Baby Boomers Get Older and Happier

I have been reading a good book titled “Older And Happier!” by Dag Sebastian Ahlander.  He has 109 handy ideas for living life to the fullest. It’s about living the good retirement life from his perspective as a happy old man.

As a retired person and a student of retirement, I could relate to so many of Dag’s ideas. They are simple but effective. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Keep in mind that time is short but life is long

He reminds us that we have had a long life and seen so many changes and events. It is not that life is short, but the time remaining is short.

He reminds us to grab hold of life right now and make something great of what is left. The road doesn’t go on forever and we are on the homestretch.

2. First and foremost: be a happy old man!

The most important is to accept your age and enjoy it’s many opportunities. Greet each morning with smile. Everything depends on your attitude and health. Let your perspective expand. Accept life’s terms and make the best of them. Forget all the bad things that have happen in your life and just move on.

3. Don’t Downsize

This is an interesting one to me since I just bought a retirement home the same size as my current home, so I must agree. He says you will need a bigger space now, because you can finally enjoy it for guests, hobbies, computer room.

4. Don’t become a micromanagement guru

I like this one. He days don’t dwell on the small things like you did for years at work. Try to see the bigger picture. Throw out old papers and things that never gave you pleasure. Don’t hoard.

5. Live in the present

Nothing says old age like living in the past. Don’t fight the times. Everything didn’t used to be better.

6. Let go of former prestige.

Men especially have identified too heavily with our careers. Give it up. The hierarchies are gone, how liberating! Talk with each other on a level field and you will have a more active social life.

Wow, that is only 6 of the 109 ideas in Dag’s book about being happy in retirement. Of course he goes into more details about the above points and others in the book. Any baby boomer leading up to retirement should read his boomer book to pick up on some of his helpful ideas. Those of us who are already in retirement can nod in agreement and be reminded of what we have learned on our own and to BE HAPPY.

 

 

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. 🙂

Make Retirement an Adventure in Western Australia

A popular retirement destination, especially for seniors with plenty of savings and a healthy income, is Australia. For seniors seeking comfortable, active, and interesting retirement villages Perth WA is a great place to begin your search.

Australia retirement villagesAs more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, we are seeing an increased interest in “adventurous” retirement destinations. This generation of retirees is more intent on taking advantage of their free time and enhancing their lifestyles than they are on slowing down. As a general rule, baby boomers in their 50s and 60s are active, adventurous, and keen on getting every drop of living out of their golden years.

No longer does retirement mean moving straight to Florida to play canasta by the poolside in your fuzzy slippers, eat discount senior buffets for supper every day at 4 p.m., and go to bed by 8. There has been a shift in the concept of retirement in the past decade or so, and many seniors are looking to foreign countries and exotic locales for an exciting “lifestyle change” upon their retirement. A popular destination, especially for seniors with plenty of savings and a healthy income, is Australia. For seniors seeking comfortable, active, and interesting retirement villages Perth WA is a great place to begin your search.

A move to Australia (many call it “the Sea Change”) can be an invigorating lifestyle change for older adults. The country’s 3 million square miles only hosts a population of 21 million, ensuring that the beauty of the natural world dominates the landscape once outside of large metropolitan areas. The variety of Australian wildlife is astounding, with many species found wild only in Australia (though you may have seen them in zoos in the States!). In addition, international studies have found that average life expectancy is high in Australia, and stress levels are far lower than most areas in the US and Europe.

If you are one of the adventurous new baby boomer retirees looking to move overseas, consider Australia’s many high-end retirement villages, found in scores of locations across the continent. Australia is blessed with a wide range of desirable retirement locations. You may enjoy the warm, Eden-like atmosphere of Toowoomba or the friendly, small-town feel of Noosa in Queensland. If you enjoy a more historical environment, Echuca on the Murray River boasts a history as a paddle steamer town, and Queenscliff is an historical port at the entrance of Port Phillip Bay. And if you’re looking for a wide variety of different Western Australian retirement villages Perth WA may have just what you are looking for.

The retirement communities in Western Australia range from densely populated neighborhoods with small, apartment-like homes to sprawling suburban communities with lots of wide open spaces and expansive family homes. Among its retirement villages Perth WA even offers eco-friendly communities for those baby boomers who want to live green. St Ives Mandurah, for example, is an idyllic eco-friendly retirement village – surrounded on three sides by water – that blends in beautifully with its surrounding environment. The homes in St. Ives Mandurah boast such elements as natural stone, iron and local timbers, harmonizing beautifully with their natural surroundings. The community has a nature trail and boardwalk around a peaceful lagoon and along the riverside as well

The city of Perth – Western Australia’s state capital – is located on the splendid Swan River, and is surrounded by spectacular outback landscapes, beautiful vineyards, and warm, uncrowded Indian Ocean beaches. The region surrounding Perth boasts beautiful coastal beaches, a Mediterranean climate (with over 3,000 hours of sun per year), and a laid back lifestyle. Western Australia itself offers seniors adventure and outdoor recreation galore, such as water sports on its many beaches, hiking in the lush green forest of Kings Park, visits to wineries, tours exploring the caves near Margaret river, and snorkeling along Ningaloo Reef

One note: Retirement to Australia may be an exciting idea, but before you get too invested in the notion, be sure to check out the Australian Retirement Visa requirements. Unless they have family members who are Australian citizens, Americans hoping to move to Australia in their retirement must have large sums of cash or assets that they will be transferring to Australian accounts, and be ready to purchase properties or make investments of $500,000 and up. Check out the retirement visa requirements here.

So, if you are a recent retiree, and want to forgo the staid, predictable lifestyle of retirement to the American Sunbelt, consider making the Sea Change. You can find an adventurous lifestyle in a beautiful and exciting retirement village in the “Land Down Under.”

Senior Communities Here Come the Baby Boomers!

Senior communities for those aged 62 and over are not so well suited to today’s Boomers, but that may be about to change as the new generation of younger seniors move in.

The active adult communities have just about everything a Baby Boomer could want.  There are amenities like exercise facilities, craft rooms, in and outdoor swimming pools, demonstration kitchens, walking trails, lakes, golf carts, gathering rooms, and energy efficient homes with great floor plans with profession landscaping maintained for you.   There are activates galore with arts and crafts,  writing classes, travel clubs, cooking demonstrations, softball, walking clubs and about 100 other activities at least. My wife says it’s kind of like living on a cruise ship with so much to do.  Yes indeed the Baby Boomers seem satisfied with the 55 and over active adult communities.  This is not to say that 55 communities will not see some changes as larger numbers of Boomers move in.

On the other hand senior living communities for those aged 62 and over are not so well suited to today’s Boomers, but that may be about to change as the new generation of younger seniors wanting to maintain independent living, move in.  Many of the residents of Senior Communities now are in their late 70s, 80s and 90s. Vacancies are now starting to be filled by younger seniors from a generation with different expectations.  Boomers are less frugal and seeking more variety and experiences.

For example, many of the Senior Communities offer on site formal traditional dining rooms with white table cloths.  Meals are included for either breakfast or lunch, then dinner, which is a formal affair.  In recent years formal dinners have been downplayed on cruise ships in lieu of the informal and casual buffet arrangement, specialty restaurants or the sandwich bistro which is  more to the Boomers liking and active lifestyle.  The same kind of changes to meals are slowly starting to take place at Senior Communities as they try to accommodate the Boomers who may not want the formal dining experience every day.  Boomers may want dinners on a terrace, or in a more modern looking setting, a bistro, or even take different meals from day to day.   Other ideas are a display kitchen, fireplace, valet parking of mobility devices, more room between tables, more window seating, room service and a Maitre D’ to overlook the operation.

Boomers are more active longer in their lives and also want more variety, thus prompting the Senior Communities to slowly change their services.  Meals are not the only thing that could change.  Boomers may want a more modern look to their surroundings and different space designs. Boomers want to be more intelligently stimulated so offering courses on different subjects would fulfill the Boomers mantra of “Life Long Learning”.  Travel and group trips to more extensive places than taking the bus to the local apple grower would be more in line with today’s Boomers who are more used to traveling than the previous generation.

As the Boomers turn in to Seniors, life at a Senior Community rather than an Active Adult Community could be more serving of their needs, but will need to evolve to serve the baby boomers with their different culture and generational expectations.  Senior communities are already doing surveys to determine what the younger seniors and future residents want.

The same types changes will need to take place at those community senior centers which have activities for seniors but no housing. Senior centers are usually run by local governments and are located all across the country in local neighborhoods.  Some senior centers are starting to provide career counseling, act to keep seniors independent, offer exercise classes, learning about health issues and some offer hot meals.

Accommodating the wave of us Boomers becoming Seniors will be a challenge to Senior Communities and Retirement Communities.  Boomers will put their unique generational mark on many things during this Third Age of our lives.