Individuals who were born between 1946 and 1964 are the Baby Boomer generation. This generation is now between their early fifties and early seventies. Baby Boomers are different from our parents, and different from the younger generations, too.
Baby Boomers And Aging
On average, seniors today can look forward to longer lives than our parents and grandparents had in the past. With advances in medical science, better health care, and healthier lifestyles, our senior years are generally healthier, too. Not only can we have more years, but more opportunities during those years.
Seniors have many choices when we are aging. Getting older does not have as many limitations. One example is the way we look after our health. Young people may be surprised to find us alongside them in the local gym. Even if we did not think about it when we were young, we realize the importance of physical fitness. We ride bikes, walk, jog, and look for sports teams solely for seniors.
Healthier diets play a role in our longevity. In recent decades, especially, we have learned which foods are good for us and which foods to avoid. When we want to stay healthy as we age, we avoid processed foods, junk foods, and other unhealthy products that were popular in the past.
Many seniors also avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits. We know the value of a good night’s sleep, and that it is much more important than late-night activities. Seniors know to avoid tobacco, drugs, and excess drinking.
Weight control is a fact of life, too. While we do care about our appearance, weight control is more about health. As the rate of obesity rises, today’s seniors try to maintain our ideal weight. With diet and exercise, weight gain does not have to be a natural part of aging.
Baby Boomers And An Active Life
Today’s seniors know the importance of staying active. For this reason, most communities with a large senior population offer many opportunities for Boomers to lead an active life.
First, there are classes only for seniors. There are classes where an aging person can learn a foreign language, how to play a musical instrument or something else that he did not learn when he was in school. There are classes for crafts, art, and other creative pursuits. Classes for seniors can be fun, enriching, and a learning experience.
Second, aging persons can enjoy everything their communities have to offer. Depending on the particular city, this may include museums, ballgames, live theater, art exhibits, tourist attractions, farmers’ markets, and more. Seniors do not have to sit at home when there is so much to enjoy.
Third, volunteering is another way for Baby Boomers to remain active. Seniors can volunteer to teach a class, assist at a local school, and find many other volunteer opportunities to help others in their communities. Seniors who volunteer are an active part of their communities, and active in their own lives. It can give Boomers a sense of personal satisfaction, and the joy that comes from helping others.
Baby Boomers And Personal Safety
Aging can present health issues that can affect personal safety. Getting older can result in failing eyesight or hearing, or limited mobility. While these disadvantages can come with natural aging, there are ways to address the issues.
The access to better health care can mean services and products to help seniors hear, see, and move about easier than when these options did not exist. Cell phones and computers designed especially for seniors are two examples. There are also products to increase home safety, and devices a senior can wear to call for help in an emergency. The devices can alert the police, fire department, or paramedics if it ever becomes necessary.
Today’s Seniors And Their Families
Unlike elderly persons in the past, more seniors today are getting older alone. One reason is fewer Baby Boomers have been married to the same person since young adulthood. Instead of simply outliving a spouse, many Boomers are either divorced or never married, and living alone.
Another difference is fewer Boomers live with, or even near, their families. Our adult-aged children may live in different states or have many responsibilities in their own lives. Whether our adult-aged children live near enough to visit, or can only call on the phone, seniors living with their extended families is not as common as it was in the past.
These issues account for why Baby Boomers are at a greater risk of isolation than elderly persons were in previous generations. As isolation can result in loneliness, it can be unhealthy. While we can join Senior Citizens groups, attend temple or church, or participate in other community activities, it is not the same as having family members present.
A non-medical home care aide is an excellent way to reduce isolation and loneliness. As aides are often young or middle-aged, they are a joy to have in our lives. Even if we do not need any health services, we appreciate the companionship with our aides.
Seniors And Financial Concerns
Similar to individuals in all age groups, every senior has his or her own financial situation. Many Baby Boomers are retired, but there are plenty of us who are still working. Whether a Boomer works because he needs the money, or finds his job to be a positive experience, large numbers of seniors are still in the workforce.
Job opportunities are useful for seniors who want or need to work. There is something for everyone. Seniors who were out of the workforce while raising children, or have physical limitations due to health issues, now have the opportunity to work.
Many communities have employment agencies specifically for older persons. You can find the job that is right for you. The hours you want to work, transportation, and skills will all be taken into consideration. With employment opportunities, you do not need to leave the workforce simply because you are getting older. There is a job for you.
Baby Boomers And Living Arrangements
Whether you reach a certain age, retire, or develop a health problem, you do not need to look for a long-term care facility. Baby Boomers want more, different, and better in our older years. In recent decades, more aging persons have chosen the option known as aging in place.
When we choose to age in place, we do not need to give up our houses or apartments. We also do not have to give up our independence or our personal freedoms. Aging in place is definitely the best choice for most Baby Boomers.
Aging in place means continuing to enjoy our familiar surroundings. Regardless of how long we have lived in the house or apartment, it is our home. Younger people may not understand how important this is to us. We are much happier when we live in the comfort of our own homes.
When we choose this arrangement, we can keep our personal possessions and our pets. We do not have to give them away. We can enjoy all of our cherished possessions, and the pets that we love so much.
Boomers who have been active and independent do not want to give up our freedom, either. As adults, we certainly do not want other people telling us when to eat and sleep, and what we must do during the day. For our peace of mind, mental health, and personal satisfaction, we Boomers want to remain in charge of our own lives.
All of these important factors would disappear if we moved in with our adult-aged children or into a long-term care facility. Seniors today are not ready to give up on ourselves or give up on our lives. There is still much we want to do while we are getting older.
Our younger counterparts, even in our own families, may not completely understand. They may only notice that we are aging, but fail to notice we still have much living ahead. While it is not an attitude our parents had at this age, it is an approach that is right for us. Aging Boomers have much to live for, and want to make every day worthwhile.
Special Concerns For Baby Boomers
Independence and freedom should not mean making foolish decisions. Even when aging in place is the right choice, there are some points we need to take into consideration.
Getting older does include some limitations. There is much we can do for ourselves, but it is unwise to never ask for help. A home health aide is one of the best forms of help available for seniors today. From reminding us to take our medications and making sure our homes are safe, to accompanying us when we attend events in the community, life can be safer and more fun when we hire an aide.
Good health is not guaranteed to anyone, but we seniors must take special care to remain healthy. We cannot afford to exercise and eat nutritious food only when we feel like it. A nutritious diet and moderate exercise must be part of our daily lives.
Unhealthy habits must be left in the past, too. If you use tobacco products or drugs, or drink too much, ask your doctor for advice on how to stop. These substances can cause health problems even if you are currently healthy.
Health care is only as useful as it is approached. Visit your personal physician as often as he recommends for examinations and any tests he may advise. Follow your doctor’s advice for medication and treatment of any health issues you may have. Visit your dentist regularly, too. Whether you have dentures, implants, or your natural teeth, you need annual exams for oral health.
Aging In The 21st Century
The disadvantages to getting older in the 21st century can be overcome with common sense, determination, and a healthy lifestyle. We may not look or feel twenty years old anymore, but we are by no means ready to call ourselves old. Not only is there much that we can contribute to the world, there is much we can contribute to our own lives, too.
You may not be certain of what is ahead, or what to do with the rest of your life. There are many people you can talk to who can give you ideas, and help you gain a healthy perspective. You can join a church group or other group in your community designed for seniors. There is much you can learn from other active Baby Boomers. You can also make new friends, and have an enjoyable social life.
You can talk to your doctor if you have concerns about aging. As he is familiar with your health history, he may have a number of ideas on activities that are suitable for you. Even if you have physical limitations, your doctor can help you find appropriate activities.
Staying active and staying healthy are priorities for Baby Boomers. Even if you have health issues, you can make the most of each day. If you have become depressed over aging, discuss it with your healthcare provider. Stress, worry, or depression do not need to take a toll on your life.
The sooner you take steps to become healthier and more active, the more you will appreciate it in the future. Young people may wonder how you have so much energy, or why you have such a positive attitude. You may not be a youngster anymore, but you know life is to be lived and enjoyed.
The 21st century may be the best time so far to grow older. Whether you have been sedentary, melancholy, or have unhealthy lifestyle habits, it is not too late to make changes. You can add years to your life, and life to your years.
If you think about it, you would not want to be twenty again. While there is much that is behind you at this point in time, there is also much ahead. With the right attitude, we Baby Boomers can appreciate and enjoy our lives.