by Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D. Hardcover, 266pp
About the Book
In a far-sighted and important report, Dychtwald warns that unless we productively integrate the elderly into all levels of our society, the U.S. will rapidly become an "elder wasteland." A psychologist, gerontologist and corporate consultant, Dychtwald's new book is a wake-up call to debt-laden baby boomers heading toward poverty-stricken old age, to senior citizens and to society as a whole. He succeeds admirably, even though his presentation is weakened by catchy generalizations, facile predictions and lecture-circuit style. Instead of a standard retirement at age 65, Dychtwald recommends "phased retirement" programs, long practiced in Europe, as well as more portable pensions. He advocates making self-care and disease prevention national priorities and calls for the creation of a National Elder Corps (loosely modeled on the Peace Corps). Some of his proposals will prove controversial, such as raising the age when Social Security and Medicare benefits begin or privatizing portions of Social Security. In Dychtwald's framework, "middlescence" (a greatly extended middle period of life, from age 40 to 60 and beyond) will afford countless boomers a second chance to fulfill their dreams. His optimism and openness to new ways of making the golden years productive render this book a thought-provoking and worthwhile read.