Lewis W. Diuguid

Baby boomers continue reputation as American’s problem children

Updated: 2013-05-03T15:46:19Z

Baby boomers can expect to stay on the worst end of bad statistics from now until the final days.

We strained the hospitals when all 78 million of us we were born from 1946 to 1964. We crowded schools, housing and colleges, which weren’t prepared for us.

What might have been insignificant protests turned into national concerns, leading to massive changes when we joined the Civil Rights Movement, insisted on an end to the Vietnam War, added our voices to the Women’s Movement, the Chicano Movement, Gay Rights Movement and the American Indian Movement.

We wrecked the economy and swelled the ranks of people seeking employment. We superheated the housing, car, credit and retail markets.

And when we started to age and slow our roll, the “grow or die” system of capitalism in the United States and abroad hit the great wall of the Great Recession, and the economy is still struggling to recover.

As we retire, our numbers threaten the future solvency of Social Security and Medicare. As we age, more of us will cause the ranks of people with Alzheimer’s disease to grow. Because we didn’t take care of ourselves very well and were prone to overindulgence in sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, and let’s not forget food and booze, we are overburdening the health care system.

If all that isn’t bad enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that now that we’re middle age with all of our many “issues,” suicide rates are also up sharply among baby boomers. More of us now die of suicide than in car wrecks, the CDC reports. The findings were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, showing that in 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides.

Suicides, which typically had been seen as a problem of teens and the elderly, are surging in numbers for middle-age folks now that baby boomers are there, The New York Times reports. From 1999 to 2010, suicide rates for Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by almost 30 percent to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7.

The biggest increase has been among men in their 50s. That is up nearly 50 percent to 30 per 100,000. For women, the biggest increase was for age 60 to 64 with suicide rates rising nearly 60 percent to 7.0 per 100,000.

Who said life was supposed to get easier as we got older?

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