As mentioned in my previous post, we’ve taken on some activities here at Continuum Crew in celebration of Older Americans Month. As observed by the Administration on Aging (AoA) within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Older Americans Month dates back to 1963 to honor the legacies and ongoing contributions of older Americans and support them as they enter the next stage in life. The theme issued by the AoA for this year is ‘Age Strong! Live Long!’ to recognize the diversity and vitality of today’s older Americans who span three generations.
So, with 10,000 Americans turning 60 years old each day, and this cohort already outnumbering teenagers in the U.S., we thought a better understanding of these citizens was in order. This list is inspired by the annual fall Beloit College Mindset List™, designed to help college professors at Beloit College in Beloit, WI get a better understanding of their incoming freshmen students. Continuum Crew has developed a ‘Boomer Outlook List’ to celebrate the richness of experience, strength and value of older Americans. Sure, Boomers are of many backgrounds and different traditions, so these generalizations may not apply to all, but we thought this would be fun to pull together to provoke some discussion, and give you the chance to take a trip down memory lane.
Here is our list below. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment about which points you would add.
The 2010 Continuum Crew Boomer Outlook List These assembled observations attempt to identify some of the experiences that have shaped the lives—and formed the outlook—of American Boomers. Among these are collected facts about the presence and effect Boomers have in our country today.
In 2010, 2 out of every 3 people over the age of 50 in the U.S. are Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers are turning 60 years old at a rate of 10,000 per day, and this will continue for the next 15 years. The age group of people 65 and older in the United States is expected to reach 20% of the total population by 2030.
In the U.S. there are more people over 65 years old than there are teenagers.
They were raised according to the principles of Dr. Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care, a book that broke from the authoritarian tone and rigorous instructions of earlier baby–care books, and empowered mothers saying “You know more than you think you do….Don’t be afraid to trust your own commonsense….Trust your own instincts”. The book became America’s all–time best–seller at the time, only behind the works of Shakespeare and the Bible.
They have always lived in the wake of the best thing to happen to our beaches: the bikini!
Having learned to write in school using pencils, then pen and ink to learn penmanship, they are now tapping on keyboards. 83% of U.S. Boomers will use the internet regularly in 2011, up from 75% in 2006.
Being of a generation famously characterized by having mobilized for social and political change, today almost three–quarters (70%) of Boomers say they still feel a sense of responsibility to make the world a better place.
Having graduated college before we knew there was a hole in the ozone layer, Americans 55 years of age and older are now driving green product sales in the U.S., with more than 40 million Boomers actively seeking environmentally friendly brands.1
Their introduction to the foreign cuisine of Italy was none other than Chef Boyardee (and they know he was an actual person).
Roller skates had the much more stable 4–wheel configuration…and keys.
They remember the cold war, the iron curtain and who was the messenger of the news that Timmy fell down the well.
They are among the fastest-growing user groups on Facebook®.
Raccoon skin caps were all the rage, and plaid was a wardrobe staple.
Boomer women showed off their hot pants and bell bottoms, wore their Levi’s and all things tie-dyed. Now two-thirds of them report that they are purchasing apparel online, with 13% of them now only purchasing online.2
Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods and services. In fact, Baby Boomers in the U.S. constitute the 11th largest world economy.
Boomers born in 1946: Bob Vila, Candice Bergen, Cher, Donald Trump, Judy Woodruff, Ken Starr, Sally Field, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone. At the other end of the Boomer range are those born in 1964: Barry Bonds, Blair Underwood, Clive Owen, Courtney Love, Diana Krall, Don Cheadle, Janeane Garofalo, Jose Canseco and Lenny Kravitz.
Can slyly insult oblivious juniors with expressions like: “you sound like a broken record”, “she’s a Chatty Cathy”, and “you are a carbon copy”.
They know what “A little dab’ll do ya’!” will actually do.
They don’t have to search in Google Images to find out what an 8–track looks like (or Wikipedia to learn what it was).
Grew up with a solution to the lost TV remote control: they didn’t have one. They remember their first television—and their first one in color too.
They lived through the terrifyingly futuristic year of 1984 and the odyssey of 2001.
Phones actually rang, and most everyone’s sounded the same; and rotary had some relevance to phones, not just a local club.
Sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, ginger root, multi–grain bread and tortillas were exotic foods.
They know the ‘day the music died’.
Child car safety meant mom having both arms around you in the front seat.
They remember the original Brangelina: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Driving through a fast food establishment had much more costly implications.
Despite having witnessed great strides in the advances of technology in their lives there are things that used to be easy but now are difficult, like opening a bottle of Tylenol® (safety caps) and understanding dialogue in action movies.
Have long since doubted the true motivation of any woman named Mrs. Robinson.
Cereal didn’t always come with ‘surprises’ inside—but laundry soap did!
A penny actually bought something (and something good too): candy.
Lastly, Boomers have some great mentors. Exemplary of the ‘Age Strong! Live Long!’ theme of 2010 Older Americans Month, Centenarians (people 100 years of age and older) are the fastest growing demographic cohort in the country.
For more information about the AoA’s May is Older Americans Month, visit: olderamericansmonth.org.
1Boomer Quarterly Report, It’s Good to Be Green: Socially Conscious Shopping Behaviors Among Boomers, AARP Services, Inc. and Focalyst, 2007