The Challenges of the Baby Boom Generation

They are aging, and they are currently distressed from ailments and diseases that the generations before never really had to suffer through. Oddly enough, they are living longer despite these problems. Their healthcare is better than it has been before, but they are paying dearly for it. For some in this generation, getting good and thorough medical care can be a challenge.

For a few, it is almost impossible without resorting to Medicare. This generation is facing a new challenge. To either retire early, and not have enough benefits and income to help them in their senior years, or to stay in their current jobs and not see retirement until they are well into their 60s or even perhaps their 70s This generation is the Baby Boomers. They were born between 1946 and 1964. They arrived after a brutal world war, the rise of nuclear power, of racial identity and equality, and the start of the Love Generation.

They are now getting older and want to retire and find that most cannot afford to end their careers gracefully. Some prefer to stay in the workforce, even after retirement. Employers want these individuals to retire to free up space for newer and younger employees. A younger employee is less of a risk health-wise than an older employee. Most Baby Boomers find that staying in the workforce reinvigorates them and keeps them feeling young and vital. Burr, M. T. (2006) “Almost 40% of utility workers will become eligible for retirement in the next five years.

Assuming only nominal growth, by 2010 the industry will need to hire 10,000 new skilled workers each year. ” (p. 1) Finding younger workers in the utility field within the last 15 to 20 years, been relatively easy. Apprenticing with an older mentor meant the younger individual got to learn a new trade and thus, passed on the responsibility that their older mentor previously held. This also meant the younger initiate received health benefits from the company they are now working for, and the new trade the young journeyman inherited, progressed from there.

The Baby Boom generation has become unhealthier as the years roll on. Caldwell, B. (2001) explains, “About half of the people between ages 50 and 59 who made the decision to delay retirement and remain in the work force reported that they were in excellent or very good health. But, over time, their state of health has declined. ” (p. 1) Diabetes, cardio vascular disease and high blood pressure has been diagnosed more frequently in the baby boom generation, than any other before. One reason is because of easy access to food; food that is not healthy, e. g. fast food.

This may also have to do with living fiscally disabled because of perhaps living on worker’s comp, Social Security or both. For these people, able to afford good health care as well as good nutrition can be a challenge. It is getting harder for some cash strapped Baby Boomers to find affordable health care that will be there when they need it. In some cases, they will probably have to do without. This author has seen first hand, some of his friends that he grew up with, going through some of the same things that he is going through as well, like health issues, financial issues, personal issues, etcetera.

Many of them will go without health care insurance because they think they are still healthy enough to carry on without it. Some could go on Medicare, but to do it means a filling out paperwork and waiting weeks to finally see a doctor. The hope is that with current challenges faced with getting good and affordable medical care, that our president will see what needs to be done, and not let the house of representatives dictate what will be the future of health care in the United States.

Our president, whether some like him or not, will have the final say; the Baby Boomers could quite possibly, be a big influence in this area. Despite their health problems, the Baby Boomers will probably live as long as their parents and grandparents did because of the kind of medical care they are receiving today as opposed to medical care 50 or so years ago. More are taking up jobs that tend to make them happy as well as give them the benefits they need. Some employers are not offering the same kind of benefits that the Baby Boomers have seen in the past.

They are offering less in the way of full coverage benefits, and are opting to offer benefits where the aging employee has to pay more out-of-pocket for their own care. When retirement comes around, some opt to stay in their current job longer. That offsets the job pool and makes it harder for younger applicants to find good employment. According to Morris, T. J. (2011), “Even though boomers are starting to reach the magic age of 65, a large number either cannot retire or simply don’t want to. ” (A Challenge For Baby Boomers, para. ) Most cannot retire because they need the health care benefits their employer offers, so turn-around tends to be lower in this age range. Most types of companies like utility and infrastructure maintenance companies are not seeing the vast labor pool of younger employees and younger applicants coming in like they did 15 to 20 years ago. Most of the younger generation today is more apt to find work in the high tech computer industry, than their counter-parts did previously. Burr, M. T. (2006) “I worry about the quality of the labor pool,” says Howard Winkler, director of human resources strategy for Southern Co. in Atlanta. I’m not only concerned about the number of employees we’ll need to hire, but about their readiness to take on the kinds of technical jobs we need done. ” (p. 1) In other words, it will be harder to find a younger person today who wants to take up being a plumber, carpenter or lineman as opposed to 30 to 40 years ago. Those in the Baby Boom generation are staying on longer in their jobs to fill these vacancies in this particular job niche, and thus, the medical benefits for them will have to adjust accordingly. The main concern here, is that getting the younger generation to apprentice in these kinds of jobs, e. g. lumber, carpenter, lineman, electrician, etcetera, is getting harder to have them want to expend their energies into labor intensive careers, and careers that could go back many generations. Burr, M. T. (2006) adds, “During the 1990s, utilities across the country focused on reducing their operating costs in an effort to become more efficient and competitive in an increasingly deregulated industry. Utilities minimized their workforce growth by promoting people from within the organization, allowing attrition to make the staff leaner, applying labor-saving technologies, and outsourcing non-core functions where it made sense. (p. 1) In essence, the Baby Boomers will probably be the last to do these kinds of jobs, the only other way to replace individuals who did this work is to outsource to perhaps, overseas workers. Many jobs within the United States are already outsourced to other countries, and the thought of outsourcing jobs within our infrastructure may be an uneasy prospect; nonetheless, it will have to be done if we want to keep the kind of lifestyle we have grown accustomed to. The Baby Boomer generation still has many challenges to face. The future for them is still uncertain.

Their health is not up to the standards like it was 20 years hence, but they are living longer, and have the will to fight for receiving proper and affordable healthcare. Some say that the Baby Boomers tend to despise their parents, and fear their children. This individual, the author, would say that the Baby Boom generation is not through yet. There is still a much work to be done in this country and the boomers want to be there when it happens. The challenge to the next generations would be to find those individuals who will take on what those before them excelled at and to keep those traditions alive and vital.

This may be for naught since today’s young generations do not, or will not, see what’s coming around the bend for the next 50 years. They are young and will not bother with those concerns for now. Hopefully at some point, they will realize that what the generations before them had to come to terms with; that they will understand why the Baby Boomers did what they did, and will make their own determinations which will help get them into the next stage of their lives. References:

Burr, M. T. (2006). Baby Boom Blues. Public Utilities Fortnightly, 144(7), 28-30. Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com/docview/213158461? accountid=35812 Caldwell, B. (2001). The Baby Boomer Challenge. Employee Benefit Plan Review, 55(12), 6-7 Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com/docview/216896875? accountid=35812 Morris, Timothy J. A Challenge for Baby Boomers, Ezine Articles, para. 5 Retrieved from http://ezinearticles. com/? A-Challenge-For-Baby-Boomers&id=6741944


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