Time Magazine got it wrong. Naming Mark Zuckerberg “Person of the Year” is okay but a better choice would have been the first Boomer to turn 65 in 2011. That person, whomever he or she may be, is at the forefront of a tsunami that will change our world.
NPR reported this morning that beginning on Saturday, January 1, 2011, more than 10,000 people a day will reach retirement age–65 years– every day . . . for the next 19 years. Think about that: 10,000 people a day, 365 days a year, for the next 19 years. Talk about transforming our society! This is a group that has revolutionized the world—from “music to race relations,” as NPR points out. What will aging, coupled with a pronounced zest for living, mean for us?
The focus of the NPR report was about Boomers’ retirements being in jeopardy because “baby boomers have not saved very effectively for retirement and are still retiring too early.”
It looks like, for this segment of the population, that working longer or living differently will be key to their success in navigating the aging process.
The question on my mind is whether this will truly represent the tipping point for brain fitness. It look quite a while for physical fitness to become mainstream; first there was there was JFK and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and later Jane Fonda in her leg warmers; even though physical fitness is now “mainstream,” we still we don’t exercise enough. Will the Boomers understand that you can keep yourself mentally sharp just as you can keep your body fit . . . through systematic, proven exercise? Will they realize that working longer can be just as fulfilling if you’re still at the top of your game and that brain fitness is the way to keep that edge? It seems like we’re standing at a threshold. Health is increasingly a function of proactive self-care. The Boomers are going to show us how to manage that in the context of aging and I believe that brain health and fitness are integral parts of the equation.