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AC Stereotypes Aging Toronto Star

AC Stereotypes Aging Toronto Star - 1 He ain't heavy he's...

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He ain't heavy, he's my boomer Debate grows over seniors as burden (stereotypes about seniors) May 27, 2007 ANDREW CHUNG STAFF REPORTER Dorothy Creaser went to the doctor on Friday. People in their 70s tend to do that. They see doctors twice as often as they did earlier in life, and use hospitals five times more. But let's not forget that the day before her checkup, the 72-year-old was volunteering at Bridgepoint hospital, leading a chronic pain management program. The day before that, she was running a support group for people with weight issues. And the day before that – she checks her daytimer just to be sure – she was at an orientation for volunteers at this year's Pride festivities... Is this woman a burden on society? A new international study forcefully argues against this idea and tries to put the lie to some of the many doomsday scenarios that have floated around for the last 20 years about our aging populace. In fact, there is a growing line of defence around the seniors and the almost-seniors, which regards as shaky the desperate claims of future tax bills spiking to meet their public spending and health care requirements. Burden – or not? The debate is now on in earnest. The reason is clear enough: The baby boomers are finally approaching senior citizenship. The oldest turn 60 this year. People over 60, says the study, by Oxford University's Institute of Ageing and supported by the giant HSBC Bank, "are a tremendous asset to society, not generally a burden." The study talked to 21,000 pre-retirees and seniors in 21 places around the world, including Canada, and puts a counter-intuitive spin on old beliefs about older people. They contribute billions of dollars in voluntary work, still do significant anounts of paid work in their twilight years and, far from being a drain on decendents, more are giving money to support family and friends than are receiving it.
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