Boomers are Seniors. Really?

Boomers Becoming Seniors

Back when I started retiring at age 58 I bristled at being called a senior.  I didn’t mind taking a senior discount but please don’t call me a senior, especially a senior citizen. I even called the major’s office and suggest they named the new center “Active Adult Center” rather than just a “Senior Center” and they agreed and did that.  I protested on facebook that boomers would never be seniors, we are just different, and need a new name or simply call us Boomers.

Fast forward 6 years to today and I have changed my mind about that.  Getting ready to turn 65 in a few months, I now accept that being called a senior is not too bad.  I still don’t think the “senior citizen” applies too well to the baby boomer generation.   I love to ask for the “senior discount” every chance I get.  If senior means being over the age of 55 or 60, then so be it.  So a baby boomer forever but now a new title, that of “Senior”.  They even renamed the center to “Senior Adult Center” and that’s OK with me.

I had written an article Senior Communities Here Come the Boomers about how it’s starting to change to accommodate incoming baby boomers and someone commented: Boomers are Seniors. I agree, even though Boomer Seniors are not the same as the Senior Citizens of the older generations.  So I think the article was correct, that there will be some changes in retirement communities to accommodate our baby boomer needs and wants as we become Seniors. On another post I made the same type point that Boomers are Replacing Seniors on Cruises and cruises are becoming less formal and more to the boomers taste.

Senior Citizen Age

According to Wikipedia, the age for the status of “Senior Citizen” is the age which one qualifies for government social security benefits, that traditionally being age 65.  They also say “Senior Citizen” is a polite term for an “elderly person”.   Also if you are retired, you might be a “senior citizen”.  In my book, let’s just take it one step at a time and stay with “senior” for a while before getting into “senior citizen” or “elderly person”.  Not ready for those quite yet.

Boomers Are Seniors

In marketing you see a real mixture of the terms boomers and seniors.  Interestingly AARP’s web site title includes the term “Baby Boomers” but nothing at all about “Seniors”.  AARP membership is open to age 50.  Some other marketing materials including web sites use terms like “older persons”, “the retired”, and “mature”  but commonly use both “boomers and seniors” just to have the bases covered and not to target just one age demographic.  In truth, there is not one solid senior generation anymore, but several groups including us older so-called leading edge boomers, seniors from the silent generation who grew up in the 40’s and 50’s and the boomers’ parents, the so-called Greatest Generation.

Conclusion

At the end of the day this labeling seems to be the domain of the marketing types as they try to reach us boomers becoming seniors and supply what we are looking for.  The way a product is labelled does matter and can help us determine if it’s what we are looking for.   But there is no longer a big enough difference between the terms boomers and seniors to make a difference but that is not the point.  The point is that this whole process will be changing and will be disruptive and who knows what the final outcome will be. There will be changes made to accommodate the boomers becoming seniors. When will boomers retire, where will they retire to and in what type of retirement housing will we live in?  No one knows for certain yet, but it will not the same for the boomers now becoming seniors as it has been for other older groups.  Nor should it be.  The boomer generation has changed everything else along the way, now it our time to define senior living.

Update: Now at age 67 it makes even less difference. The name boomers has held up pretty good but some of the establishment still calls us seniors. Whatever. 🙂

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Robert Fowler

Robert Fowler is President of Retirement Media Inc. Check out Robert's blog at BoomerPlaces.com

3 thoughts on “Boomers are Seniors. Really?”

  1. My very first visit to your blog. I have to commend you for your efforts on Boomer health. Didn’t want to mention “senior.” lol I’ve been an avid blogger and fitness coach myself for years and you don’t see a lot of weight loss information for boomers. I love your positive outlook on where you are and highly respect that fact. Having that faith is important.
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