Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105 Page 106 Page 107 Page 108INTRODUCTION 9 This book looks at some of the most signif- icant trends and changes related to aging over the past two decades, providing information and insights that can only be found with the rich data resources of the HRS. Each of the five chapters is organized around a major theme (see Figure A-1). This introduction presents an overview of the HRS study design and content, the relevance of HRS findings, and directions for the future. The HRS is a large and complex study, but the basic design is a survey that: • Is nationally representative of the population over age 50 • Follows individuals and their spouses or partners from the time of their entry into the survey until death • Introduces a new 6-year birth cohort of participants every 6 years This brief overview describes the survey content, including external data sources to which HRS data are linked, and the longitudinal cohort design. More detail of the study design is provid- ed in Sonnega et al. (2014). FIGURE A-1  Themes of the book Chapter 1 considers the trend toward longer working lives, addressing factors that influ- ence decisions about how long to work and when to retire. We review HRS research that helps us understand how healthy we are as a nation and what influences our health in terms of work capacity at older ages. What are the consequences of retirement for health and well-being? Chapter 2 takes up the question of the aging brain. A major contribution of the HRS is to provide accurate population estimates of cognitive health, including the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Studies that use HRS data can also yield important insights about the causes and consequences  —  including the costs  —  of dementia. What puts us at risk for cognitive decline and what keeps us sharp at older ages? Chapter 3 explores retirement preparation. As the retirement landscape continues to change, workers are increasingly responsible for making sure they have adequate finan- cial resources in retirement. Financial planners suggest, on average, that we need about 80% of the income while working in order to maintain our living standard in retirement. Is this realistic? Are there other ways to determine retirement resource adequacy? We review HRS research on the many personal as well as institutional factors that influence our ability to save and our decisions about saving for retirement and spending during retirement. Chapter 4 reviews cross-national comparative research that reveals relatively worse health in the US as compared to other developed countries, despite much higher levels of spending on health care. A deeper understanding of health disparities within the US may help us understand the cross-national gap. Particularly at middle age, health disparities are very large both by race and by socioeconomic status. Health disadvantages appear to start in childhood and reach into adulthood, influencing health well into older age. Where we live also has a powerful influence on health. Chapter 5 discusses the impact of the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, looking at chang- es in wealth as well as changes in work and work expectations over the period of the stock market crash, the recession, and recovery. This book looks at some of the most significant trends and changes related to aging over the past two decades.