Getting Real About Getting Older

The United States is a country that’s rapidly aging. According to Census Bureau estimates, the number of people over 65 in the U.S. will nearly double over the next 40 years. They’re also working later, living alone more frequently, and facing financial hardship. And of course, there’s now the pandemic. 80% of COVID-related deaths in the United States have been among people over 65. I see these statistics a lot, but I don’t hear much about what it’s like to be over 60. I don’t think that as a culture, we talk enough about getting older, and when we do, we don’t often do it well. It's time to have better conversations about aging—and we're going to do it with the help of veteran public radio anchor Jo Ann Allen. Jo Ann is the host of the podcast Been There Done That, a show about and for the Baby Boom generation. As she tells me, even as she's learned to navigate uncertainty about financial stability and her fears of COVID-19, she wouldn't trade this period of life for anything. "I am 67 years old, and I am really into older people!" she says. "I love, without a doubt, up and down, over and under, in and out, being an older person and getting older." Over the next few weeks, Jo Ann is going to be stepping into the host chair and recording some interviews with older listeners in our audience about what it's like to be aging, and what questions are coming up for you—especially in this moment. I can't wait for you to meet her. Jo Ann and her dad, who lived to 103. (Courtesy photo)   Are you over 60? We want to hear from you! What's your life look like right now? How are you feeling your age differently this year compared to last year? You can send an email to us, at deathsexmoney@wnyc.org. You can call us and leave a message, at (917) 740-6549. Or you can record a voice memo on your phone, and email it as an attachment to deathsexmoney@wnyc.org. And if you're not over 60, you can still help us by spreading the word, and sending this episode to someone in your life who is. And make sure to check out Jo Ann's podcast, Been There Done That. We particularly like the episode "Betty," in which she talks to her older sister about surviving coronavirus.

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