Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MIT Engages the Boomers

Yesterday I introduced the first of a series of posts about my favorite generational cohort - the Baby Boomers. It's only my favorite because I am one - I'm connected to one generation above me and three below me, but the Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) are once again front page news.

All because beginning on January 1st this year, the first Boomer turned 65 - followed by 77 million, one every seven seconds, for the next 18 years.

At the MIT AgeLab, research fellow Rozanne Puleo and research scientist Lisa D'Ambrosio are leading the research into the changing needs of boomers:

D'Ambrosio: "The fact that we're living longer than ever before has a significant implications for how we live as a society. The generation approaching retirement now (Boomers) is not planning on being relegated to the couch. They see it as retirement from a job, not life."

Puleo: "it's a matter of learning what works best and what's most user-friendly - not just Boomer friendly. We have to find solutions that transcend age."

Using scientific research methods, scientists like these two are leading the way in investigation and innovation into the life - and lifestyles - of the Boomer as they approach 65.

But it's not retirement - at least not like my parents view it.

Amy Hanson, consultant in the area of older adult ministry in the church, has made the term "the new old" a popular description of this age group. She finds several key issues for the church to consider. Here's one:

The new old are approaching aging in a much different way than preceding generations. Churches frustrated by sixty-somethings shying away from "senior adult ministries" need look no further than the name. Boomers do not like the word "senior" and they reject just about anything that smacks of old age.

(Well, there was that one time I got the senior pricing at the movies without being asked...)

Whatever the format, today's ministry with Boomers approaching retirement needs different names, fresh ideas, and a whole new approach.

What's your church doing in the areas of aging "the new old"?

1 comment:

Amy said...

Great to read these posts about "the new old". It is certainly a conversation the Church needs to be having. I think we will need some churches to be pioneers and step out and try some innovative things - perhaps fail - and then get back up and try something again. This is how we are going to begin to learn what will work (and what will not work)in regards to ministry with the boomers.

Amy Hanson