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AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001

3. Major Events

Interestingly, despite older boomers’ optimism, many recent events in their lives include losses. We asked respondents whether they had experienced each of 11 events in the last year, including major illnesses, death of family members, marriages, moves in and out of home by children and parents, and changes in employment status.

The results, presented in table 13, reveal that the ages between 45 and 55 constitute a period of much change. In this stage of life, many experience the loss or illness of family members. Twenty-eight percent suffered a death in the family in the last year, and major illness struck a family member of 24 percent. Sixteen percent of the cohort personally endured a major illness within the last year alone. In addition, in nearly one-fourth (24%) of the generation’s members, a child left home. And, for obvious reasons, few met with the excitement that might have come from getting married, having new babies, or, at the other end, retiring and having more leisure.

Table 13: Major Events in the Previous Year

Q9–19. In this survey, when I use the terms parents and children, I am also including stepparents and stepchildren. Please tell me if each of the following has happened to you, in the last year.

Total (%)

Has there been a death in your family Has your child moved out of your home Has someone else in your family had a major illness Have you had a major illness Have you lost or changed jobs Has your child gotten married or divorced Has your adult child moved back into your home Have you retired from working Have your parents or in-laws moved to retirement or nursing homes Have you gotten divorced or married Have your parents or in-laws moved into your home

28 24 24 16 15 12 11 10 8 5 3

Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management Page 32

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