Old. Elderly. Senior. Elder. Aging adult. Older adult. No matter what term is used, if you’re called one of these names, it stings a bit. Us so-called Baby Boomers are a unique group. And because of that, we don’t like these labels.
Here are three reasons to never to underestimate us because of our age:
Many Baby Boomers don’t feel “old.”
Ask a Baby Boomer how she feels, and odds are, she’ll tell you she feels great and that she doesn’t feel her age. Many Baby Boomers are extremely active and healthier than ever. We know more these days about the benefits of exercise and what foods are important to keep us healthy. Because of this, people are living longer, essentially pushing back the age we consider ourselves old.
Boomers continue to be drivers in the workforce
Whether out of need or out of want, many Baby Boomers are still an active part of the workforce. Part of this is because many don’t consider themselves old. According to a Pew Research Center study, most women don’t consider themselves “old” until at least 70. For men, it’s 66. Additionally, a number of studies have been published showing that remaining active and engaged in an activity you’re passionate about can stymie poor health.
More and more organizations are offering services to help aging adults stay relevant and succeed within the workforce. AARP now features information on their website about finding jobs, being a leader and fulfilling career goals. Organizations such as Employment for Seniors based in Columbus, Ohio, offer personal resume and interview counseling and maintain a database of companies that want to hire experienced workers.
Stereotypes just don’t work.
The term Baby Boomer is used to describe those born in the 18 years between 1946 and 1964. If you were around then and know even the least bit of American history, you know that the world was changing at a rate never before seen. Between wars, technology, and changes in the ways we communicated, Boomers born toward the beginning part of the generation classification had a very different experience than those born toward the end of the period.
The Baby Boomer generation is incredibly diverse and therefore hard to pigeonhole. Some of us consider ourselves middle aged and some of us, born toward the beginning of the Boom, do consider themselves senior or elderly.
Words are an important part of our culture and allow us to describe and categorize those things around us. But “old” doesn’t cut it when talking about the Baby Boomers. It might be time to introduce some new terms when referring to those of us 50+.