For this week’s discussion, think about mid-life crisis. Is this a true stage in life or something which has turned into somewhat of a scapegoat for risky behavior in older adults? Older adults face important risky decisions about their health, their financial future, and their social environment for example, addiction.

Here’s a TED Talk on the perception of addiction and how it develops.

Keep in mind the risk-taking tendencies in the financial domain reduce steeply in older age (at least for men). Risk taking in the social domain instead increases slightly from young to middle age, before reducing sharply in later life, whereas recreational risk taking reduces more steeply from young to middle age than in later life. Ethical and health risk taking reduce relatively smoothly with age. Think about gender differences in risk taking with age. Financial risk taking reduced steeply in later life for men but not for women, and risk taking in the social domain reduced more sharply for women than for men. Discuss the possible underlying causes of the domain-specific nature of risk taking (drinking/drug use) and age.

Explore the following informational website and videos. Previous advertisement campaigns to stop substance abuse included the catch phrase, “Just say no!” How does this information clarify that treating substance abuse is much more complicated than mere “will power”? Why is it difficult for some people to empathize with people who struggle with substance abuse? Does understanding addiction as a brain disease alter that level of empathy? What should the church’s role be when it comes to helping individuals with substance use problems?