One of the observations I make in “How to Live” is that old age, like divorce, can be more difficult for men than for women because men tend to have fewer social networks than women do. Also, some older women experience a burst of late-in-life feminism; women of this generation, having already established their lives by the time feminism was in full flower, sometimes don’t reap the benefits of that movement until they hit their old age.
I was mostly working from anecdotal evidence, but now Anne C. Roark has done a lot of the legwork in her post on the New Old Age blog on the New York TImes’s website. She points out that older men don’t eat as well, are less likely to seek medical care when sick, and are more prone to substance abuse. Men over 65 are five times more likely than women to commit suicide.
Oof. Gentlemen, let’s burn our bathrobes.