it will offer a
guide which you can use in working out
your Own plans for retirement.
A LMOSIr ALL of us have met per-
     sons who are still '- -althy and active
in their seventies and even their eighties
or nineties. How often ' 'e we heard
people remark:
   "Why you certainly can't call ht'nl
old?"
   And then again we probably know
people who seem "old" to us even
though they are still in their early sixties.
The calendar and birthdays don't seem
to be very reliable ways of judging when
a person really is "old." It is difficult
to  state exactly what makes certain
people seem old to us, while others re-
main young at any age. It is not physical
appearance or condition alone that will
make a person seem old, for there are a
,creat number of active, useful, youthful
appearing people who have white hair
and use hearing aids and canes. Perhaps
it's more a matter of individual interests.
attitudes and way of life that make a per-
son appear "youthful" or "old" and not
just this calendar age or physical condi-
tion.
   But most of us are curious about the
 future; among other things, we often
 want to know how many years we have
APRIL, 1955
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left to live. Probably that's the reason
fortune tellers are still in business today
as they were thousands of years ago.
However, today we have a better way of
looking at the future than by the fortune
teller's art. Science can give us some
answers on how many years we have
ahead of us. Science cannot give a for-
mula for any one person, but it can tell
us what the average person's chances are
of living to 65, 70, 80, 90, or even 100.
So far, most tables stop there! And, if
we look at what science has to tell us,
we will find that the chances of living to
retirement age and a good number of
years thereafter have improved greatly in
recent times and will continue to im-
prove. If you are a betting man (or an
insurance company) you would have to
say that the odds are shifting in your
favor!
  This increase in the number of per-
sons living to age 65 has come about
largely because we have been able to
bring under control the causes of death
in the early and middle years. Typhoid,
diphtheria, malaria, tuberculosis, cholera,
and pneumonia no longer are the dread
killers of mankind that they once were.
Infant mortality has dropped sharply and
the diseases of childhood   are being
treated successfully. In general, we can
say that improved sanitation, advances in
medical knowledge and treatment, better
diet, and improved living and working
conditions all have made it possible for
a greater number of Americans than
ever before to reach their 65th birthday.
   But what of the person who has
reached his 65th birthday? How many
years are left for him?
   The second thing that our look at
the figures can tell us is that on the
average a 65 year old today can look
forward to another 14 years. But the
odds are beginning to shift in our favor
here, too. Today, for the first time, med-
ical science is making a large scale attack
on the "diseases of the aged." Heart
disease, cancer, and diabetes-the leading
killers of the aged-are the objects of
intensive medical research. Perhaps we
are not too optimistic if we say that
within the lifetime of many 65 years olds
0oday important medical advances will
be made which will give them a longer
and more active life to look forward to.
Your support of this research and wil-
lingness to follow the recommendation
of your physician may appreciably add
to the length and enjoyment of your
retirement years.
    (NEXT: Good Health Is Good
                Living)
                                   23


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