BURDEN TO SOCIETY? I. DON’T. THINK. SO.
By Barbara Raynor, Boomers Leading Change in Health, East Denver LIVING WELL Magazine
Ever since the leading edge of Baby Boomers began turning 65, much has been written about us, the largest, healthiest, most affluent, best-educated generation in American history. Not much of it has been flattering. It seems as though the bulk of the conversation has focused on the “burden” our sheer numbers will place on society as we age—never mind the benefits our collective good health, wealth, knowledge, and experience might bring to the party.
To set the record straight, Baby Boomers are not going to take this aging thing lying down. Just as “change” has been the watchword of our generation for the past 65 years, so will it continue to define us as we shape the next stage of our lives. We still have much to contribute to society, and we intend to keep on contributing—in the workplace, through service to our communities, and by remaining open to new concepts and ideas.
More than half of all Denver-area Baby Boomers say they will continue to work either full- or part-time after “retirement.” More than 75% say they wish to volunteer. And about two-thirds say they plan to continue learning, not necessarily to pursue a formal degree, but simply for the love of it. Rest assured, the only “rockin” we’ll be doing as we get older will take place in a packed concert venue—not on someone’s front porch!
As the saying goes, “Of those to whom much is given, much is required.” Boomers, as a generation, have received a great deal over the past 65 years—from our parents, our teachers, our communities, our country. But we have also given much in return. By serving as the engine behind some of the most significant social and cultural change ever to take place in American history, we have helped make a real, meaningful, and lasting difference in the world.
And lest the rest of society think we supposedly “burdensome” Baby Boomers are tired, worn out, or—heaven forbid—OLD, understand this: we have always been a force to be reckoned with. And we are not done yet.
Barbara Raynor is the managing director of Boomers Leading Change in Health, a ground-breaking grassroots effort dedicated to improving the health—and access to healthcare—of people across Metro Denver by mobilizing Adults 50+ as volunteers.