Gender Differences in the Older Population

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  • 0:02 Late Adulthood
  • 0:58 Finances
  • 2:29 Living Arrangements
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

As people age, their finances and living arrangements change. Those changes don't happen the same way for men and women, though. In this lesson, we'll examine the differences in the genders in late adulthood.

Late Adulthood

Suzie is almost seventy, and she's starting to think about what the rest of her life will be like. She wonders if she'll stay in her home, alone, or if she'll move somewhere else. She wonders if she'll have enough money to do all the things that she wants to do, like travel and live a good life.

Suzie is in late adulthood, or the time of life after age 65. During that time, many people find that their lives change dramatically. They often retire, which frees up time but might make their finances tighter. They experience changes in their bodies and in their lifestyles.

But Suzie and her female friends experience late adulthood somewhat differently than her male friends do. This is because there are some gender differences in lifestyles of older adults. Let's look closer at how gender affects a person's finances and living arrangements in late adulthood.

Finances

Suzie is retired, and like many retired people, she is worried about her finances. She is living on a limited income and worries that healthcare costs might end up bankrupting her.

While financial difficulties can strike anyone, there are two reasons that women might be more financially strapped in late adulthood than men. First, women make less than men, on average, during their careers. This means that they have less money while working to save.

Suzie knows this all too well. Her friend Rex did the same job that Suzie did at the same company but made a lot more money than she did doing it. Now, he has a much larger nest egg than Suzie.

In addition to making less money than men, women, on average, live longer than men. What does this mean for Suzie and women like her? Their retirement savings often has to last longer than men's. So not only does Rex have more money in his retirement accounts, but that money likely won't have to last as long as Suzie's money does.

As a result of these two things, women are more likely to live below the poverty line in old age than men. This can lead to all sorts of issues for Suzie and other older women, including problems getting adequate nutrition and healthcare. In addition, some research suggests that older women are more likely than older men to stay in an abusive situation due to the fact that they cannot afford to leave and strike out on their own.

Living Arrangements

Right now, Suzie is OK financially. But she's already starting to think about what will happen as she ages. One thing that she's wondering about is whether it makes sense to stay in her house by herself or not.

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