Women and Aging

September 25, 1981

Report Outline
The Invisible Majority
Concerns of Middle Age
The Economics of Aging
Special Focus

The Invisible Majority

Women Over 65: Fastest Growing Group

One woman, aged 65, said she felt an occasional pang about the loss of her sexual attractiveness. She also said that when she went back to work at age 50, the younger people in her office ignored her at first. She felt invisible. Now, she is happily retired and has friends, interests, health, some money and a husband. She relishes the assurance she has gained over the years, although she worries about the death of those she loves, particularly her husband, and fears infirmity.

Another woman, 81 years old, has been widowed for 16 years and lives on her husband's Social Security benefits, now $400 a month. She misses her husband. Soon the room she gets in exchange for sorting clothes at a church community center will no longer be available. She does not know where she will go, but she would prefer not to live in a nursing home.

The lives of these two women embody some of the problems women face as they grow older. The number of women over 65 is increasing faster than any other segment of the population; women comprise 60 percent of those over 65. Women who became 65 in 1977 could expect to live an average of 18 more years, compared to the 14 years for men the same age. The most rapidly growing segment of the elderly are those over 75, of whom 65 percent are women.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Sep. 25, 1981  Women and Aging
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security
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