Rewirement the New Retirement
Fortunately, many Boomers are already heeding her: They’re consulting or already planning their lives after traditional retirement. “There are two interconnected trends for boomers,” Kennedy explains. “One trend is moving toward early retirement. The other trend, because they see aging differently and themselves in more vital terms, is that they are working beyond the traditional retirement age.”
She adds that 80 percent of Baby Boomers say they plan to continue working in some form past 65 — half for continued earnings and the other half to follow their passions. “I know people this age who had a list of things they wanted to do when they retired,” she adds.
Retirement was once an inevitable stage of life with a predictable plan and conclusion. But, as Kennedy points out, retirement is no longer a static event but a transitional life stage in which Third Agers seek new purpose to their lives. They rewire, retool, reformulate.
Communities and institutions are changing with then, such as so-called NORCs, Normally Occurring Retirement Communities, in which people continue to live in their homes and neighborhoods as they age rather than move into traditional senior-only developments.
Today’s senior centers, for example, are differently named and configured. “You will see fitness equipment, yoga spaces and computer rooms now,” Starns says. Health is still a focus, but it’s not so much health care as it is health improvement and vitality.
“Before, the centers were based on a system in which everything was set out for you: Here’s where you do puzzles or play pool, and everybody accepted it,” she continues. Today, she explains, older Americans, with Boomer finesse, are determining what their centers contain and what their goals are.
Traditionally, the senior center served lunch, provided entertainment, offered special interest classes and provided a safe environment for predominantly singles to socialize, explains Dan Taylor, who has been the CEO of East Valley Adult Resources in Mesa for 20 years.