Boomers Redefined Youth, Now They are Redefining Aging

Seniors having fun in silly hats

Remember when age 60 was old? And retirement conjured up images of outdated fashion, an aversion to anything different, aimless hours spent doing nothing and the notion that the best part of life was over?

Yet today’s iconic baby boomers — Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep — just don’t seem “old”. Now those over 60 often look and feel younger than their parents did at that age. And many are working, having adventures and trying all sorts of new things.

As boomers age and live longer, they’re redefining retirement culture.  Let’s see how.

Trend-Setting Seniors

Boomers don’t want to look like their parents, but they don’t want to look like their children either. Although 10 percent replace their wardrobe every season to keep up with fashion trends, a third say stores catering to them feature unfashionable clothing. Savvy retailers are responding with trendier, form-fitting styles and higher quality fabrics.

From Holly Hunter to Diane Keaton, more senior stars are featured in roles that explore their complexity and sex appeal. Of course, we all know that beauty and confidence is ageless, but this increasing acceptance through pop culture has been empowering, leading more and more boomer women to experiment with extravagant skin care regimens and makeup trends.

Blogs like Une Femme d’un Certain Age are surging, as women over 60 strive to break the antiquated notions of how to look their age. In her popular blog, That’s Not My Age writer Alyson Walsh proudly proclaims, “It’s not about my age; it’s about style. And this is for every woman who refuses to be invisible.”

From Woodstock to Oldchella

Like they’ve always done, baby boomers refuse to stand still. They refuse to let age hold them back. And with 70 percent of the nation’s disposable income, they are willing and able to spend big on concerts, travel and entertainment, like the Desert Trip music festival held at the Coachella grounds. Nicknamed “Oldchella”, concert-goers shunned flower crowns and body paint in favor of gourmet food packages and luxurious grand-stand seats. The performers under the palm trees? Classic rock legends like Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones.

Desert Trip is a testament to the spending power of boomers. Weekend passes starting at $399 sold out within hours. And the festival took in more than $160 million during its weekend run — doubling Coachella’s $84 million record and becoming the most lucrative music festival in history.

Fitness Over 60

Barre, Tai chi, Pilates, yoga — you name it, and boomers have tried it.

In previous generations, people over 60 were carrying canes and living in their recliners. But the days of bingo and shuffleboard are over. Many boomers now expect to live 30 years beyond retirement. And they intend to live it well.

They’re hitting the gym, playing pickle ball, running marathons and even skydiving. In fact, 60 percent of boomers want to be involved in extreme sports. That means more rafting, climbing and waterskiing for the age 60-plus set.

All this activity is good news for senior health. Since chronic illness is more closely tied to lifestyle choices than age, fit boomers can hope to maintain good health well into their 80s.

Seniors Get Tech Savvy

Aging boomers are also keeping up with tech trends. While they may not be early adopters, boomers are using smart devices, voice assistants and social media.

With 30 percent more purchasing power than Millennials, tech companies see boomers as the next big growth opportunity. Seniors have already moved into Facebook and LinkedIn. Expect to see them on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter as well.

The Future is Golden

This generation that redefined adolescence brought the world Woodstock, pop culture, counterculture and classic rock. Now they are redefining aging with the same spirit of creativity, experimentation and rebellion. For boomers, the best part of life may just be yet to come.    

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