Why create a blog on the sunset years? Because I’m a baby boomer, part of the massive bubble of babies born between 1946 and 1964, and we’re booming our way into the later stage of life. In 2015 Canadians aged 65, the traditional age of retirement, and older constitute 16 percent of the population of 35.85 million (compared to 8 percent in 1971). As only 18 percent of the boomer generation has reached 65, rapid growth will continue. In another decade more than 20 percent will be retirement aged. Ten years later, the percentage will near 25. Source: Statistics Canada
The picture’s similar in the U.S. Between 2000 and 2010, total population grew by 9.7 percent to 308.7 million, while those aged 65 years and over increased by 15.1 percent. In 2014 this age group made up 14.5 percent of the population. Source: U.S. Census Bureau
We can easily find articles bemoaning the implications of our greying population. (e.g. “Boom, Bust and Economic Headaches” The Globe and Mail). And many millennials, born between 1982 and 2004, blame us for their woes in employment and career prospects or in the real estate market.
ASSOCIATIONS OF RETIRED PERSONS
However, strength in numbers enables us to advance the positive, and perhaps reduce the negative. Take AARP, for example. Founded in 1958 with a membership of 50,000, AARP now boasts 38 million members, the largest non-religious organization in the U.S. The association still advocates its founding principles to:
- promote independence, dignity and purpose for older persons;
- enhance the quality of life for older persons; and
- encourage older people “to serve, not to be served.”
CARP, with over 300,000 members and 50 chapters across Canada, plays a central role in formulating policy and legislation to benefit older Canadians. Even better, it produces EverythingZoomer, an informative and entertaining lifestyle site for us!
Baby boomers and their organizations are reinventing retirement, the sunset years. My blog delves into various aspects of this reinvention. •