Activism in Retirement: Boomers
by: Patrick Wilson
With the largest portion of our population nearing or entering retirement, the world is changing fast for Boomers. Healthcare has become an immediate concern for many already. The cost of healthcare is already becoming a burden to many as the retirement they planned for did not include an economic crash, or skyrocketing healthcare costs. They certainly didn’t expect to worry about whether the police would murder their grandchildren.
The Baby Boom Generation has contributed abundantly to social change in their lifetimes and have reason to be proud of their historical accomplishments. Civil Rights, Anti-War, LGBT, Women’s Rights and the environment are all areas they made major progress with over 5 decades. Born between 1946 and 1964 to parents that had survived the great depression and two world wars. Boomers were most active as agents of change during the sixties and seventies, most transitioning to the role of breadwinner or parent in the eighties and nineties. Those most passionate to their causes either joined or started nonprofits, and rose to leadership roles in their communities.
As the Baby Boomers reach retirement age they are confronted with choices about healthcare and retirement income that can seem staggering. Many of the choices made upon retirement can affect quality of life for many years to come. At the same time they are now more attentive to the world around them, especially as it affects their families and loved ones. Their children are unsettled financially, and the future is uncertain for their grandchildren.
As Boomers transition from their professional lives they will have many years left to contribute to social justice and community building. Not only will they receive gratification from the utilization of their hard earned skills for positive change, but they can also begin again to achieve personal growth.
As the largest portion of our population, Boomers have a great amount of power. Their power in in working as a collective, not only financially, but by doing, teaching and of course learning. There are many dignified roles for Boomers in our society as they retire. Below you will find a few ways to get started.
- Support each other!
- teaching and Learning!
- Financial Contribution!
Support of each other! This is perhaps one of the most important things you can do. There are many organizations and programs to help people feel their way through the transition of retirement, but support from peers is very reassuring and helps get it all done. For some, there may be complications, and those people deserve every bit of dignity that can be given.
Doing! With Boomers rich history in activism, they have much knowledge collectively about what can be done. It just may have been a few years, or maybe they didn’t get so involved in things in those days. Getting started is easy!
- Vote, and help register others to vote in local as well as national elections.
- Get familiar with both local representatives and those sent to Washington D.C.. Attend event’s, write letters, make phone calls.
- Find local groups and organizations that work to better a particular top that you are passionate about.
- Use your organizing skills to organize a group to meet a specific challenge if it does not exist.
- Find and support independent media sources that present a less biased view than major media sources.
- Lend your acquired expertise to an organization that really needs your help.
- Use your privilege to effect positive social change.
Teaching and Learning! With a lifetime of experience and knowledge, and decades ahead to use them, why not put these things to their most important use? Teaching them! Whether in a professional capacity at your local community college or volunteering at a local organization. Knowledge and Wisdom have always been handed down. With increased intergenerational interaction will come the opportunity to also learn. The Millenial Generation come with many unique skills that Boomers will find very helpful in their retirement.
Financial Contributions! Many Boomers find themselves in a position of wealth management. You have the ability to directly effect positive social change in several ways. You can make choices about the products that you purchase, as well as where you purchase them from. This can directly impact a local economy, and you sometimes can see the difference that you make. You can also contribute to one of the many organizations struggling to make positive change. Many have absolutely no budget, and can produce quite a noticeable change in an area that you feel passionate about. Money, Food, and Supplies are necessary in any struggle.
Boomers understand idealism and how to get things done. The world needs their participation to make a better world possible. With perhaps a third of their life left, Boomers have a choice to make. Do they still want to make a difference? The benefit will be felt by their grandchildren.