How Baby Boomers Are Redefining Aging
Aging is generally associated with a few negative connotations. For example, there is the false idea that as you age you become less fashionable or more averse to the changing times. There is often the incorrect assumption that seniors spend their time sitting around complaining about the newer generations. Yet, Baby Boomers everywhere are carving out new definitions for the senior community, painting it in a fresh light that shows how adventurous, creative, and ambitious today’s senior community can be. Here are some ways that the Baby Boomer generation is changing the conversation about retirement culture.
Who Run the World? Seniors
Seniors are one of the fastest growing segments of entrepreneurs in the world. As opposed to their younger counterparts, seniors have the wealth of life experiences they’ve undergone, broader networks of people built up over time, plus they may have more financial stability.
One way to measure the rise of senior entrepreneurship is using the GEM study of TEA, or Total Entrepreneurial Activity, which covers a broad range of entrepreneurial activities within the United States. Research has shown that self-employment rates rise increasingly with age, and that the overall TEA rate is 11.8 percent for 55-64 year olds, and 18.4 percent for those 65+. More than half of all small business owners in the United States are age 50 or over, and the highest rate of business start-up activity over the past decade has been among people in the 55 to 64 age bracket.
Seniors Setting Trends
We typically think of newer generations being the ones to blaze new trails and set the latest fashion trends, but increasingly, seniors are showing themselves to be just as adept at making fashion statements. One third of seniors report that stores specially catering to them carry unfashionable clothing. The trendiest retailers are responding by creating more fashionable, higher quality clothing for seniors. Actresses like Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Holly Hunter continue to show how older women exhibit style and grace, all while taking on roles that explore the complexity and sexuality of women over 50.
Considering they hold 70% of the nation’s disposable income, it’s no wonder that seniors are going in droves to concerts, travel destinations, and entertainment hot-spots. For example, the Desert Trip music festival, nicknamed Oldchella, was held two years ago and featured the likes of Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Neil Young, and Roger Waters. Instead of hot tents and sweaty crowds, concert-goers got grandstand seats and food packages. Overall, the festival took in more than twice what Coachella made that year. Desert Trip won’t make a reappearance, but the same production company recently hosted Arroyo Seco, a sort of middle ground for those too old for the millennial music festival circuit but still young enough to make the trek to the Southern California desert. This festival featured acts such as Neil Young, Jack White, Robert Plant, Gary Clark Jr., and the Pretenders.
Active and Elderly
As the longevity of our lives continues to grow, our need to maintain a healthy, active body will continue to grow along with it. Baby Boomers are well ahead of the curve, trading in the canes and recliners of yesteryear for tennis rackets, running shoes, and even skydiving jumpsuits. 60% of boomers report that they would like to be involved in extreme sports such as water-skiing, climbing, or rafting. Indeed, the Boomers lead the initial fitness revolution of the 20th century, where the rate of Americans who regularly exercised jumped from 24% in 1968 to 59% in 1984. Boomers recognize the importance of physical health and will continue to live active lifestyles into their golden years.
Seniors are continuing to adopt more of the tech trends and devices of the modern age. While they are less inclined to be early adopters, they are still using social media, voice recognition software, and smart devices to stay connected and get business done. Considering they have more purchasing power than millenials, expect more technology to become available that caters specifically to the needs and functions of the elderly.
If you’re looking for more senior living blogs and resources, make sure to read our informative blogs every week. They will provide answers to many senior living topics. If your thinking it may be time for your loved one to move into one of the best active retirement communities, Landmark Senior Living is the place for you. People. Passion. Purpose. That’s our mantra, and we live by it every day.
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top rated Assisted Living Facilities in the midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Matthew and the team at Landmark are dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the elderly.