Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Boom becoming the Elder Boom

If you were born between the years 1946 and 1964, you are a member of the "Baby Boomer" generation. During this period, the U.S. experienced an exceptionally high rate of birth. If you've ever wondered about baby boomers in Western New York, you may be surprised to learn just how many boomers reside in our community. According to the 2010 census, Western New York is realizing the boomer boom with 44 percent of the people in the counties of Western New York being baby boomer or older. The baby boomer generation has had and will continue to have a profound impact on society and the economy.

We are now seeing the emergence of an "Elder Boom", both locally and nationally. The Elder Boom is expected as life expectancy increases and the Baby Boom generation ages. In the year 2015, the oldest of the Baby Boomers will be 69 years old and the youngest will be 51 - thus the Elder Boom is emerging. For the first time in history, we will have more elderly than any other age group. The fastest-growing age group in the U.S. is people aged 65 and over.

With the changing face of our elder population comes the need to rethink our attitudes and social services for elders. Seniors of this new millennium will be living on their own - healthy, active, and involved with community and family life. Programs are needed for healthy seniors and well as those who need assistance with daily living or those whose health is poor.

Science tells us that after mid-50's, 70 percent of aging is controlled by our lifestyle. Because of the large growth of this segment of the population, we are likely to see greater "clout" by the senior population, in the marketplace, voting booth, public policy and other areas of government concern. Seniors, who vote in higher percentages than any other age group now, will have even more opportunity to influence the outcome of elections. Politicians will have to work hard to satisfy this group.

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