JOHN B. SHOVEN: New way to think about old age

Stanford professor John B. Shoven has a provocative proposal for figuring "inflation-adjusted age."

In the latest issue of Foreign Policy, Shoven argues that, just as a 1960 dollar is not the same as a 2008 dollar, neither is a 1960 lifespan the same as a 2008 lifespan. Since 1960, Shoven points out, the average lifespan of a Chinese person has increased by 36 years, a South Korean by 24 years, a Mexican by 17 years and a French person by nearly a decade.

"Just as with the dollar, it is time to introduce inflation-adjusted ages as a superior method for measuring age," Shoven writes. Instead, he suggests mortality risk -- the chance a person has of dying within the next year -- as a more accurate view of health, productivity and life expectancy.

MARC FREEDMAN in the WASHINGTON POST: "What work will boomers do?"

Velma Simpson. Photo by Alex Harris.

Marc Freedman, in a column in today's Washington Post, takes issue with an Allstate ad exhorting Americans to save for 30 years of retirement.

"Millions of boomers are headed not for endless vacation but for a new stage of work, driven both by the desire to remain productive and the need to make ends meet over longer life spans," Freedman, author of Encore, writes in the piece, "One More Time, With Meaning."

That makes the central question, both for individuals and society at large, "What work will boomers do?"

PURPOSE PRIZE INNOVATION: Farm to Family inspires imitators

Gary Maxworthy won a 2007 Purpose Prize for his success in getting fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income families that often received only processed foods from neighborhood food banks.

Now, Solid Ground, a nonprofit in Washington State is starting fresh produce distribution statewide, using the model Maxworthy developed for Farm to Family.

"They had read about my Purpose Prize story," Maxworthy says. "I volunteered to help them."

HUGH PRICE: Mobilize Retired Physicians to Fight Childhood Obesity

Image from HealthyBodyWeight.com

Hugh Price is calling for retired physicians and healthcare workers to join a "crusade" to combat childhood obesity.

Price, the former head of the National Urban League and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, makes a compelling case that the need is both massive and urgent, with more than 25 million overweight and obese children headed for a life of serious health problems -- at a huge cost to society.

BOOMER MEDIA MANIA: No signs of slowing

illustration by Felix Sockwell/The New York Times.

It started in earnest in 2006, when the first baby boomers (born in 1946) turned 60. This year they're turning 62 (and thus eligible for Social Security), setting off another round of media coverage.

This time, perhaps by virtue of the fact that so much has already been said, reporters and commentators appear to be offering deeper reporting and more nuanced perspectives.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Baby boomers go back to college

Leigh Hoes, 51, trained to become a pharmacy technician in a one-year program at Richland College. She plans to work into her 60s or 70s. Photo by Randy Eli Grothe/Dallas Morning News.

Boomers are "rebooting" at Richland College in Dallas, one of the new wave of community colleges that are reshaping their programs to meet the new needs of career-switching baby boomers.

EDITOR'S ENCORE: Mentors for at-risk youth

Susan L. Taylor. Photo by Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Susan Taylor's decision to leave Essence magazine to devote herself to the youth mentoring program she founded illustrates a recurring feature of many encore careers: what was once secondary becomes primary, and what was once primary becomes secondary.

The New York Times reported that Taylor, 61 years old, sent an email to her staff explaining, "I will be leaving Essence to do what at this juncture in my life has become a larger work for me — building the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which I founded as Essence Cares and today is my deepest passion."


The exciting discussions emerging on Encore.org bring with them an annoying downside — a flood of email notifications about every new posting or comment.

It has always been possible (and still is) to turn off ALL email from Encore.org.

Now we have a new option — a ‘digest’ of postings and comments from each of your Encore groups that we will send out as a single e-mail from each group on a regular basis, probably weekly.

National service on the national agenda

Photo by Christian Witkin/TIME

Universal national service – the notion that everybody who wants to serve the country or the community should have the opportunity to do so – is getting a surprising amount of attention on the presidential campaign trail.

Time magazine queued up the issue with a cover story last summer, and now several leading candidates have embraced it.

CONFERENCE BOARD: Reinventing an Aging Workforce

Dean McDermott is looking ahead to his next career. Photo by Jeffrey MacMillan/USNews & World Report.

Smart companies can turn the aging of the American workforce from a liability to a strategic opportunity if they plan carefully, concludes a new report from the Conference Board, the business research organization.

Industries that are already facing acute talent shortages have done the most to prepare for the demographic shift, says Mary B. Young, a senior research associate at the Conference Board and author of the report. The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), for example, pools research, resources and best practices across the industry, she says.

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