And while many have certainly given up on 65 being THE DEADLINE for retirement to begin, it is still a pivotal moment in their lives.
And as this unique cohort grows older, it will change and reformat the institution of aging. These individuals expect to continue on with work in some manner if only to remain active. They expect to travel about the planet while still remaining connected to their local community if only thru social media.
Some Boomers say they will start their second or even a third career as they approach 65. With all this extra time, they expect do things that have been on their bucket list for a long time. And with advances in healthcare, they just may live to complete their bucket list and to live healthy well into their 90s and beyond.
While a product of rather conservative times, they grew up quick in the sixties and the seventies. They were the first generation of what some have called "radicals." Many left their family homes to start work or enter college and began living their own lives, changing the cultural norms as they went about their way. The listened to a new type of music called "Rock," many tried smoking pot, others had sex outside of the traditional values, even had babies and then got married.
Now these same Boomers are contemplating their retirement. And how and where they will live will determine how homes and houses will be built, remodeled and designed. The Boomers' impact on American housing will make a difference for them and for the incoming generations lined up behind.
The homes of the future will be more high-tech, be less "connected" to everything, have less square feet, more open space, been built with more sustainable materials, and very likely will be designed for multi-generational families. The big Mac-Mansions will still be around but not in the demand they were a few years back. In fact, some say these mansions will soon be white elephants.
Boomers will demand features such like specialized spaces ( think: large closets ) where all the hi-tech equipment will be located like computers, routers and printers, each connected to a dedicated Wi-Fi system. There will be fewer and fewer dedicated home offices since their laptop and tablet computers will serve as their portal to work and can do their stuff from any space.
Homes will be designed with innovative features like self-cleaning exterior finishes that rarely need to be hosed down, solar-powered whole-house battery back-ups and mini-wind generators to take them off the power grid.
For Boomers, the greatest change will be living in a home that remains accessible over time. You know... wider doors and halls, handles on doors and cabinets instead of knobs, better lighting, textured flooring materials, level door thresholds and such. Creating barrier-free spaces will permit these boomers to remain in their own place. This not only increases their independency but provides them a secure and safe haven.
So Boomers rule and they will continue to rock. And they will define their lives and the lives of the generations to come. Perhaps John Lennon saw the future when he said:
The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.
--John Lennon (1940-1980)