So what exactly is a baby boomer?
Boomers are defined as anyone born between 1946 and 1964.
Today, the oldest boomer is 61; the youngest 43. There are about 75 million boomers in the country, representing about 29 percent of the US population.
When enough still isn’t enough
By Amy E. Tucker
We’ve all had the same thought at some point in our careers: I only have x-number-of-years left until retirement.
Maybe the thought was prompted from a rough day on the job. Or, perhaps you’re approaching retirement age and your body doesn’t respond to the 12-hour shifts and demands of the job the way it used to. Whatever the impetus, we’ve all experienced that wistful reverie about life after retirement.
You might be surprised, however, to learn that a large group of baby boomer retirees are working as much now as they did pre-retirement. The majority of these holdovers are teachers and administrators who have stayed on to help combat the growing shortages in the field. These baby boomers can maximize their Tier I state benefit structure by retiring at age 55 (after completing 30 years of service) and collecting their pension and health benefits while earning an income on the side.
Such was the case for 60-year-old John Irving who retired March 30, after 31 years as a school administrator, to become the executive director of Community Health Services (CHS) in Burnt Hills.
“I knew I was going to retire,” said Irving, “but, how many times can you clean your garage?”
Shifting from the public sector to a not-for-profit position cut his hours and salary in half; and, by not impacting his pension, he’s actually taking home more money than before.
Irving was familiar with the services CHS provided because Burnt Hills contracted with the organization for social work services when he was the director of special education for the district. But, it was the challenges the position provided that enticed him the most.
“In education, money comes through public taxes,” he continued. “Now, I’m fundraising, grant writing and asking for donations. It’s a whole new system and terminology that’s been very reading and learning-intensive.”
Sixty-nine year old Ray Colucciello had a career in education that spanned 10 area districts over 47 years. He retired the first time at age 55, but stayed on filling in for various administrators despite the 12-hour days.
“When you hit ‘double nickels, you know that you don’t have to keep doing it,” Colucciello explained. “It’s a different attitude and psyche, so you don’t mind doing the long days.”
Though he admitted that the money was good, he stressed that he’s not “double dipping.”
“I worked 30 years for my pension,” Colucciello noted, “and now I work every day for my salary. I have to work for the second dip, and it’s a full-time job.”
With nearly half of the state’s administrators slated to retire over the next five years, Colucciello described the applicant pool of good administrators as having “dwindled to a puddle.” As a result, he’s already extended his one-year commitment to serve as superintendent at Ballston Spa, to three.
“It’s great to have leadership jobs at this stage in your career,” said Colucciello. “The board has an agenda, and you ‘set the table’ for the next guy, without the pressure of being fired or having your career ruined as a result.”
Middle school math and science teacher Larry Reith, 60, stayed on as a substitute teacher following his 2001 retirement for many of the same reasons. Though his post-retirement salary, after 33 years in the Guilderland school district, dropped from $80K a year to $6K, he stayed in it for the kids.
“I could make more working at Hannaford, than I can subbing,” Reith conceded. “But, I didn’t want to work at Hannaford. I liked the kids.”
And, he added, as a substitute he doesn’t have to do lesson plans, attend meetings or deal with staff and parents. “I just go in, have fun with the kids and go home.”
“When you retire, you miss the people and socialization the most,” agreed Colucciello. “I have 4,438 kids around every day that I can talk to.”
No one can argue that being around students will keep you young and in-the-know.
“When you’re around young people you have to stay sharp and vibrant and be a constant learner,” said Colucciello who has both a Bluetooth cell phone and a BlackBerry.
“When I got my BlackBerry five months ago, my staff said I’d never figure it out,” he laughed. “Now, they wish I hadn’t because I email them all the time!”
With no firm retirement plans on the horizon, Colucciello said he’ll stick around as long as he enjoys what he’s doing and feels he can still make a difference.
“I’m not a golfer and a vacation lasts about five days for me,” he said. “The best job anyone can have is the one they don’t need . . . the only problem is you have to get old to get that kind of job.
“I was lucky,” he continued, “because I found out through retirement that I wanted to continue doing what I had done for my entire career.”
The Fifties House
The next time you stop for a bite to eat at PJ’s Bar-B-Q on Route 9 in Saratoga Springs, be sure to check out The Fifties House just across the street. And get ready to take dozens of steps back in time.
Remember eating dinner crammed in a booth in your kitchen? Or washing your clothes in a round Maytag wringer washer? How about playing checkers or The Price is Right? Did you ever roll your hair with Spoolies?
You’ll find these and thousands of other memorabilia from the 50s and 60s in this living museum, which is possibly the largest private collection of its kind in the United States, housed under one roof.
Owned by enthusiastic boomers PJ and Carolyn Davis, who also own and operate the seasonal barbecue joint, the two bought the 1948 ranch home in 1994 with the idea to turn it into a museum of sorts for fellow boomers.
“We worked with a local decorator from the fifties,” said PJ, explaining that she based the interior colors on a piece of vintage curtain fabric.
The house opened for its first public tour in 1996 when a whopping 400 people came through on a tour sponsored by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. The tour typically focuses on the stately Victorian homes in town, but PJ approached the group and suggested adding The Fifties House to the circuit.
When he realized a local reporter was on the tour he became a little nervous. “I was a little worried about the write-up,” he said. But those nerves quickly subsided the next day when the paper’s headline read, “The 50s Alive at in Saratoga Springs House”, proving to PJ that others were just as excited about that time period as he was.
Guests have to take their shoes off before walking through the home, which is packed from top to bottom with everything you can imagine, including 10 working televisions, Life, Better Homes and Gardens and even Playboy magazines.
“The more things I have in there, the more memories I can evoke,” said PJ, who started his collection by perusing antique stores, but now primarily finds things on Ebay.
“I’m on it [eBay] everyday,” he said, admitting to purchasing things on a weekly basis.
What he seems to have the most of are kitchen items, including a working 1935 GE Monitor Top refrigerator. His favorite piece in the house is the jukebox, which holds 45’s of Buddy Holly, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, just to name a few. But, he’s excited for the arrival of his latest acquisition, another jukebox, this one with bubble lights.
Is there any item that he doesn’t have? “An original Barbie doll.” He’s also looking for a JewelT tablecloth.
The house is open for tours on Tuesday nights, the same night as the “Bar-B-Cruis-In” car show, but he plans to open weekends. “It’s just a matter of getting people rounded up,” he said.
There is a suggested donation that goes toward a scholarship fund benefiting four local high schools. Future plans include a traveling exhibit.
“What’s so appealing about the house is that in our generation there are 76 million boomers. We can go into an antique store and see one or two items and say, ‘Boy, I remember that from my childhood.’ Where can you go and see one whole house full of all this?”
The Fifties House is located on Route 9 in Saratoga Springs. For more information call 583.7427.
Taking the plunge
Boomers embrace entrepreneurial spirit
By Amy E. Tucker
Many people weary of the 9 to 5 routine, the long commutes and the corporate politics long for the autonomy of running our own business. Yet, fear of failure and the unwillingness to take the risk or adjust to a different style of living prevent the majority of us from taking the leap.
The baby boomer generation is different. They embrace the challenges of self employment and revel in their ability to break free from Corporate America. Though they opt to leave for different reasons, and pursue widely diverse occupations, a common thread of “entrepreneurial spirit” binds them all.
Fifty-year old Ken Johnson had had enough when he left Manhattan to run his in-law’s farm in Schodack, after 10 years of working in the pharmaceutical business. The commute to the city and 12-hour days played a part, but a lack of job satisfaction was the final straw.
“I didn’t feel I was contributing, or doing anything meaningful,” said Johnson. “You work crunching numbers and doing research surveys and sometimes the information is used; sometimes it’s pushed aside and not used for much.”
So the market research analyst packed up his family and moved to upstate NY to run Kristy’s Barn in Schodack, a 331-acre fruit and vegetable farm.
Growing up, Johnson had done some cash grain farming [corn, soybeans and wheat], so the transition wasn’t totally foreign to him. He took over the farm, comprising 90 acres of production land and the farm market [retail division] and diversified to include a full line of baked goods, jams, jellies and crock pickles.
“We sell a little bit of everything from pre-made salads and farm fresh eggs to chickens on a once-a-month pre-order basis.”
The family expanded the farm market and entered the “agritainment business” including school tours of the farm, seasonal hayrides and apple and pumpkin picking. They even built a new farm market. But, success has come with a price.
“Anytime you’re in agriculture, the weather is the most important factor,” Johnson explained. “This spring has been very cold and wet and we’re about two weeks behind. You have to learn to roll with the punches.”
One of those punches included the $60-$70,000 pay cut Johnson took when he left the city to go into farming.
“The work is much more rewarding, but the money isn’t,” Johnson conceded. “I was traveling a lot then. I no longer get to jet set around and you lose all of the big corporate perks.”
The Johnsons continue to grow their business including expanding into investments.
“I feel like I’m accomplishing something now,” said Johnson. “You’re your own boss. You make your own decisions and you live or die by them.”
Turning 40 was the “aha moment” for Roberta Bastow, 47, owner of a Perfect Blend espresso bar and café in Delmar. A career banker, Bastow had achieved everything she set out to do upon graduating college and as a successful senior vice president, she realized she didn’t need to be a banker forever.
“I had five bosses in three years,” said Bastow. “I loved my team and my customers, but you reach a certain level in Corporate America where it’s not fun anymore.”
Bastow spent long hours on the road traveling throughout New York and New England and enjoyed the comfort of the coffee shops she frequented along the way.
“I would plot out all of the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts along my route,” Bastow laughed.
Bucking the natural path of staying in financial services, she instead researched Internet career assessments to determine her skills and interest.
“They kept leading me to retail and customer service, but I have to sell what I believe in,” she said. “I couldn’t sell auto parts because that isn’t me. When you create a business you need to put your signature on it.”
The signature for Bastow was providing a warm setting where people could relax and enjoy the arts. The child of two artists, she attended art shows all the time. The idea for a Perfect Blend evolved from that parent-inspired appreciation.
A self-confessed workaholic, she clocks about 50 hours of “face time” with another 20-30 hours at home handling marketing, planning menus, listening to music to book musicians and coordinating room reservations and catering.
Though she admits to missing her vacation time and the money she made to spend on the vacations, she truly enjoys running her own business and accepting whatever accolades and complaints there are. Like many entrepreneurs, Bastow enjoys the ability to constantly change and work the business without having to seek approval.
She feels people leave corporate America because they realize they can run things better.
“I think corporate America does a great job of teaching you basic skills,” she explained. “A lot of skills are transferable and as a manager, you look for generic skills in employees that you can build on.”
Bastow advises anyone seeking a career change to get an apprenticeship before doing a 180-degree turn in industry. She still frequents coffee shops wherever she travels—even on the occasionally elusive vacation.
Tom Lomma loved animals and wanted to work in forestry growing up. But, his grades in college didn’t support that curriculum, and psychology courses led him in a different direction. He earned his master’s in rehabilitation counseling and spent 25 years working in human services as a program director at a not-for-profit agency for individuals with disabilities.
When one of his aging dogs began suffering with incontinence, he turned to a pet sitter to assist while he and his wife worked. When the pet sitter decided to pursue other work, Lomma purchased her business, Longpaw Petsitting Service, and followed his passion.
“The inequities in the system had begun to bother me,” said Lomma, 54. “There’s not a lot of money coming in from federal and state programs and I got frustrated with seeing people not be able to get services they needed.”
He also grew tired of corporate downsizing and handling his four job responsibilities involving counseling, programming, vocational assessment and the IT services for the agency.
The transition to pet sitting was smooth. Lomma purchased her client list and she gave him a reference to her customers. He also had the support of the local pet sitters association, Capital Area Professional Pet sitters (CAPS), who have worked to establish pet sitting as a profession.
Even with an established business and an idea of what his income would be, there were still challenges Lomma faced.
“It wasn’t a drastic adjustment, but I’ve never run a business before so there was a lot of learning to do in the beginning. It’s a totally new venture for me and it’s kind of neat to take on something like this at this point in my life.”
Demand in his business is seasonal, which means income isn’t regular, said Lomma, who works 16-18 hour days around holidays and no longer has weekends to himself.
He believes people leave Corporate America because they don’t see the values they grew up with being applied.
“When I grew up, we were oriented to the belief that there’s more to life than success and money,” he said. “We had that peace and love orientation in the 60s and 70s where it’s important to be happy, to be good and kind and treat people decently. I don’t see those [values] being prevalent in society throughout Corporate America and I think that’s why a lot of people burned out in the businesses they were in.”
Lomma said his business is not quite where he’d like it to be financially, but expects that he’ll earn about two-thirds of his previous salary when it reaches its peak.
“This is the first job I’ve had in my entire life that I look forward to getting up for in the morning.” I’m my own boss; I’m no longer at someone’s beck and call. From a mental health and physical standpoint I’ve never felt better or happier. I’ve never been sick in a year!”
It was Lisa Walker’s friend who led her from a 13-year career as a systems analyst for the insurance industry to become a chef.
“I was sitting in my cubicle waiting for the next project to come along,” said Walker who, at 46 is a young boomer. “I was bored and thought, ‘Do I want to do this for the rest of my life?’ My girlfriend pointed out that every time we talked it involved food. And, I realized I had a passion for cooking.”
Walker took a Votec program and learned the basics from the American Culinary Federation. She worked in restaurants and for Sysco Corporation, a food distributor, where she learned about pricing food, the cost of labor, what products are available and market segments. Then, eight years ago, she started her own catering business “Chef Lisa” based in East Chatham.
She creates healthy, meals for parties and for familes that are busy and don’t have time to cook or who don’t like to cook.
Walker, who’s been in the food service for nearly 11 years, began by selling cheesecakes to restaurants. Then parties started booking, and through word-of-mouth, she began to make a living.
“It takes a long time to really become a chef,” said Walker, who went back and worked in computers for awhile to make some money. “You get so much more out of being in business for yourself; I’m so much more stimulated.”
In the beginning, Walker logged 80 hours a week including research, cooking and menu design. Now, she averages a 50-hour week, but with events, it could easily reach 80 hours. She was making $25/hour in the corporate world and began as a chef making about $6/hour. Rising gas prices and the seasonal nature of her business have also proved challenging.
“You have to be creative in the non-wedding time to sell your products,” said Walker, who has worked for movie producers and catered photo shoots on the off-season to make ends meet and often misses the weekly paycheck and benefits.
“This was quite a transition to have to go out and make money, learn the business and learn to take rejection. You have to love people and what you’re doing. It’s truly a labor of love.”
Frank DeJohn, 61, wanted to do something that produced a lot of positive feedback. So, at age 55, after 26 years in high tech banking, he purchased a candy store and went into business for himself and launched Cravings on North Pearl Street in Albany.
“I’m just old enough to remember the transition from pension plans to 401Ks and when the personnel department became the human resources department. Those were pretty dramatic changes in Corporate America and it never got any better.”
Burnt out on the system and ready for a complete change, DeJohn jumped head first into the candy business. He gathered insight and advice from the Internet and a few vendors and now makes about 20 percent of his own candy.
“I’m not producing hundreds of thousands of pounds of product a year,” said DeJohn. “I try something and put it in the showcase. If it sells, great. If not, I try something else.”
DeJohn specializes in premium products for hotels and businesses downtown and has developed creative marketing to differentiate and grow his business.
“I’m marketing to corporate clients because there’s not much more I can do to drive traffic through my door,” he said. “I’ve been successful with private labeling and corporate gifts, such as a confectionary package with the hotel’s label on it.”
Though he still puts in 60 hours a week including his administrative duties, DeJohn says he’s a totally different person now.
“To be able to break out and do this you have to be financially prepared to do it. I took an $80K salary cut to go into business for myself. I used to pay more federal income tax then I take home now!”
He credits his happiness and success to having chosen something he enjoyed.
“If you can [change careers] for the love of it, and not for the money, it’s a wonderful thing,” said DeJohn. “I knew from day one I could make my expenses without changing anything and that was a huge plus.
“It’s the perfect niche. I don’t have to work nights, weekends or holidays because no one is around in this area. If I didn’t have this location and the dynamics of this area I don’t know if I’d be doing this now.”
How sweet it is…
Johnson feels an occasional pang when a plane flies overhead, but knows his quality of life has improved ten-fold.
“There are times that I look back on it and I think it would be nice to be on the jet plane flying overhead heading someplace,” said Johnson. “But, I was leaving at six am and not returning until six pm. If I was traveling, I wouldn’t see my family for a week at a time. This is time I want to be able to spend with my kids and my wife.”
Bastow enjoys being a part of the local community and providing a venue for music and arts.
“Perfect Blend is a nice, non-threatening setting for people to connect in,” she said. “The world is hectic and there’s nothing that makes me feel better than seeing our customers relaxing and enjoying what I’ve created.”
Longpaw Petsitting Service just celebrated their one year anniversary in April and for Lomma, it’s paws up.
“The great thing about my job is the pets are always so receptive to seeing me,” he said. “It’s great to be met by happy, tail-wagging clients every day.”
Like Bastow, Walker feels it’s important to take time to smell the roses. “Many people start their own business and feel they have to work 24/7. They don’t allow themselves any free time. Planning is important. You have to know how much money you want to make, but be sure to budget time off. It’s hard work, but you have to balance it for your sanity.”
“I’m a lot happier personally,” said DeJohn. “Dealing with retail on a day to day basis has been a tremendous growing experience.”
Companies seek “boomer talent” and boomers seek jobs
By Dan Moran
I am a boomer. I have reached that time of my life that years back everyone feared. That time of life when people think they have passed their useful purpose. When boomer was another work for “old”.
How wrong. Corporate America agrees as well. Being a boomer is just one more opportunity in life and boomers are discovering this. Today’s workforce consists of over 40% boomers and a vast majority are already planning to change their involvement in the workplace in some fashion. A Rutgers University Workforce Development study found that 28% of boomers are planning to work part-time or engage in other activities because they either need the money or want the mental stimulation. Another study stated, “Employment among older workers is booming. The number of workers 55 and older nationwide hit a record 24.6 million recently, with workers 65 and older jumping 44 percent over the last decade to 5.2 million.” We are not washed up – we are in demand!
Boomers are in demand and companies are courting us
The workplace will continue to need us. As we grower older as a nation, and as fewer skilled people come out of our universities, boomers will form a core of experience, knowledge and skill that will be invaluable to sustaining many organizations. This is even more critical as the nation faces yet another shortage of skilled and experience workers like we experienced in the 90s.
As a group, employers have found boomers to be excellent employees. Most older workers are known to have a better work ethic, are more dependable, tend to be more loyal and are more appreciative of having a job and care about doing a “good” job. A recently conducted study by AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) listed boomer’s assets from the employer’s perspective:
• Boomers have lower absenteeism rates and are always on time for work.
• We are more committed and less likely to job hop creating turnover which is—expensive to companies.
• Boomers exhibit better customer service and people skills and a willingness to learn new skills.
• We deliver experience—experience gained over our years that is valuable to a company who may have lost talent due to turnover or retirements.
• We are just more positive in our attitude.
Of course, the stereotype of “old” workers does continue in some companies who just don’t get it and are living in the past. Unfortunately many companies that fall into this category are the ones that need our experience, talent and commitment. As one looks through the list of companies that actively recruit boomer talent, it is easy to notice who isn’t – fast-charging technology companies who still believe in the “old” stereotype, old-school manufacturers and government, to mention a few.
Finding opportunities as a boomer
On the flip side, companies that have discovered this needed and untapped resource of talent actively recruit boomers, targeting their job messages to sources on the web, print, radio and through direct mail. There are firms that just specialize in this area – helping companies recruit boomer talent.
These companies are looking for the experience you bring, the skill and talents you can contribute and the “fit” to the job and company. How you present yourself and prepare must address each of these needs.
Before you start looking for the next opportunity, think about how you should market yourself through your resume, interview preparation and references.
Your resume – The cookie-cutter chronological resume with just the facts (company, title, dates and duties) won’t cut it. Rather, a carefully written resume that highlights your transferable skills (skills that you bring from one employer to another), your unique talents and personality is required (visit my blog www.humanresourcematters.typepad.com/mattersofyourcareer for an example). Consider investing in a professional to help write this. It is that valuable first impression before you even get to the interview.
Preparing for the interview – Before your interview, document your skills, strengths, qualifications, and of course, that one weakness you don’t mind admitting. Focus on those attributes that you can contribute to the company; attributes they may not find in a younger, inexperienced applicant.
References – Your references should be able to speak to your ability to learn new things, change when needed and validate your reliability and dependability. Prep those you plan to use as references in advance so they are prepared.
With your skill-driven resume, interview preparation and references lined up, start looking. The websites below are highly recommended:
• www.retiredbrains.com – I searched this site and found over 750 jobs listed in the Greater Capital District Region, jobs that encompassed technical, retail, hospitality, sales, customer service, etc. It’s a great source.
• www.aarp.org/working_options/home.html –On this site, you will find very good career resources and a listing of employers who employ boomers.
• www.fortypus.com–Lists jobs, resources and networking groups so you are not alone in this search
• www.matureservices.org –Lists job fairs and employment resources.
• www.careersat50.monster.com–The specialty website for boomers, from Monster.com.
• www.notyetretired.com–Includes information on starting a business, freelancing, finding a post-retirement job and more.
• www.retirementjobs.com–Free job board whose goal is to “identify companies most-suited to older workers and match them with active, productive, conscientious, mature adults seeking a job or project that matches their lifestyle”.
• www.XtremeRecruiting.com–News and articles for Baby Boomer job seekers.
• www.workplacefairness.org –A good site and blog on career issues and fairness to older workers.
• 2young2retire.com–Source of job leads, information and strategies as boomers enter their next career. Also good information on starting a business – an option many pursue (like me for the second time).
An excellent article to read is posted on www.careerjournal.com/myc/fifty/20050919-coombes.html – it lists the the 50 best companies for workers 50 and older.
And of course, my blog: Mattersofyourcareer.typepad.com
My last piece of advice is to get your head on straight. Don’t fall into the mindset that no employer would want you or that they all age discriminate. It’s not true. A friend of mine pointed out all the top CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies – by age. Almost all were well into their 50s. Good luck job searching and please share your experiences on my blog.
Dan Moran is a career & human resources consulting professional and author of two books on hiring and job hunting. He is currently Vice President of Human Resources for nfrastructure, Clifton Park, NY. Visit Dan’s blog at: www.humanresourcematters.typepad.com/mattersofyourcareer.
Online social networking grows up: move over kids, the boomers are coming
At age 59, Dell Housewright is the future of online social networking.
Social networking — connecting with people and forming communities using Web sites and online tools — used to be only for the young who meet new friends at sites like MySpace and Facebook. But the massive adoption of the Internet by boomers is changing this scene. Today, a number of social networking sites targeted toward this more mature crowd are cropping up, including Gather, which fosters thoughtful conversations and debate, and sites like 55-Alive and Eons, both of which were created specifically for 50-plus social networking. These sites are arming their users with traditional social networking tools such as profiles, which let users express their personal interests and connect with others of like minds; blogs, where “conversations” happen through posting comments and photos; and groups, which bring just a few, or thousands of people, together around a passion or interest.
“Eons is a supporting place where people can come together,” says Housewright, an author and seminar consultant who created his own blog and joined several groups at eons.com. “If you find you like the people in a group, you stay and you talk. If you don’t find a group that’s talking about what you want to talk about, you start your own group.”
More than 300,000 boomers are participating in nearly 2,000 discussion communities hosted at Eons. Topics range from “50+ Singles” — one of the most popular on the site and one where Housewright regularly converses with friends — to the playful and irreverent “Hippies for Life,” which is dedicated to “music, friends and peace,” according to its organizers. And new groups are being created by users each day.
Eons’ popularity reflects how boomers’ quest to continue exploring life and making new connections that enrich their life is fueling the social networking world. With more than 44 million Americans age 50 to 64 online, social networking among this group is poised for growth.
And the lines separating the real and virtual worlds are rapidly blurring. Housewright is an example of those who are transforming social networking from a strictly online conversation to relationships that extend into the real world — even romance for some single boomers.
After a casual suggestion in a discussion group with some of his online friends that the group should try to set up a meeting, Housewright and others began to exchange ideas. Travel was an interest they shared, so the concept took shape of organizing a singles cruise where some of them could get to know each other better.
“I thought that if we had five or six people who wanted to go, that would be good,” says Housewright, whose book, “A Boomer’s Tour of the Dating World,” will be published later this year. “As it turned out, dozens of people from all over the country signed up.” And the number will most likely grow by the time the ship pushes off from its Florida port for a five-day Caribbean cruise this summer.
Eons CEO Jeff Taylor, the Internet maverick who founded career site Monster.com in the mid-1990s, says he founded his new company last year with the goal of creating a social networking site that is the center of gravity for everything 50-plus.
“Boomers want in,” Taylor says. “They’re ready to play, and they want to be with like-minded people where they can bring all their life experiences and knowledge to bear. Eons is squarely in the middle of that conversation, creating tools that make connecting with new friends easier. When we see Dell and his group taking that leap from the online world into reality, it helps assure us that we are providing a fertile ground for those loving life on the flipside of 50.”
Traveling with grandchildren—An adventure of a lifetime
There are more than 70 million grandparents in the United States and many of them have a passion for travel, providing an incredible opportunity to share this love with the grandchildren. Traveling with grandkids offers a unique bonding activity that can’t be experienced during a family get-together or a short visit.
Travel and lifestyle expert Nan Zimmerman has partnered with BoomerTowne.com, an informational Web site for baby boomers. As a member of the BoomerTowne Council, Zimmerman has advice for any adult traveling with younger children, including grandparents who might not do it frequently.
Test the waters
While hitting the road with the grandchildren might seem like fun, younger children might not be ready to travel without a parent. Test out the waters first by visiting a nearby museum or zoo together. This can help determine whether a grandparent can handle a situation without Mom or Dad around.
Or, consider traveling with only one grandchild at a time, which allows for one-on-one bonding and saves grandparents from being sibling referees.
Planning the trip
One of the first obstacles when traveling with a grandchild is picking a location. The destination should be kid-friendly but also provide entertainment for the grandparents. All-inclusive resorts are great, as they provide activities to do together, as well as some entertaining kid-only activities.
Planning the trip can be a lot of fun, so make sure to involve the grandchildren. Once a location is selected, share pictures of the destination, brochures and maps with them. Go online to learn more about the trip together.
While grandchildren may have traveled with parents before, be sure to go over rules for the trip before embarking on the journey. Outline the consequences if the children’s behavior doesn’t measure up to expectations.
If flying, explain airport security so that a grandchild doesn’t get scared. It might also be a good idea to go over what it feels like to fly and how people behave on an airplane.
Learn about all medications a grandchild takes, both prescription and over-the-counter, and be sure to take them along. A notarized permission letter signed by parents will authorize a grandparent to have limited power of attorney over a grandchild in case of an emergency. This is especially important when traveling outside the United States.
Traveling to another country
Children of all ages are required to have a passport when traveling outside of the United States. Plan ahead and apply for a passport well in advance, as there is a long processing time. Children under the age of 14 must apply for a passport in person.
Also, be sure to check with the U.S. Embassy of the country you’re visiting and make sure you have everything you need to travel with your grandchild. Some countries may require a notarized letter authorizing grandparents to accompany grandchildren in place of a legal guardian.
In case of an emergency, such as a lost child, be sure to have a plan in place. Share it with the grandchildren upon arrival. At the hotel, show him or her how to get to the front desk and have it be a meeting place. Tell grandchildren to go to the nearest uniformed employee if they should get lost. Give them a slip of paper with important cell phone numbers, hotel name, location and phone number so authorities can contact the appropriate person as soon as the grandchild is found.
For additional security and peace of mind, if grandchildren are over the age of 12, have them carry a cell phone or walky-talky. This will allow them to contact someone immediately if something is wrong.
Courtesy of ARA Content
Personal fitness for busy baby boomers
For 68 percent of baby boomers, exercise is an important consideration in their lives. However, many of them face the challenge of not having enough time to exercise, according to the results of a survey from BoomerTowne.com.
Denise Austin, physical fitness expert and member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, understands the struggle Americans face in finding time to stay physically fit. Austin has partnered with BoomerTowne.com, an informational website for baby boomers, to help them learn how they can fit physical fitness into their daily lives.
“Many people are under the assumption that in order to achieve a physically fit body they must dedicate hours a week at a gym or constantly watch what they eat,” said Austin. “While that’s not a bad way to stay physically fit, there are simple things anyone can do to improve their diet and maintain good fitness.”
Following are some of Austin’s suggestions for fitting fitness into an active lifestyle.
Watch what you drink
Many people don’t think about it, but every time they drink a soft drink, gourmet coffee, fruit punch or an alcoholic beverage, they are adding on substantial calories. A recent study by the American Institute for Cancer Research found that about 20 percent of the average adult’s daily caloric intake comes in liquid form. An easy way to reduce these calories is by switching to low calorie drinks, such as diet sodas, unsweetened teas or water.
Water is one of the healthiest things you can put into your body. Increasing water intake helps the body set fat cells free and clears out other impurities. If it is difficult to drink eight glasses of water a day, try eating things with a high water content. Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, strawberries, squash and cucumbers are excellent starters.
Increase your metabolism
Some people have naturally high metabolisms. But by altering eating habits, anyone can naturally increase their body’s calorie burn-rate. Eat small meals throughout the day to help keep your body running at a steady pace, instead of being slowed down by digesting big meals at fewer intervals. Avoid skipping meals and small snacks. Skipping meals or eating too little throughout the day activates the body’s starvation response and actually slows the metabolic rate.
With work hours getting longer, many Americans can find it hard to fit fitness in their schedules. But there are simple exercises people can do in their everyday lives that won’t take up as much time.
For example, while talking on the phone to a friend after a day at work, instead of sitting on the couch, try “pretend sitting.” Simply find a wall and lower your back against the wall until you are in a sitting position. Hold it for as long as you can, or for up to 60 seconds and you will firm your thigh muscles, all while catching up with your friend.
Elevators are a great invention, but they don’t help burn calories. Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator. At work, instead of sending an e-mail across the office, take a break and walk over to update your co-worker. Choosing to walk instead of taking the easy way out will help boost your physical and mental health.
To learn more fitness tips from Denise Austin, visit www.BoomerTowne.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content
By Amy E. Tucker
Schuylerville resident Christine McKnight, 59, lived a sedentary lifestyle until she was 36. At 50, she learned to swim and started training for triathlons. Today, she’s entering her ninth competitive season and has twice earned a berth on the World Championship Tri-athlete team for women age 55-59.
As childhood, teenage and adult obesity reaches epidemic proportions baby boomers are countering the sedentary trend staying active and fit well into their senior years.
“Baby boomers are better educated and know how to take care of their bodies,” said Saratoga-based personal trainer Bryan Briddell, who at 54, is also a boomer. “They want a better quality of life, and are making better choices about how to take care of themselves.”
McKnight started her athletic career walking a quarter mile one day and running a quarter mile the next.
“It was a very non-threatening thing even though I’d been sedentary my whole life,” she recalled. “They were doable goals; and it’s so true that the first step is the most important.”
“Triathlons are a good sport for older athletes because the cross training helps keep them in better shape and prevent injuries,” said McKnight, who ran for nearly a decade without incorporating any other fitness or weight training into her program. Now she understands the necessity of keeping her core [torso] strong through cross training, stretching, flexibility and strength conditioning.
Briddell sees such results daily as owner of Total Fitness Solution, a personal training company, and director of Saratoga Peak Performance & Athletic Training Center in Malta that provides sports conditioning and athletic training for people aged 8 to 74.
“The boomer population realizes that joint mobility and flexibility are just as important as strength training,” he said. “The more progressive gyms are cognizant of the boomer fitness trends and are adding more mind-body classes like yoga and Pilates to their programming.”
Half of Briddell’s personal clients come to him because their lifestyle has become somewhat sedentary; the other half are frustrated with their fitness programs and come to him because they aren’t seeing results.
“The diverse interests of my clients range from seniors taking up a lifetime activity sport like golf or skiing to someone who wants to get into shape to hike the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks,” Briddell said.
According to John C. Richards, orthopedic surgeon at Schenectady Regional Orthopedic Associates since 1974, the biggest challenge for seniors is sustaining the “mental preparedness” to stay active as their bodies’ age.
“You can always find something you can do,” said Richards, 62. “If you can’t run, you can walk. If you can’t walk, you can swim. It’s the people who are depressed, because they’re losing family or some of their independence, who go down quickly.”
No pain, no gain
At 62, Sally Kolesar of Ballston Spa adjusts her activities as gracefully as she ages.
“I started to run in my 30s and took up rowing at age 59,” she explained. “Running no longer feels good; and I can’t compete physically with the 40-year-old women on my rowing team. But, the goal is to keep moving.”
Rowing is a sport that once you learn it, you can do into your 90s. It’s low impact and a good all over exercise that you can theoretically do forever. The similarities between golf and rowing intrigued Kolesar who enjoys the challenge of mastering the sports’ intricate techniques.
“You have to stay focused, with your hands and body in the right places,” she explained. “The same rhythm is repeated over and over and it’s a great challenge for your mind and body.”
According to Richards, he has been more sports-related injuries, but with people who are generally in better health.
“I tell my clients that ‘motion is lotion’ and it’s important to stay active. Our challenge as doctors is to not discourage older athletes from doing things, even though a lot of people are doing too much,” he said.
“A lot of young trainers are enthusiastic, but think if they don’t get their client sore, they haven’t done a good job,” said Briddell. “The first month is not about results, it’s about education: understanding and learning the exercises so you won’t get hurt.”
When Kolesar and McKnight were growing up, being a female athlete wasn’t considered attractive and cheerleading was the only sport available for women. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 opened doors for women athletes by prohibiting sexually-based discrimination in any activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
A staunch supporter, McKnight feels the legislation not only created opportunities for women that didn’t exist before, but it “set women up for life professionally and socially.” Having always believed she could compete in sports like her brother, McKnight’s training as a marathon runner and tri-athlete not only fueled her competitive nature, but taught her a lot about herself and life in general.
She laughed recalling the fear she felt before her first triathlon.
“I was pretty sure I could finish the race if I didn’t drown,” she joked. “Nobody drowns in a triathlon, but there’s a big difference between swimming laps in the pool versus swimming in open water. You have to face your personal demons and believe you can do it.”
McKnight lives her life every day as a tri-athlete from the way she organizes her time to the choices she makes in nutrition and friendships.
“It’s all about discipline, having an organized plan, managing your time well and believing in yourself,” she said. “The effect spills over into the workplace and everything you do once you realize that there’s nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it and prepare properly.”
In Our Life: We Loved You More
BY Louis Emory
Boomers still look to The Beatles to conjure up images of happier times when love was all you needed and peace was worth giving a chance. Their music has been a force of optimism during the turbulent times of both yesterday and today. On the heels of the latest blockbuster CD “Love” by The Beatles, Paul McCartney will release his “Memory Almost Full” album on June 4.
While the bands of today are forgotten tomorrow, The Beatles have managed to shine on with a fan base of Beatlemaniacs that keeps growing. It’s been 37 years since the band broke up and fans are still as hungry as ever to listen to the music of the boys from Liverpool.
Today’s substance-starved youth culture are digging out their parents old albums and discovering that those bands are where it’s at. Signs of this resurgence are evident on local college campuses, at music retailers and on local radio stations. Even today, The Beatles are studied in respected music programs like in the Rock History course taught at The College of Saint Rose.
“The business – it’s fast food; The Beatles didn’t write fast food. The Beatles wrote classic music,” said music professor Cliff Brucker, of Schenectady. “Their music is timeless. If you think about most pop music, it’s only meant to last a month or two and meant to be forgotten.”
The idealism, spirituality and change which The Beatles first sung about is becoming more relevant today connecting boomers with their kids. The media defined Bob Dylan as “The Voice” of the 60’s, but some will argue that, in fact, the Beatles were.
“The Beatles were the pied piper of their generation; everyone took notice when they did something. They are the visual symbol of the 60’s,” said Professor Candis Murray, a history professor from Cohoes.
“The Ed Sullivan Show” appearance was part of a promotional blitzkrieg that made girls scream, cry and buy. The Beatles were in the public eye of a hurricane from which the media never truly let them go.
“America had a void – it was the beginning of the 60’s, JFK was just assassinated, the Civil Rights era, everything was going to change,” said Brucker. “The Beatles were a perfect storm; they came right at a time when the atmosphere allowed them to happen.”
Their entire career has been highly publicized and written about hundreds of times in books. Other singers have recorded and performed their songs including Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, and most recently Panic at the Disco. Their catalog has been reissued from vinyl records, to tapes, to CDs, and within a couple months, rumor has it The Beatles catalog will be reissued again in mp3 format available by download from Apple iTunes.
On any day tuning into local stations like 98.3 FM, listeners can hear a Beatles song. Monday through Friday DJ Tom Robinson hosts The Fab Four at four. Fans are treated to four songs back to back. On Sunday mornings a “Beatles Brunch” hosted by Joe Johnson is broadcast nationwide and here in The Capital Region on WTRY 98.3 FM.
Love has been the most common theme throughout all of their songs. From the mop top days of “She Loves You” until the very end of their career when they sang “The Love You Take Is Equal To The Love You Make,” The Beatles have stayed true to that tradition of always inviting their listeners to love. While there have been many bands since their break up, none have been as influential or had a stronger hold on the hearts of millions as they have. Fans have laughed, cried and screamed for the past four decades and the mania continues to grow stronger each year as the legend of The Beatles passes into myth.
“Not everybody loved (Jimmy) Hendrix, the (Grateful) Dead, (Bob) Dylan, and (Led) Zeppelin. Everybody loved the Beatles,” Murray said.