Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor

Ciceronian Retirement and 21st-Century Demographics

Cicero or Montaigne’s advice for solitary and inner-directed living, therefore, might need some updating.

Jim Michaels’s “When It Comes to Retirement, I’m with Cicero” (op-ed, Jan. 12) desperately needs a 21st-century reality check. Longevity reaching to 100 years is becoming more common. Even if we want to take his advice, it might be more applicable to the 80-plus range and not our now terribly outdated idea of retiring in our early 60s. Quite apart from individual sensibilities, our society can’t afford to have 25% or more of us “retired” or only focusing on ourselves.

There is growing scientific evidence about the relationship of activity, purpose and engagement as we age and staying healthier. A longitudinal study by neuropsychologist Patricia Boyle et al. shows such engagement and activity contributing to healthier aging, including better cognition and even an impact on the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Cicero or Montaigne’s advice for solitary and inner-directed living, therefore, might need some updating in light of 21st-century longevity and the science we now have.

Michael W. Hodin
CEO, Global Coalition on Aging
New York

Source: Wall Street Journal

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