This chapter profiles those people who cannot easily shoulder the burden of empowerment. As aging and chronic conditions ensue, successful navigation of the health care system becomes difficult. The high throughput lifestyle of extraordinary productivity, continuous consumption, and intense activity cannot easily be maintained after retirement. New strategies must emerge. The lessons of the work world are applied to maintaining the body, as people work to survive. While the new patterns of retirement do not necessitate inactivity, people in the postretirement age group face different challenges. Work-based skills in organizing information, constructing practices, and mobilizing networks are harnessed in their final project, staying alive. The transition to retirement brings an unfamiliar set of bureaucratic constraints as employer-based insurance is displaced by new third-party payers such as Medicare and supplemental insurance. Financial insecurity in this high-cost-of-living area exacerbates the constraints. This is an age where wealth and health are most intimately intertwined. The ability to live with new technologies and prosthetics, to be able to afford fresh food and a comfortable environment separate the elite who can work comfortably on their own longevity from the less affluent, whose experiences are decidedly different.
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