A number of years ago at The American Academy of Audiology convention, the keynote speaker (whose name I cannot remember) spoke about communication and how the various generations differed in values, goals and reward systems. He spoke eloquently about the Boomers (and nailed us I thought), the Millenniums, Gen-X., and the new generation which comprises my sons. I remember thinking “So that’s why my sons do……” He told a story comparing Gen-X to Prince Charles. Every day, the prince’s man wakes him saying, “Your Majesty, good news and bad news. The Queen still lives.”
One of the big defining traits of Gen-X (born from 1960-1990) is that they want us Boomers to retire and get out of their way, so that they can strut their stuff and show the world what they are capable of. But they can’t do that until we Boomers get out of their way. And we Boomers are indicating that we will never do that.
Now a new study suggests that the Gen-X will NEVER have their day in the sun. The new study which was announced on the CBS morning show this morning, links retirement to dementia and that every year you do NOT retire and continue to work decreases dementia by 15%. The hypothesis is that working keeps your mind active and your having to maintain a daily schedule is only a positive for your brain.
Duh…..I think we all knew that. Looking at my Dad’s generation, the people who do not socialize and whose lives revolve around the TV and eating their daily meals are nowhere as sharp mentally as my father who still goes into the office daily, is active from sun-up to sundown, and whom I still cannot keep up with. My Dad’s mental faculties are so sharp that he does all the accounts payable for their business.
Retirees who maintain a daily schedule, get dressed every day as if they were going to work, have activities which require them to interact with others, volunteer or even have a part time gig are in better shape mentally that those who don’t. As they said on TV this morning, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
I think we Boomers will be smarter in retirement than the previous generation. Already, I see my friends who are retiring delight in activities they can pursue which they never had the time for when they were in the working world. One of my friends has helped launch a study program for seniors in her home town. Another moved to Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University, so he can enjoy the music, lectures and university life that are offered to the community. Another is active in his son’s business while his wife is a justice of the peace and specializes in marrying couples. There is no down time for these people.
As for me, I can never see completely retiring. I would be too bored. I will enjoy sleeping to 8 or 9 in the morning but beyond that, I need to be busy in order to feel healthy. This is something I learned about myself many years ago. I hope that all of you have learned that about yourselves as well. It is a shame that someone had to finance a study to confirm to us Boomers something we already knew.