Baby Boomers and The Changing Landscape of Aging
This week I read an article in The Sacramento Bee and I was smiling and nodding my head throughout the entire thing. Everything the reporter said is right in line with what I’ve been discovering as I talk with church leaders and boomer-age adults across the country.
Here are just a few points from the article that those of us in church ministry should consider:
• Boomers want different things then the Builder generation. In the article, a director of a local senior center noted that the boomers wanted the shuffleboard court removed in order to put up a new fitness center. It doesn’t take much for us to take this and make a connection to ministry. New programs and activities will be required to reach the new old.
• Baby Boomers want to serve but in a different way. Here’s a quote from the article, “Older seniors wanted to answer the phone at the desk one day a week and do their job and go home,”…Baby Boomers need a project. They want to do something worthwhile and utilize their talents. They want to be involved.” I am finding over and over again that boomers want to do more than staple papers and fold newsletters. Let’s find ways to fully engage them in ministry.
• Boomers want to age in place, which means they want to stay in their own home. Because of this, building contractors will be asked to widen doorways and adjust counters to accommodate their needs.
• Boomers are attentive to their health. One way of reaching out to boomers in our communities is by providing resources for them to improve their health. For example, a fitness class held on your church campus or a biking group where churched boomers invite their unchurched friends.
• Boomers have buying power. This one really made laugh because the article said that 61% of Baby Boomers whose kids have left home remodel their kitchens. My parents, born in 1946 and 1942 just did this! But on a more serious note, how can we help the boomers in our churches understand how to use their financial resources for Kingdom work? Many of these people have spent a lifetime accumulating – now they need some guidance as to what to do with it.
This article has some great insights. Take a look at the whole thing here and then post a comment about what you are doing in your ministry to respond to the different characteristics of the boomer generation.