Decision-Making Improves with Age
For years, researchers have been puzzled by study findings that showed younger adults to be better decision-makers than older individuals.
Experts suspected the findings resulted from experimental designs that tested the ability to make decisions one at a time without regard to the past or future, thus negating the influence of experience and judgment.
In a new study, psychologists designed a model requiring participants to evaluate each result in order to strategize the next choice, more like decision-making in the real world.
Using this methodology, older decision makers clearly made better choices. The findings will be discussed in an upcoming issue of the journalPsychological Science.
“We found that older adults are better at evaluating the immediate and delayed benefits of each option they choose from. They are better at creating strategies in response to the environment,” said psychologist Dr. Darrell Worthy, of Texas A&M University.
To read the full article: http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/08/24/decision-making-improves-with-age-experience/28884.html
Ottawa starting to tackle rapidly aging workforce with renewed urgency
Bill Curry, The Globe and Mail
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the highest levels of the public service are immersed in a flurry of closed-door talks aimed at tackling the rising costs of health care and retirement benefits in the face of a shrinking number of working-age taxpayers available to foot the bill.
Internal government documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show Canada’s aging population is no longer a problem on the horizon, but rather one that will impact the federal government this year. It's a challenge Ottawa is now discussing more openly and with added urgency.
This week Mr. Flaherty kicked off a policy retreat with business and policy leaders in Wakefield, Que., by saying he wanted the discussion to focus on how Canada can position itself now for the longer term – listing “Canada’s rapidly aging workforce” as an issue that shouldn’t be overshadowed by the current focus on wildly fluctuating stock markets.
“The need to address current challenges must not keep us from tackling the key questions that affect our future prosperity,” he said.
The Finance Minister has offered few hints as to how he will approach forthcoming negotiations with the provinces over health-transfer arrangements, which need to be renewed. Provinces – and ultimately Ottawa – face rising health costs as older Canadians will make greater use of the system.
To read the full article:
Debate over Canada's aging population set to heat up
Bill Curry, The Globe and Mail
The debate over Canada’s demographics is poised to heat up this fall as the Parliamentary Budget Office prepares the release of a wide-ranging study of what an aging population means for Ottawa’s bottom line.
Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page caused a stir in February 2010 when he first looked at the issue, warning that part of the federal deficit is structural -- or permanent -- and will not be erased over the long term unless Ottawa cuts more deeply or starts bringing in more tax revenue.
The Conservative government flatly rejected the notion of raising taxes to keep the books balanced over the long term, even though it faces rising health care costs from an aging population.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will soon have to tackle the expiring cash transfer deals to the provinces for health care and other social services, a debate with huge implications for the financial health of governments across Canada, not to mention the personal health of Canadians.
To read the full article:
Getting Personal Canada: The importance of demographics
By Monica Gutschi, Dow Jones Newseries
TORONTO (Dow Jones)--Canada has a unique demographic profile that makes the looming issue of an aging population a critical one for policy makers and investors, a new study argues.
The country had a larger baby boom than other developed countries, and had a larger baby 'bust' as well, making it 'atypical,' study author Virginie Maisonneuve said in an interview.
Indeed, the study produced for Schroder Investment Management where Maisonneuve is head of global equities, argues that baby boomer retirements will be far more 'material' for Canada than other countries. It noted the 'dependency ratio'--or number of retirees to workers--will rise by 8% over the next 20 years compared to 4.5% in the U.S.
According to the latest actuarial report on Canada's Old Age Security, the ratio of people aged 20 to 64 to those over 65 is expected to fall to 2.2 in 2050 from about 4.4 now. The number of beneficiaries of the basic OAS is expected to double to 9.3 million by 2030 from 4.7 million now, while those who will receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement and other benefits will grow to 3.3 million from 1.7 million.
The unusually large boom and bust seen in Canada is also likely to have an impact on economic growth, Maisonneuve's study argues, unless there is a major increase in immigration, labor productivity or participation rates by older workers.
As well, the study says the composition of Gross Domestic Product will change, with the healthcare and financial sectors increasing their share, while the contributions from education, manufacturing, construction and retail will fall. National savings are also expected to decline as retirees live off their investments, potentially leading to wider trade surpluses and a greater need for capital inflows.
To read the full story: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110722-709749.html
Obama at 50: Older, Wiser…Happier?
How the study of happiness is changing our understanding of aging
Libby Copeland, Slate.com
This has been a tough week for Barack Obama. There was the tension of a down-to-the-wire debt deal, and on top of that, he turns 50 on Thursday. But while Obama may not see his birthday Thursday as cause for celebration, social scientists suggest there may be something magical in that landmark. The growing body of research on happiness shows that as we pass middle age, our sense of well-being improves. Take the 2010 study that looked at more than 340,000 Americans and found that self-reported levels of anger, stress, and worry plummet at 50 and that a few years later, happiness rises. This pattern held true for men and women, married and unmarried, the working and the jobless—and, presumably, for presidents, too.
The exact age at which the shift happens is a matter of some dispute. A study that Slate wrote about in 2007 found 45 to be the average pivot point among Americans and Europeans. (Thesame study found that for some reason, the age at which happiness increases varies by country. Things start to look up after age 42 in South Africa, whereas Ukrainians have to wait till they pass 62.) But whatever the exact timing, the fact of this mood swing feels counterintuitive: As we near decrepitude, should we not feel gloomier? Our friends are dying, our knees are giving out. What's so great about getting old?
Despite the recent popularity of happiness studies among economists, psychologists, and other social scientists, the cause of the correlation between age and happiness remains somewhat mysterious.
To read the full story: http://www.slate.com/id/2300558/?from=rss
Greying society requires health-care fix, McGuinty says
by Mohammed Adam, The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — Canada needs major health-care reform, as part of a new accord between the provinces and the federal government, to prepare for the enormous challenges of an aging population, Dalton McGuinty said Thursday.
Speaking to the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Thursday, the Ontario premier urged the federal government to start negotiating a new 10-year health accord.
While the current agreement expires in 2014, McGuinty said the health care challenge today is so complex, work should begin now. And the key elements of the new agreement should be a new home-care strategy, national drug purchasing plan and “evidence-based” patient care.
The premier said Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s commitment to a six-per-cent increase in federal transfers is commendable, but that’s only a short-term fix. The country is aging so quickly that there is no bigger challenge facing government. Reform is necessary and inevitable, he said.
Five factors threatening your dream retirement
Over nine million Canadians who were born between 1946 and 1964 - aka Baby Boomers - will turn 65, averaging about 1,000 per day for the next 19 years. That means lots of folks have dreams of retirement on their minds. But while those TV commercials make it look worry-free and so appealing - sailing off the island coast or golfing at the country club - making the decision to retire can be a lot more complicated and difficult than the ads would have us believe. Here are several important questions to ask before taking the plunge into retirement.
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