Many experts agree with Betty Friedan that "Aging is not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength." Unprecendented advances in healthcare technology and amassed wealth make life a happy lot for countless seniors.
Gray power is here to stay.
According to a report from the National Institute of Aging, "the U.S. population age 65 and over is expected to double in size within the next 25 years. By 2030, almost 1-out-of-5 Americans - some 72 million people - will be 65 years or older. The age group 85 and older is now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population."
The U.S. is not alone. The AARP website includes an Associated Press story that ranks Japan as the "most elderly" country, pushing Italy to second place, with the elderly making up "almost 27 million of Japan's total population of nearly 128 million". Brandchannel.com reports that UK seniors account for eighty percent of the nation's wealth and forty percent of consumer spending. The financial services industry is gearing up for the nearby demographic tidal wave of seniors in need of estate planning and retirement services.
On the jobs front, countless numbers of seniors are taking suits and briefcases out of the closet and returning to work. To help combat the ill-effects of the silver ceiling, the AARP has created a National Employer Team to bring together various companies and older workers in search of work.
It's easy to understand why hiring the 65-plus set has appeal. A company enjoys ready access to well-trained workers, offsetting an otherwise scarce supply of labor. Rehiring employees might also mean that millions of dollars of retirement benefit payments are deferred until a later date. State and federal governments realize higher tax revenues. Seniors who want to work avoid the pressure of being forced into an unwanted, premature retirement.
All in all, a good thing!
As writer Lisa Belkin aptly states in the July 2, 2006 New York Times: "The Best Part Comes in the Third Act".
So does this mean that sixty is the new thirty and that being fifty makes one a veritable youngster?
Note: The photo, taken by Jud Burkett with the Spectrum, accompanies a story about Senior Olympics.