DON’T WISH ME A HAPPY SENIOR CITIZENS DAY!!!!
Today is National Senior Citizen’s Day, but don’t plan on saying Happy Senior Citizen’s Day to any Baby Boomers (those born from 1946-1964), even those who are senior citizens according to our societal indicators! Of course, at what age is one technically a senior citizen? I thought I would look into that a little and here’s what I’ve found.
The oldest Baby Boomers are now over 65 and the youngest are all over 50, as of this year. In a Del Webb (developers of over 55 communities) Baby Boomer Survey in 2010, with the oldest of the Baby Boomers then being 64, more than half said that “senior citizen” didn’t apply to them because they didn’t “feel” like a senior. They described themselves as being active and young at heart. In the same survey, 96% of the 50 year olds rejected the term “senior citizen.” The 64 year olds who didn’t mind the term felt so because they liked being eligible for senior discounts!
When asked when “old age” begins, both the youngest and the oldest boomers gave an age well beyond where they were. Specifically, the youngest said age 78, while the oldest said age 80.
I’ve always heard that “old age” is always 20 years older than we are. I can live with that!
Did you know that the term “senior citizen” wasn’t even coined until a 1938 political campaign to be used instead of “old person?”
OK, so when do we really become a senior citizen? Some say it’s when we get that dreaded AARP card in the mail when we turn 50! Yikes!!! Nearly every Baby Boomer I know suffered a little trauma when that card arrived! Of course, that card does provide us with some discounts starting at the age of 50.
Many chain restaurants offer senior citizen’s menu for those over 55. Frankly, I have never once ordered from the senior citizen’s menu at any restaurant. I’ve never see the best menu items on there.
I’ve seen department stores with senior citizen discounts given as young as age 55, some at 62 and others not until 65.
Over age 55 communities are sprouting up all over which means that someone at age 55 can be considered a senior citizen and move into a retirement community with those who are 20-30 years older than they are. I’ve heard that “Senior Citizen Centers” are going to have to change their name to something more palatable for the Baby Boomer population.
Legislatively, senior citizen applies to the age at which pensions, social security or Medicare benefits for the elderly become available. In the United States, we are eligible to retire with full social security benefits at age 66 for Baby Boomers. We can retire early at age 62, but only get a portion of our retirement benefits. Because of the increases in average life expectancy and stresses on the federal budget, Congress passed legislation to gradually increase the full retirement age from 65 to 67 by 2027.
My point in all of this is that there’s no real standard age at which we become a senior citizen and, also, that it’s different for each individual. But, for most of the Baby Boomers, we are changing the face of being a senior citizen. We are redefining old age and aging, just like we changed every stage of life compared to previous generations. I am proud to be a Baby Boomer. We are not going quietly into old age. Maybe Woodstock was 45 years ago, but we are still ROCKIN’ IT!!!
My passion in my coaching is to help everyone “make the rest of their life the best of their life.” If you are interested in making Positive Life Decisions and Healthy Aging, please reach out to me for a one-hour Complementary Consultation.
Here’s to Healthy Aging,
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” ~Betty Friedan