Baby Boomers Have Shorter Lifespans
Latest statistics show alarmingly shorter lifespans among Baby Boomers
Posted June 17, 2016
An invisible tsunami is hitting the U.S. and its destructive effects are just becoming visible. As the Pew Research Center cites that Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers this year, another hidden statistic is revealing that the death toll among Baby Boomers is rising. While the Greatest Generation has been showing longer and longer lifespans—exceeding 100 years—expectations have been that the following generations will do the same. In a Fortune article, Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Farida Ahmad responded that there’s no “smoking gun” and that they are watching it to see if it’s “just a blip as it was ten years ago.” Let’s take a closer look at the statistics and consider the implications.
In a comprehensive study of the statistics, Case and Deaton’s findings published in the December 2015 issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), suggest a smoking gun. Calling it an “epidemic” they state, “A serious concern is that those currently in midlife will age into Medicare in worse health than the currently elderly.”
What is the cause of shorter lifespans and heightened health problems among America’s Baby Boomers?
It appears that one of the highest spikes is deaths among white non-Hispanics age 50-54 from poisonings. Additional increases are from chronic liver disease, suicide, cirrhosis of the liver, along with poisonings. The overall epidemic surrounding these clusters is addiction as the cited death spikes relate to opioid abuse, alcohol abuse, and heroine abuse.
The implications of this epidemic are massive.
- Baby Boomers are the babies of war and the long-term associated costs of war need to be investigated, so that cycles aren’t repeated in vain.
- With Millennials as the largest population segment who are also more tech-savvy and living in a technological divide from the rest of the generations, they will rise to leadership roles at the cost of missing essential wisdom from older generations if the generations are not alive and/or emotionally available to mentor and transfer wisdom.
- Traditionalists and the Greatest Generation populations need to transfer knowledge and wisdom to younger generations—the kind of knowledge and wisdom that has not been captured in technology.
- Addiction is a symptom of bigger issues—the underlying causes of addiction need to be treated.
- The Baby Boomer generation, known for questioning authority and seeking equality, has lived through significant family changes brought on from two-parent working households, increased divorce rates, increased career mobility, increased technological advancement, and increased psychological and counseling support—how have these factors impacted long-term well-being?
- Where does the United States stand in the new global economy when one large generation is suffering the debilitating effects of increased addiction rates and the other larger generation is labeled as entitled and narcissistic?
Range of symptoms associated with addiction (1 or more indicate a problem):
- Temporary blackouts or memory loss.
- Inability to stop drinking after drinking one to two servings, or escalating drug use after intoxication.
- Recurring difficulty with relationships, frequent relocating and/or job-changes, feelings of restlessness, irritability, depression, or mood swings.
- Using alcohol or substance to relax, to cheer up, to sleep, to deal with problems, or to feel "normal."
- Headache, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, or bodily shakes from withdrawals.
- Repeated efforts to stop, manage or control addiction without long-term success.
- Flushed skin and broken capillaries on the face; a husky voice; trembling hands; bloody or black/tarry stools or vomiting blood; chronic diarrhea.
- Drinking alone, in the mornings, or in secret and obsessing on how much alcohol or pain pills or drugs you have for next use.
- Measureable consequences from drinking or using such as health problems, broken relationships, lost jobs, financial difficulty, crossing personal moral boundaries, and self-hate.
- Changes in appearance, lying, stealing, cheating, and fixating on next fix.
Help for those in Need
If you are a chronic-pain sufferer and concerned that you are addicted to your pain medication or dependent on alcohol, the first step is recognizing that you might have a problem. If you suspect you are in trouble, there’s hope and I applaud you for taking the next steps to getting help. One suggestion for finding a treatment provider is to find one connected to a professional association, like SAMSHA or ASAM or NAADAC. You can also visit Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous.
If you are a loved one of someone with an addiction, you need just as much help and support, so please try AlAnon or see NCADD to learn more.
Generations as Defined in this Article (admittedly there are multiple citations in publications)
- Greatest Generation – Coined by Tom Brokaw in 1998, this generation was born between 1901-1924.
- The Traditionalists – Those born between 1925-1945 who grew up in the Great Depression, also called the Silent Generation.
- Baby Boomers – The generation of babies born after WWII from 1946-1964
- Generation X – This is a smaller generation of the Baby Buster and the MTV generation group born between 1965-1984.
- Millennials – Also known as Gen Y, this largest group was born between 1985-2001