The Washington Post had a rather disturbing article yesterday with the headline “Boomers killing themselves at an alarming rate”. Okay, as a baby boomer I have to say that they caught my attention.
According to the article it has always been true that elderly people have higher suicide rates than the rest of the population. However, there has been a dramatic spike in suicides in middle-age people including a 50% increase for men in their 50’s and a 60% increase for women in their early 60’s (though the rate for women is relatively low compared to men).
The economic downturn could be a contributing factor, but the trend actually started before the recession did. So what is the matter with us?
We were proud of breaking the generational mold. Our mantras: Never trust anyone over thirty. Our songs: “Hope I die before I get old” (The Who). Our generation was in the age of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll . We were going to be different, not get old like our parents, always stay young at heart!
The Post, however, reports that compared with our parents, baby boomers have more obesity, illegal drug and prescription drug abuse, alcoholism, divorce, depression and mental disorders. These problems get added to job losses, caring for elderly parents, children moving back home looking for financial support and the physical decline that simply comes with aging.
There has been no study as to why this is happening to boomers. It is a complex issue. I don’t have any answers, I wish I did. But, I do think that it is always good to be aware.
And, just to lighten it up a little, take a moment and remember what Bobby McFerrin sang: (by the way, all vocals and background music were done by Bobby’s voice and body, not other voices or instruments)