My father retired to Florida after 40 successful years as an advisor. During a recent visit, I ordered a fruity lunchtime cocktail complete with mini-umbrella. I asked if he’d like one as well.
“No, thanks,” he replied. “If you start drinking on the beach during the week at lunchtime, you’re headed for trouble.”
I was impressed with his sense and self-discipline, and regretted my own order—almost. I was on vacation, after all.
I thought of this as I read Olivia Mellan’s cover story. The image of a retired couple sitting on a beach with drink in hand as the waves gently lap against the shore is nice, but how realistic is it? For someone with a work ethic like my father’s, inactivity leads to boredom, even in retirement. Boredom too often leads to unhealthy habits and, occasionally, dark places. Combined with a “merry prankster” attitude about drug use that marks many baby boomers to this day, statistics about depression and addiction experienced by the cohort are scary, but hardly surprising.
The Associated Press, referencing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), reports that between 1992 and 2008, treatment admissions for those 50 and older more than doubled in the United States.
“All told, 231,200 people aged 50 and over sought treatment for substance abuse in 2008, up from 102,700 in 1992,” according to the AP.