Baby Boomers Our children are our future; our seniors are our foundation (Wissel L. 2000). Fifty five million Americans are age fifty five and older, according to the United States Census Bureau, of that number, thirty five million are age sixty five and older. By the year 2030, the sixty five and older population will double to seventy million, and the fastest growing segment of the older population is age eighty five and older. The baby boomer generation will soon reach the retirement age, and expected to redefine old age.
Just as they have redefine every stage of their lives because boomers will be the largest generation of elderly, they will impact everything from housing to health care as the market and society caters to their wealth, longevity, and interest in new technology (Dytchweld K. 1999). The baby boomer generations also the first to have the luxury to examine personal issues and raise questions concerning work, health care, technology, politics, and social and moral issues (USA Today Magazine, November 19, 1999). No other generation reflects the complex world we live in today. The baby boomers have left their indelible mark on America’s social landscape. The baby boomers created pop culture and a new form of political activism (Breaux J.
November 1999). Education, medical advances, and technology afforded more freedom and independence. Soon America will look different; the average age of the population will go up to fifty-five. The baby boomers will have the benefits and face the challenges of longevity. Can America afford the social, medical, and political issues the aging baby boomers demand? Will our transportation system ensure more old drivers have safe alternatives? How will our national housing policy adapt to the senior boom? How about the pension and financial plans that allow older Americans to move in and out of retirement (Breaux, J. November 1999).
The size and distinct characters of the baby boomers will not only create a sense of urgency to current issues, but also create a whole new set of aging issues. Among the many cultural contributions of the baby boomers along with the free love, the drug scenes and Grateful Dead ties, was the concept of generation gap (Veith G.). In every other culture and throughout history, children were socialized to be adults. When children grew up they took their parents places, roles and their values. There was no separate subculture, no music and fashion to set off the younger generation from their parents.
Children were dressed, for the most part, like little adults, but in the mid twentieth century, American culture became stratified along generational lines (Veith G.). The generation prior to the baby boomers, after World War II, had extra ordinary prosperity and better living through technology, may have spoiled their children a little. The baby boomer generation never concentrated on learning their parent’s skills and disciplines, but worked hard on entertaining themselves. This process was helped along with not only television, but perhaps even more importantly radios and record players, which made possible the mass production and nationwide distribution of music (Veith G.) The baby boom generation has always been in the spotlight reshaping every American institution. As children, the public school systems were reinvented to meet their needs.
As young adults, music and pop culture was drastically changed by their participation. As they move towards old age, they will also redefine and revolutionize the American aging experience. Baby boomers have reaped the benefits of change. They grew up with more education and high expectations, technology and medical research have blossomed throughout their lives and they have come to expect lifestyle improvements in every turn. With their political clout, they will expect the government, corporate America, the research community and the health care sector to meet their growing needs. Government policies should encourage private sector investments in products and services to help the needs of the aging baby boomers and reflect the diversity in lifestyle, race and income of the future senior citizens.
For the last few decades the influential baby boomer segment of the population dominated the American culture virtually in any aspect. Television programming may not specifically target baby boomers, but since baby boomers fit into the prime eighteen to forty nine year old or twenty five to fifty four year old demographics that are preferred by most advertisers, the baby boomers are, by default, the biggest part of many network audiences (Walther C. 1998). Because the baby boomers capture the lion’s share of attention from programmers and advertisers, programming might change to attract the demographics. We are now seeing a change on today’s cable programming, we now see more cable network stations that cater to travel, such as the Travel Network, educational programs like the one’s shown in the Discovery Channel, technology and information systems like Tech TV and many more. The biggest network that is boosting high following from baby boomers is the Home and Garden TV (HGTV), which profiles people who have undertaken midlife career or lifestyle changes; and vacation living, a program targeting the more affluent and older baby boomer segment considering extended vacations (Walther C.
1998). Networks will also use on air talents with “a little gray hair”, use older music that is familiar to the boomers, or try to reach or alter programs for boomers to fir their lifestyle (Walther C. 1998). Music videos are even changing nowadays, Music Television (MTV) still caters to younger viewers, but Video hits One (VH1) has change their focus. Rather than focus on a general audience, they are specifically targeting baby boomers with their shows. They are featuring artists that the baby boomers listened to while growing up. Artists like the Beatles and the Beach Boys just to name a few. The supermarket of the future will be redesigned; they will carry more varieties of foods and products that will be geared towards the needs of the baby boomer segment.
Prepared take-out food, more organic fruits and vegetables, specially prepared and raised meat products are some of the varieties that we can expect to be a main staple on future grocery store. Services such as banking and laundry services will also be provided to consumers to maximize the consumer’s shopping experience. The baby boomers will influence how our food will be manufactured, the concern on health and moral values will force the food manufacturers to reshape the way they prepare and select their ingredients (Saccomano A. 1999). They have to offer foods that will benefit health or fortified products that contain vitamins and nutrients.
Since the boomers will be the leading edge of expectation and preference, with their demands on quality and convenience, will also benefit all consumers, young and old. One impact that the boomers might have on the next generation is family values. Because the boomers have singularly devoted to their personal needs and wants one consequence on that attitude of self-centeredness is the high divorce rate of baby boomers (Monaldo, F. 2000). The high divorce rates of the baby boomer generation have deprived their children parental guidance and love.
Unfortunately payback maybe looming. A new study led by Lilliana Pezzin , a Professor of medicine at John Hopkins University, documented what common sense would have predicted. Children learn from their parents, even the unintended ones (Monaldo F.2000). The children of divorced parents offer far less care for their aging parents than other children whose parents stayed together; they also receive far less financial help from their children. A large number of baby boomers may find themselves in a lonely old age cared for by institutions and uncomforted familial ties.
The generation that thought mostly of themselves may find themselves living on their own with out any family support (Monaldo F. 2000) American’s longer life span mean that many will continue to invest, and they will be spending more money during their retirement years. From age sixty-five to seventy five, they will be spending as much money as usual (Fahey M. 2001). From age seventy-five to eighty five to eighty five they will be slowing down and may want to start helping their children and grandchildren. After age eighty-five they will be spending more of their money for medicinal purposes. Investment brokerages, banking institution and financial services will benefit from the infusion of savings and financial planning that they will be involved in.
The growing numbers of baby boomers with medical situations are on the rise. In the article, A Baby Boomer Boom (Kirchheimer, B. 2001) Trent Healthcare Corporation (A For Profit Hospital), during the six month period which ended November 30, 2000, say that volume at the hospital rose twelve percent for people aged fifty one to sixty years old. They expect that the usage of the hospitals by the elderly will increase in even greater numbers in the years to come. With this knowledge they plan to focus on treating the types of medical problems they are most likely to experience: cardiology, gynecology, orthopedics, oncology and neurology.
Other fields of healthcare will be in optometry and audiology. As people grow older, eyesight and hearing are usually the two senses that will deteriorate before the body gives way. Pharmaceuticals, and drug store chains will be affected greatly by the emergence of the baby boomer into the retirement age. The youth obsessed baby boomers will want to maintain a youthful appearance, long life cycles of anti-aging creams, hair color treatments, nutritional supplements, and a host of future products that can promise to make people look and feel younger. Retirement communities will be growing tremendously, for those who are physically and mentally independent. There are more people now that are into physical fitness these days, as a result future seniors will be more healthy and capable on caring and providing for themselves.
They will have future needs for recreational activities, so businesses that cater to different types of ph …