Do you recognize the songs “Blue Suede Shoes” or “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini?” If you do, you are probably an early member of the baby boomer generation, a generation that continues to affect the world’s economy and lifestyle. Early members of this generation born from 1946 to 1964, are now eligible for Social Security which has implications for American politics and economics. This generation learned how to work hard from their parents who experienced the Great Depression and World War II. Baby boomers were born into an era of optimism and financial stability.
As a large population mass, baby boomers changed the status quo of many practices. They laughed at Elvis’ “obscene” hip swinging and became fans of his music; adopted the Beatles and an international social consciousness for humanitarian causes; both fought and protested the Vietnam War; and shattered the corporate glass ceiling to enable women to have career choices and more equitable pay. And their impact continues as they reach retirement age and experience physical changes.
This generation also is called the “sandwich generation,” which includes people who not only care for their children and grandchildren but also their parents when care is needed. Members of this generation are not easily categorized, as evidenced by their choices in how and where they live as they grow older.
Baby boomers are growing older “their way.” When the National Association of Home Builders partnered with AARP and launched the Aging in Place (AIP) training and Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) designation in 2002, it was expected that within three years there would be an overwhelming demand for home modifications by aging boomers either needing changes to continue to live in their homes or for planning ahead. Almost 10 years later, the expected demand has not materialized because most boomers are still actively working and playing. The latest financial decline of assets has further postponed retiremen. Boomers still want to be productive citizens as workers or volunteers.