Baby boomers, those born from 1946-1964, are nearing retirement age. By 2030, one in five Americans will be over 65. The MetLife Foundation, in conjunction with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A), has released a survey of 10,000 local US governments to gauge their aging preparedness.
N4A began the effort to make local governments aware of aging Americans' needs and making towns good to grow old in by providing proper transportation, fitness and nutrition information, and building accessibility.
The survey is just the start of an ongoing project to make aging a better experience for those entering their retirement years.
Why does it matter?
"Boomers have a lot of money and had a different type of lifestyle than their parents, so they're going to be more demanding and cranky," says Dr. Marion Somers, author of Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion's 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One. "We need to educate them to be proactive."
Somers says that the reasons for governments to step up their education to boomers are twofold: helping prevent avoidable illnesses and performing a civic duty.
"The government has to stress being proactive in educating the people because, when you make health and exercise an accepted norm, [you'll] cut down on your expenses taking care of illnesses that can be prevented using common sense," she adds.
Somers says that because the boomer population will last even longer than today's older population, they should ask this: "Do you want to be around longer healthily or dependent on care?"
1 Baby boomers have long influenced trends, from tie-dye in the '60s to minivans when they had kids. Now they're of retirement age with over $2 trillion in annual spending power.
2 In August 2005, Jeff Taylor started Eon.com, a media company geared toward people ages 50 and over, in an effort to capture the voice of the inspired boomer generation. The site reaches the active senior demographic.
3 Boomers listen to 21 hours of radio a week, according to Radio's All Dimension Audience Research. According
to comScore Media Metrix data, they also spend more time online than any other age group - an average of 22.2 days a month, as opposed to 15.2 days per month for those 18 to 24.
4 Boomers dominate the consumption of most products and play a major part in US consumerism. The demographic is doing 80% of the luxury travel and possesses 75% of the wealth in the country.
5 The anti-aging market was spurred by boomers' thirst for youth, creating an $8 million to $15 million market that has produced drugs like Botox and Restylane.