2011 The Year Of The Baby Boomers

Happy New Year One And All

2011 is finally upon us, and we've now entered a new era that will be defined by aging “individuals” with the following characteristics; Money, Time, Affluence and Influence.  2011 will go down as the year of the Baby Boomers.

The countdown has been going on for many years by forecasters, marketers, and by boomers themselves.  This year, the oldest of the baby boomers will turn 65, the year many mark as “retirement age”.  79 million baby boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years (it's hard to imagine).

The Baby Boomers are defined by their individualism, by their music, by civil rights' advances, and by simultaneously fighting in AND protesting the Vietnam war.  This era welcomed a culture-shift that opened the doors to greater “enlightenment”, “free love”, and “flower power”.

Make no mistake, the wants, needs and desires of baby boomers will drive entire markets. Technologies that enable boomers to “Age in Place” (like telehealth, medical alert devices, home monitoring, and home modification services) will be gobbled up for the foreseeable future.

Great questions are looming however…  Questions like; Will Medicare and Social Security be there for me when I need it?  Who will help care for me when I can no longer care for myself?  (and) Do I dare ask for a “senior coffee” at McDonalds? These questions and many more will take on greater meaning as more and more boomers continue to age.

Solutions to these questions are perplexing and captivating. Just as when baby boomers were kids and overwhelmed the education system and communities with their numbers, they are placing large demands on senior housing and health care today and in the future.

Scholars, insurers, and aging advocates are interfacing to bring light to the big looming questions. As millions of people turn 65 every day, here is an inspiring article sharing how we can shift our perspectives and focus on “making aging positive.” Some examples include helping older adults find meaning in their lives and embracing older adults in the workplace.

The significance of the baby boomer countdown (to age 65) really hit me when I glanced at the Oregonian on January 1st, 2011 and read the (front page) headlines which read:  “Welcome, baby boomers, to senior status”, “State last in elder advocates”, and “Magazine pioneer Anderegg dies at 70”.  Seems there's more to age than wine or cheese. There is power in numbers, and this year's magic number is… 65.

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