We are of the baby boomer generation, those who believed that you couldn't trust anyone over thirty. To our great surprise, we find ourselves at the threshold of old age. Our life's work has been spent studying and working with older adults, and we've had the privilege of benefitting from their wisdom. Consequently, now that we find ourselves having to make decisions about our future, it is surprisingly easy. We have huge funds of experience to draw on that allow us to fairly easily and gracefully decide what we want in old age. The baby boomers who will follow us for the next few decades can utilize our experience to their advantage.
We will not shy away from difficult topics, such as euthanasia or challenging your physician to personalize your medical care. While we will provide reference to valid research, we will also present our opinions based on our years of experience. We see this blog as a way to empower others to take charge of their future. We are still an ageist society that sees older adults as unattractive and undesirable. That's certainly not how we baby boomers want to picture ourselves.
This may cause people to avoid or postpone thinking about important issues, such as retirement and where you might want to live when you are less able to do things, either physically or mentally. What we have always said in our clinical work is that if you fail to make these decisions, they will be made in times of crisis, when the options are much more limited. We can demystify the future, which can help people make the best choices for themselves. Our goal is for people to look forward to and enjoy old age, rather than seeing it as something to be feared or dreaded.
Who are we and why should you want to hear what we have to say?
Steven H. Zarit, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. He has been involved in research on family caregiving for over three decades, designing the internationally accepted standard for measuring caregiver burden, and developing treatment programs for caregivers.
Judy M. Zarit, Ph.D., is a retired clinical psychologist who specialized in the assessment and treatment of older adults for over thirty years. While she was in private practice, she saw her patients in every possible setting: in the office, at home, in assisted living, in skilled nursing homes, in specialized Alzheimer units, and in the hospital.
We plan to use this space to address a variety of issues of interest, but also to comment on our own experience as we go through the retirement process. And we welcome any questions you have about related topics.