Porter Novelli

Within the next 20 years, the 65 and older population will double.  We have been hearing about this more and more since 2011, when the Baby Boomer generation began seeing 65 candles on their birthday cakes.   This generation has trail blazed through every life stage and this trend will continue as they enter the over 65 phase.  So what should we expect?

There is no longer a retirement age. Many Boomers cannot afford to retire as early as their parents did, if at all. Boomers are living longer, healthier, more active lives.  For some Boomers, it will be more of the same after 65 as they continue their jobs to maintain a steady income for a longer period of time. Look for more generational training in the workplace as Millennials become managers of Boomers and the communications opportunities that offers.  Some Boomers are embracing a second career, exercising their entrepreneurial spirit.  Resources like AARP Life Reimagined  are popping up, for Boomers itching to define this important next phase of life. Some may pursue more education, especially as college towns increasingly make the “best places to retire” list.

Seniors from the LGBT community face a whole new world.  It wasn’t until 1973 that homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, formative years for Boomers. When they were young, the term “LGBT” did not exist. “Mentally ill” or “criminal” were words often linked to homosexuality.  Having experienced this type of stigma first-hand, LGBT Boomers often remain cautious when broaching topics critical to future security.  For instance, they may present themselves as roommates, friends or just single adults when considering assisted living communities, or hide their relationship status from financial planners. Experts at the Human Rights Campaign point out how much more research we need in this space, through federal survey inclusion and data collection, to get a better picture of what the daily lives of LGBT older Americans truly looks like.

Boomers aren’t ready for their long-term care needs.  The sheer numbers of the Boomer population have driven conversations for years about the demands health care and community infrastructures will face. Expect those to continue.  The Administration on Aging estimates that 70 percent of people 65 and older will need some kind of long-term care, which Medicare does not cover. Yet less than one-third of people over the age of 50 have begun saving for this kind of care.  Boomers have the power but need to be convinced they can help redefine long-term care.

In the coming weeks, we will be exploring more aspects of aging in America, discussed recently at Porter Novelli’s New Age in Aging Panel, the highlights of which can be viewed here.