“Gray tsunami,” really? How about “gray swell,” or even “gray bloom?”

In October 2010, demographer Philip Longman warned of a “’gray tsunami’ sweeping the planet." The phrase summons a frankly terrifying vision of a giant wave of old people looming on the horizon, poised to drain the public coffers, swamp the healthcare system, and suck the wealth of future generations out to sea. Journalists jumped on it, and “gray tsunami” has since become widely adopted shorthand for the socioeconomic threat posed by an aging population.

 

An aging population = higher healthcare costs, right? Nope.

 

As the Affordable Care Act rolls out and some healthcare costs spike, conservatives have a scapegoat and an unrelenting message: old people are responsible for rising costs and will not pay their share. It’s an all-too-familiar alarmist forecast: a “gray tsunami” of greedy, needy olders will drain the public coffers and consign the next generations to indentured servitude.

 

Septuagenarian sex shocker: it gets better

Sex After …Women Share how Intimacy Changes after Life Changes is a new book by journalist and author Iris Krasnow, who interviewed over 150 women ages 20 to 88 to get the skinny on sex after pregnancy, divorce, infidelity, breast cancer, coming out, and menopause. It’s the last category that’s generating the buzz, with eyebrow-raising all around at the possibility that women in their 70s and 80s could be having the best sex of their lives. Takes on the finding range from progressive to retrograde. 

 

Dementia! Puppets! Gigs!

It was Sabrina Hamilton, the brilliant director of the Ko Festival of Performance, who kicked off my speaking career by inviting me to do a monologue in 2012. She’s got superlative taste and she’s bringing a show called “D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks” to Brooklyn’s Irondale Center this week and next. The show uses puppets to illuminate the inner life of people with late-stage dementia and what it’s like to care for them, and it’s wrenching and uplifting and remarkable.

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