Beyond retirement and the iconic, stereotypical senior porch rocking chair, Baby Boomer seniors today are living longer and finding surprising, new ways to share their time, energy, and talents with others in their later years.
Do you remember watching your grandmother quietly knitting, while watching TV or listening to the radio for seemingly hours as your grandfather sat with her or puttered around the house? Well those days have passed as Baby Boomers and seniors all across the US are taking on new challenges, new roles, and new activities reflective of the fast paced times and economic climate we live in.
Today, Baby Boomer seniors are stepping out more than ever, even taking college classes in various areas of study and interest. In fact, proudly, some 20 years ago, my own mother graduated from the University of Maryland when she was 72 years old with a major in sociology, and a minor in linguistics. Yes, it took her 10 years, many buses and many, many late nights as she worked toward her lifetime goal of becoming a college graduate with her 4 year degree. To everyone’s utter surprise, she even successfully took algebra to get that degree. The course load was heavy, the time was well spent, and she was able to attain her lifelong goal… And it kept her young, alert, and active. My children, siblings and I will never forget them announcing over the loudspeaker that she was the oldest candidate that day at graduation!
With current statistics revealing that an astonishing 80 percent of seniors plan to work past age 65, and that one quarter to one half of them have not been able to save for retirement, things are bound to be different for the rapidly aging Baby Boomer generation.
It has been estimated that when the Baby Boomer generation reaches 65 years of age, the 65 and above demographic will be twice what it is today. With these unprecedented, massive numbers of seniors depending on Social Security for retirement, and working late into their senior years to supplement their Social Security income, Baby Boomers are in the prime, financial position to need to work longer- at least part-time- into their later years.
With that said, they will continue to be one of the busiest generations ever, as they balance working into their later years to earn extra income, help their children with their grandchildren, volunteer in their communities and churches working with the homeless, youth programs and literacy programs, register for college courses, join senior centers to take art classes, exercise and other classes, and the list goes on.
With this generation of Baby Boomer seniors putting aside the rocking chair in exchange for a more central role in American culture and society, many Baby Boomer seniors will be in the position to share their lifelong, valuable experiences, expertise, and the wisdom of their years with many people in and outside of their homes. Striving to make a meaningful difference in the world around them, these dynamic, active Baby Boomer seniors will be in the strategic position to positively impact people of all ages and backgrounds in unprecedented ways.