"What Are Old People For" was written in 2004. The most frightening aspect of aging, and of living in this time is the economic disaster we face as a nation and in the world. Dr. Thomas assumed that the upcoming aging population was for the most part, financially secure. Then the economic bomb dropped after the printing of his book, and those who had some security suddenly had much less or nothing at all.
This crisis is an added burden on everyone, especially those age 50-65 who have lost their jobs and have siphoned off lifetime savings and 401k's just to survive. With no economic footing to bring into retirement and beyond, the problems/issues the elderly (and adults) already face have been compounded.
I myself am 45, divorced 2 years, and going back to school to create a career in order to financially build a bit of security and help my four children attend college. Following my passion in this field is the added bonus.
I want to make a difference. Not only for the present time, but for my future and for my children... well into their old age. The problems we face collectively and individually are immense, and may not be solved in my lifetime, but to do nothing would be unthinkable.