Risky Business: Drug Abuse Among Baby Boomers On Rise – CapeNews.net

Since being established in 2008, the Falmouth Prevention Partnership has focused on strategies to help prevent substance abuse among our local teens and kids. One key strategy has been to focus on the role of parents and grandparents as the most important people who influence a teen’s decision to abuse alcohol and drugs. Parents and grandparents can provide correct information about drug and alcohol use; provide support and guidance for kids struggling to make appropriate choices; and, act as role models.

Kids who are exposed to parents or grandparents who drink excessively, use recreational street drugs, or misuse or abuse prescription medication (especially opioid painkillers) are more likely to develop a substance use problem. Also, older adults tend to use more prescription medication, especially painkillers. Having these medications around in a cabinet, on a kitchen counter, in a pillbox or a purse provides easy access to a family member or friend who might want to either sell or use the drugs. Research studies have documented that more than 60 percent of teens who start to abuse prescription opioids get the drugs from a family member.

During the past several years the partnership has sponsored several programs to educate the community about this issue. The programs include:

Lock Your Meds presentations to inform seniors and others about how to safely secure and dispose of medications;

Drug disposal kiosk in the lobby of the Falmouth Police Department and twice yearly Drug Take-Back Days;

Freckle-Face Girl ads in The Falmouth Enterprise showing a teenage girl getting painkillers from her grandmother;

Ongoing educational content in The Falmouth Enterprise and the Falmouth Prevention Partnership website (www.falmouthprevention.org).

The population of Falmouth is aging. According to the 2014 report Aging in Falmouth, in 2010 people ages 60 to 79 made up 27 percent of the town’s population and an additional 8 percent of residents were ages 80 and older. This trend is expected to continue with the aging of the baby boomer population and the increasing numbers of retirees moving to Falmouth.

Seniors And Addiction: A Not-So Silent Epidemic

More of us are living longer and more of us are abusing drugs and alcohol in our later years. Substance abuse (including misuse of prescription drugs) affects about 17 percent of the senior population. By 2020, the number of seniors with a substance abuse problem is expected to double. Much of this increase is being fueled by aging baby boomers with an estimated 10,000 turning 65 in the US per day—there are 50 million people over age 65 in the nation, and people over 70 are in the fastest growing group.

According to Dr. David Oslin, a behavioral health expert at the University of Pennsylvania, “Baby boomers appear to be carrying their substance abuse habits with them as they age.” When younger, boomers used drugs at the highest rate of any generation, and in the midst of widespread abuse of opioid painkillers, some are turning to drugs as they face the challenges of aging.

Binge drinking and prescription drug misuse are of concern in this population. Dr. Oslin noted that currently, 4 million older adults need substance use treatment, including 0.4 million needing treatment for illicit drugs, 3.2 million needing treatment for alcohol, and 0.4 million needing treatment for both. By some estimates, the proportion of older adults seeking treatment for opioid addiction will increase dramatically in the coming decade.

When we think of drug addiction, seniors are not the first age group that comes to mind; our perceptions are molded by media reports of young people overdosing. In 2012, approximately 442,000 adults ages 65 or older reported having misused a prescription drug within the past month. And, according to the Centers For Disease Control, in 2013, more than 12,000 boomers died of an accidental drug overdose—more than the number who died in car accidents or from influenza and pneumonia.

According to a study reported at a recent meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, emergency departments in the US saw a 78 percent increase in the number of visits made by older adults due to the misuse of prescription or illicit drugs between 2006 and 2012. Nearly half of the visits occurred among people ages 75 and older. And, in 2012 more than 100,000 people ages 65 and older were hospitalized for an opioid overuse problem.

The misuse of prescription drugs among older adults is related to their increased risk of experiencing chronic pain—both physical and emotional—including musculoskeletal disorders (such as arthritis, low back pain, and fibromyalgia), physical trauma (as the result of falls), anxiety, depression, loss of family members, and social isolation. Often, opioid painkillers are prescribed long-term for seniors for a chronic condition, and the use of these prescriptions may not be sufficiently monitored. Recent medical evidence suggests that long-term use of prescription painkillers is not the best way to manage chronic pain. Most seniors who develop an opioid use disorder become addicted through medical treatment of a chronic pain condition.

Taking too many painkillers, especially in combination with anti-anxiety medications, can cause forgetfulness and increase the likelihood of an overdose or a serious injury. For example, your mother or grandmother may be taking OxyContin for pain, plus be having a glass or two of wine in the afternoon and, when no one is around, she falls and breaks her hip.

Some Medication Advice For Seniors

Before starting an opioid medication, work with your healthcare provider to find alternative medications or treatments for your pain. Due to side effects and interaction with other medications and alcohol, prescription painkillers are especially risky for seniors.

If you are currently taking or have recently been given a prescription for an opioid medication, here are some tips to keep you safe and to make sure that you are managing your pain effectively:

Start with a low dose and go slow. Talk to your physician about using the lowest dose of medication to see how it works and if you experience any side effects.

Tell your physician about other medications you take. One of the biggest risk factors for overdose and death from prescription painkillers is mixing them with alcohol or other medications. The combination of benzodiazepines (sometimes prescribed for anxiety or insomnia) and opioids is especially dangerous.

Follow up frequently. To monitor your condition, your physician may need to see you frequently, in some cases monthly.

Be realistic! Don’t expect any pain medication to be a magic bullet; most only ease pain, and all of them have risks. Prescription painkillers work best for acute pain and may not be as effective overtime for chronic pain.

Keep medications safe. The misuse of prescription pain medications is a serious national problem and locally is tied to the heroin epidemic. It is important that you store your medications in a locked cabinet or lockbox and keep track of how many you’ve taken. When you no longer need treatment, bring the unused medication to the drug kiosk in the lobby of the Falmouth Police Department for proper disposal.

Taking care of yourself and appropriately managing your medications is an important way to help your kids and teens to stay safe and healthy. A healthy senior population in Falmouth helps to keep the community viable for all residents.

Dr. Bihari is a pediatrician, a member of the Falmouth Prevention Partnership, and a member of the Falmouth Public School Health Advisory Committee.

PS must step up recruitment to offset exodus of retiring baby boomers – Ottawa Citizen

Canada’s aging public service is poised for a “dramatic generational change” that is forcing the federal government to accelerate the recruitment and grooming of young talent, says the country’s top bureaucrat.

On Friday, Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick released his first report to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It lays out the public service’s accomplishments of the past year, as well as the priorities for the coming year.

At the top of Wernick’s list is recruitment and managing a “generational change” as the last wave of baby boomers, who dominated the face and character of public service for decades, retires.

“It will be important to pass on the values and wisdom of the past generations while mobilizing the energy and creativity of the new generations of public servants. I see this as a key and urgent task for the public service as a whole,” he said in his report.

Wernick said that the public service must “step up the pace” of finding, hiring and developing new public servants – including medically-released veterans who now have first dibs on job openings in the public service.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison has committed to targeting the large millennial generation while adapting the public service to make it more millennial-friendly. 

Wernick said the government will also have to accelerate its modernization plan – Blueprint 2020 – to meet the expectations of Canadians and deliver the government’s agenda.

He said rules and processes will be “rigorously” streamlined. Departments must review how their work is done. The culture must shift to focus on results rather than “activity.”

“We must become more sophisticated in defining the objectives of the initiatives we are pursuing, whether they are in policy program regulatory or service areas. The measure of an initiative cannot be the dollars spent or the number of meetings held, but rather the chance and difference made in people’s lives,” the report states.

Canada’s aging population poses challenges for the federal government to ensure it employs enough skilled people of all ages.

The public service, the largest employer in Canada, is emerging from an era of spending restraints and cuts with a smaller, older workforce of employees 18 to 65-plus. The public service now has 257,138 employees with an average age that nudged slightly up to 45 years old over the past year.

Part of the problem is that average age of new hires is now 37 and the proportion of the permanent employees under age 35 has dipped slightly. 

About 46 per cent of all public service executives are over age 50. The average deputy minister is 58; associate deputy minister is 54; assistant deputy minister 53.7 and directors and directors-general are 50.

Wernick gave no indication about whether the public service would grow with new recruitment but his report shows new hires aren’t replacing the number of people who leave. Last year, the government hired 6,093 permanent employees – compared to 2,900 in 2012 – while about 9,740 left or retired.

Departments are also hiring term, casual and student employees rather than permanent employees. The proportion of permanent employees – who make up 86 per cent of the public service – slipped as that of terms, casuals and students increased.

Departures remained stable over the past decade — other than the big blip that came with the job cuts from the Conservatives’ 2012 budget. Retirements and other departures hit a peak of 13,000 in 2012-13.

The recruitment and retention patterns are reflected in the experience levels of public servants. Today, 11 per cent of public servants have fewer than four years of experience compared with more than 13 per cent the previous year. The proportion with five to 14 years of experience increased slightly to 49.4 per cent from 48.7 per cent. Those with 25 years or more remained stable hovering at 17 per cent.

Wernick is picking up the same priorities of his predecessor Janice Charette, who put recruitment, mental health and policy development at the top of her management agenda.

Wernick earlier telegraphed mental health as a priority when he notified deputy ministers their performance pay this year would be tied to the health and well-being of their departments.

Mental health is a big issue, with depression and stress accounting for nearly half of all health claims. The government agreed to a joint labour and management task force on how to make the public service a healthy and “respectful” workplace.

Wernick’s report clearly indicates there will be no single plan when the task force releases its final report.

Rather, each department will develop its own “action plan” rather than shoehorn a master set of rules on all departments. That’s because the nature of federal workplaces varies wildly from white-collar office jobs to employees working in call centres, on Coast Guard ships, in prisons or the military.

Those plans will focus on changing culture with leadership, training, support for employees and managers, and then measuring the impact of those changes.

Wernick’s report noted that the last public service survey showed that harassment, discrimination and lack of empowerment are key barriers to a “respectful” workplace.

“These types of behaviours must be addressed,” he said.  “There is no place for them in society or in the workplace. Every manager and every employee is accountable.”

On the policy front, Wernick has taken exception to critics who argue the public service lost its policy-making skills over the Conservative decade.

His report, however, says the way policy is developed has to be modernized and a policy community project is underway to strengthen policy-making in a rapidly changing world.

“It will be important never to return to a time where policy was developed in splendid isolation from the operations and services that implement it, or the people affected by it. Nor should policy be developed in silos and stovepipes. All of the important issues facing Canada are broad and multi-faceted.”


Baby Boomers Seek Security in Annuities – WealthManagement.com

The financial crisis challenged investors’ faith in the stock market. Equities’ sharp drop during the crisis, and their up-and-down ride recently, have encouraged investors to be more cautious with their money. Baby boomers especially have re-evaluated their approach.

“Boomers are creating their retirement income strategy and looking for peace of mind,” said Eric Henderson, senior vice president of life insurance and annuities at Nationwide®. “They seek financial security and family well-being above high-risk investment returns.”

Boomers are falling short of retirement goals

Roughly 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, and that pace is likely to continue for about 15 years.  Unfortunately, the percentage of baby boomers who feel financially prepared for retirement has dropped since the financial crisis. In 2011 nearly 40 percent of boomers thought that they had enough money to retire comfortably. Today that number has dropped to roughly 25 percent.

Henderson adds that many boomers have to retire earlier than planned as the result of health problems or layoffs. Such forced retirements put additional pressure on a boomer’s finances.

Skittishness about equity markets, coupled with feelings of financial insecurity, indicates many baby boomers are looking for a reliable source of retirement income.

“For baby boomers exploring ways to fund retirement, annuities are the only product that can insure against outliving retirement income,” Henderson said. “Annuities offer a dependable income stream that offers financial advisors a good option to help their clients prepare for retirement income needs.”

Annuities are not all created equal

There are two main types of annuities: those that pay out immediately and those that defer payments to a later date. Both offer the advantage of deferring taxes until the money is paid out, as well as the option to purchase a death benefit that returns a portion of the annuity’s cost to the client’s heirs. The right kind of annuity for a particular client depends on his or her financial situation, needs and goals.

“As clients seek guidance to create a retirement income strategy, advisors can explore a wide variety of annuity product options that can be tailored to meet each client’s unique needs,” Henderson said.

For example, people who are on the cusp of retirement may benefit most from immediate annuities, which enable them to turn their savings into a regular stream of income. A deferred annuity may make more sense for clients who are years from retirement or are primarily concerned about outliving their savings.

Both immediate and deferred annuities can be fixed or variable. With a fixed annuity, payments are set at a pre-determined amount each month. This type of investment would have clear appeal to a conservative investor.

Other clients may want an annuity’s income guarantee, but also the opportunity to improve on it. These clients could consider a variable annuity. Income from variable annuities is tied to the stock market or to a bundle of investments; if the portfolio performs well, the annuity’s payout may exceed the guarantee. An investor also may choose a combination of fixed and variable payments.

“Whether fixed or variable, annuities offer benefits—such as tax deferral, lifetime income and death benefit guarantees—that today’s retirees tell us they are looking for as they create their retirement income strategy,” Henderson said.

Helping you help your clients

Annuities may help you build secure retirement income strategies for your baby boomer clients, while alleviating the anxieties of those with strong memories of the financial crisis and bear market.

Henderson notes that annuities can serve as effective components of a plan that also includes considerations about Social Security, health care and other factors. “Today’s boomers have a variety of needs and challenges, and annuities can help advisors and their clients address them,” he says. “Annuity providers also have tools and resources that can help solve a range of challenges, from maximizing Social Security to factoring a retiree’s unique health care expenses into his or her income strategy—so we can be a real partner for baby boomers and their financial advisors.”


Baby Boomers behind rising Montana gun sales – KPAX-TV


Montana is in the midst of a veritable gun boom. 

Firearm sales typically rise during presidential elections and they also increase during times of national panic.  But lately, gun sales have been up because of retiring baby boomers.

 “I’m looking to swap off or sell an AR-15, it’s a cobra.  Bushmaster,” said Tom Asbridge while pursuing the handgun selection at Axmen Firearms.

Nearly 13,000 guns were registered in the state of Montana last year, almost doubling over the past five years, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.   

The growth mirrors a nationwide trend, with the National Rifle Association saying that older Americans are a big part of that growth. The number of seniors taking gun training has also grown four-fold in five years.

“We have seen an increase in customers that are over 50.  A lot of them are looking more seriously at defensive handguns, but we do see a large clientele that are looking to pass the hunting onto the next generation,” Axmen Firearms salesman Ian Menawieland explained.

Guns are commonly used as tools and toys in Montana as more than 200,000 hunters flow into the fields and forests under the Big Sky each year. “Out here it’s a way of life.  Everybody I know has at least one,” said Asbridge.

That way of life is about providing food and having fun, but increasingly — and perhaps more urgently — it’s also about protection.

“People are really realizing that the world isn’t as safe as they believed it is, and starting to take their own protection into their own hands,” Menawieland said. “They’re starting to become more aware of some of the issues they could see and they’re now trying to go ahead and protect themselves.”

While fear of an attacker may be a deciding factor for some, others – like Asbridge — seek protection from one of Montana’s bigger, stronger and furrier assailants.

“I was in the market for a very powerful handgun, because my wife and I both work off-grid, we work in the mountains a lot, and a lot of times we’re in grizzly bear country.  Now I’m not out to kill a grizzly unless it’s chewing on my boot,” he said.

Asbridge has been shooting for most of his life. In his off-the-grid lifestyle encounters with potentially aggressive wildlife is a daily possibility.  One he takes seriously.

“I need something that’s quick, something I can carry with me because in my work I need both hands a lot so I can’t always pack a shotgun. That’s why we’re here looking,” he said as his wife browsed a selection of revolvers.

Still there are those who purchase firearms for reasons other than hunting or protection.  With each presidential cycle, the fear of gun control leads to an increase in gun sales.

“There usually is a little more uncertainty about what’s going to happen with gun rights.  We have an election coming up and people are aware of that.  Usually folks are not coming in a panic just yet, but they are coming concerned, thinking that they better get ahead of the game,” Menawieland said. 

“There’s always something in the legislature, there’s always something being proposed and of course the ATF – the governing body for firearms – is often times looking to limit rights in some way,” he added.

“I’m very uncomfortable with the fact that they’re trying to take our guns away,” Asbridge complained.  “Gun ownership, to me, along with being a 2nd amendment right, it is the fact that responsible people should be able to own a gun or as many guns as they feel necessary.”

Fear of restrictive gun laws prompt many firearms enthusiasts to stock up on weapons and ammunition, but the sudden spikes in demand can actually cause shortages as products are bought faster than they can be produced. 

Despite this, guns will probably always be a part of the lives and lifestyles of Montanans. Montana has a gun ownership rate of nearly 60% which is almost double the national average.

With that in mind, most agree that training should be the first thing in any gun owners mind.

Bigger than the baby boomers: Are millennials the new force in politics? – OCRegister

They were strangers in line at the Donald Trump rally in Costa Mesa last week, four politically inclined millennials equally divided in their support of the Republican real estate mogul and Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

As they waited, the talk turned to issues.

Student loan debt, terrorism, illegal immigration …

The line inched forward. The sun dropped. A breeze picked up.

… Climate change, equality, guns.

Brianna Collins and her twin sister, Sydney Collins, both Trump supporters, agreed with each other that people should be able to own guns. Chuck Valdez, a Sanders supporter, agreed with the sisters that climate change is happening. They all agreed with Paul Pearce, a Sanders supporter, who said there is too much money in politics.

They soon agreed to get pizza together, and even agreed on the toppings – ham and pineapple.

And they agreed on this: The political system is broken, and partisanship isn’t helping.

If shared by others of their generation, that last agreement might matter a lot.

Millennials, the 18-to-34 generation identified last week by Pew Research as America’s biggest cohort (bigger even than the baby boomers), could have an outsized impact on the upcoming election. Not only are millennials a growing demographic group, but they also are registering to vote at a rapid rate.

Their impact could be felt as soon as the June 7 California primary. A win for Trump could put him over the top as the GOP nominee. A win for Sanders could help him shape the party platform at the Democratic National Convention.

Both are political outsiders; both have disrupted their respective parties.

And, as potential agents of change, both are drawing strong opinions from millennials.

Morley Winograd, a senior fellow at USC and author of three books on the millennial generation, believes the current campaign cycle is playing out as an echo of the “hope and change” election won by Barrack Obama in 2008. Big causes, Winograd said, are more important for voters right now than the personalities of individual candidates.

For millennials, he added, a key cause is changing the existing political system.

“The system hasn’t been very good to their generation,” Winograd said. “Unprecedented student loan debt, the housing collapse … they see it as a creation of the banks, Wall Street and the system.”

Of the five remaining presidential candidates, none has tapped into the millennial generation like Sanders.

The Vermont senator made single-payer health care and free college tuition early staples of his stump speeches, and he found traction with millennials.

A Field Poll conducted last month found that 77 percent of likely voters between the ages of 18 and 29 in California preferred Sanders, while just 18 percent of that voting block preferred Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Sanders beat Clinton by 15 points among voters ages 30-39.

Valdez, 18, who attended the Trump rally in Costa Mesa, said he supports Sanders because of the candidate’s consistency on a couple of key issues – student debt and health care.

“I think health care is a human right,” he said. “To deny anyone health care is disgusting.”

Valdez registered as a no-party preference for this, his first election. That’s common.

No-party preference has been California’s fastest-growing registration group during the Obama era. Since 2008, the category has jumped from 19.4 percent to 24 percent of California’s registered voters. During that same period, Democratic registration has grown less than 1 percent and Republican registration has dropped 5.9 percent.

Millennials tend to register online, according to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. In 2014, just 425,220 California voters in that age group registered online. So far this year, the number is more than 890,000.

Between 2008 and the beginning of the year, the percentage of registered voters overall has jumped from 67.7 percent to 70.2 percent.

Dean Logan, the Los Angeles County registrar, said since the beginning of the year the county has registered 100,000 voters ages 18 to 29.

“It’s particularly high,” he said. “It’s encouraging, but that’s just the first step in the process. The next is whether they actually show up and vote.”

Chris Noble, 33, of Culver City said he wants to vote because he wants to change the system. He thinks Trump will do that.

“At the very least, it is like taking a stick of dynamite and blowing up the system,” Noble said. “It’s the bare minimum I’d expect.”

And 19-year-old Zach Smith of Hemet said he’s weary of the left-right divide. He views Trump as a unifier.

But among millennials for Trump, recent polling suggests that Noble and Smith are rarities.

In the April Field Poll, Trump was viewed favorably by just 12 percent to 15 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 39. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas fared only slightly better, winning just over 19 percent of people age 18 to 29, and just 25 percent of people between the ages of 30 and 39.

Trump struggles to connect with many millennials because of what they see as his harsh rhetoric, including calling for a ban on Muslims entering the country, building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and derogatory remarks about women.

“The (Trump) hostility toward certain groups doesn’t play well with millennials,” USC’s Winograd said. “Cruz has been a bit more effective in talking about college affordability.”

Clinton struggles with millennials – at least when compared with Sanders – partly because she’s unabashadly tied to the old-school party system, according to Winograd. But her campaign is counting on eventually wooing Sanders’ supporters, and Winograd noted that her speeches recently have been reaching out to younger voters ahead of the party convention and the general election.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri wrote that Clinton would continue Obama’s legacy – a legacy put into play when Obama, the candidate of hope and change, captured two of every three millennial voters in the 2008 election.

“We’re going to help millions of students get a good education without going into crushing debt,” Palmieri wrote.

“We’re going to fight for common sense gun safety legislation and we’re going to make sure that your paycheck reflects your hard work.”

Tips for baby boomers who are job searching – Lexington Herald Leader

Intel announced plans last month to cut its workforce by 12,000 people, 11 percent of its current headcount. Chances are, most of us were not alarmed at this news unless our paycheck had Intel on it because layoffs in the U.S. workforce have become a new normal.

Baby boomers — the 76.4 million people born between 1946 and 1964 in the United States — are being heavily impacted by recent layoffs. Roughly a third of the oldest boomers in United States are still working, and the overall majority continue to work due to financial need or because they possess a strong desire to work.

This may be daunting considering the oldest boomer turns 70 this year.

Meanwhile, the retirement age is increasing, due largely to baby boomers who are reluctant to retire because four out of 10 of them haven’t even started saving for retirement or have depleted their retirement since the recession in 2007.

So, if you’re a boomer and seeking employment, here are a few tips to secure employment:

▪  Be open to mentoring because companies are recruiting millennials and Generation X to the workforce. You have years of proven experience and can make a compelling case on how to do a job. You should develop or enhance your existing coaching and mentoring skills and during a job interview talk up your willingness to be a mentor.

▪  Networking is crucial and will only increase your job success. Recently retired Patrick Scheetz, who spent over 50 years in career services, suggests, that you identify eight to 10 individuals and establish them as networking contacts. Plan to meet with them on a weekly or monthly basis.

▪  Identify and know what you have to offer and what you want. As an experienced worker, you have a lot to offer a company and will need to have the confidence to convey it.

▪  Participate in Lifelong Learning Institutes. Get back into the classroom and stay active. There are 119 such programs on university and college campuses across the country that receive grant money from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kentucky offers more than 100 educational and enrichment courses to adults 50 years old and older. They offer courses in areas as diverse as the humanities, technology, foreign languages, studio and performing arts and wellness and fitness.

▪  Be intentional and create an action plan that will give you an advantage. Scheetz suggests drafting a list that will help clarify what resources you need to accomplish your goal. Create a timeline with a checklist. You should stay focused and consistent in your job search.

▪  Embrace technology because it is an important skill in the workplace. Stay abreast of changes in technology by taking classes at the public library and maintain an email account. Also, create a Facebook account and have an active LinkedIn profile. Don’t be afraid of technology. Take a class and be willing to learn.

▪  Accept part-time employment. America has more and more retired baby boomers who are returning to the work force for part-time work from 20 to 35 hours and not seeking benefits. This is a win/win for the employers that continue to seek the formula to increase profits.

An Oregon newspaper received internal documentation from Intel employees that indicated that Intel expects more cuts will come through buyouts, an early retirement program, site closures and elimination of certain programs. So, while boomers should plan for retirement, they should also develop a contingency plan if they should find themselves in this type of situation.

Remember, we’re in a new economy and the climate is shifting everyday. Today, we’re talking about Intel but tomorrow it could be your company.

Older works have a lot to offer an organization. Become the best version of you.

RMTC's BOOM provides dynamic look at baby boom generation – CBC.ca

BOOM is never a pandering tribute to baby boomers, but it’s also never a particularly biting examination.

It’s hard to argue that there hasn’t already been a lot said about the baby boomers. But it’s also hard to overstate the impact of the post-war generation — economically, culturally and politically.

And with his 2015 solo show BOOM, closing out the RMTC Mainstage season, Toronto-based actor-writer-director Rick Miller (still probably best remembered here for his Simpsons and Shakespeare mash-up MacHomer) finds a creative and engaging way to join that conversation, if not necessarily redefine what we know about boomers.

Which is a shame, since Miller has the advantage of being an outsider looking at the boom generation. (His parents are the boomers — he maintains he was conceived on the night Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.)

But he takes an even-handed, almost documentary approach to the subject by focusing on the stories of three people — Rudi, who grows up in post-war Austria; Maddie, raised in small-town Ontario; and Laurence, a black man born and raised in America.

Their lives eventually converge in 1960s Canada, and all provide a different vantage point on the formative years of the boomers, from the explosion of the atom bomb that ended the Second World War to the moon landing of 1969.

Rick Miller in Boom

Miller provides spot-on impressions of dozens of characters as he covers nearly 25 years of baby boomer history. (David Leclerc)

They’re joined by a host of other characters, and Miller gets to show off his remarkable talents as an impressionist, and also as a very fine actor. Besides playing his three main characters — all richly defined and expertly performed — Miller takes on everyone from Winston Churchill to Pierre Trudeau to Walter Cronkite in stunningly good impressions.

He also laces in snippets of song, impressively mimicking styles ranging from Perry Como to Janis Joplin. The songs sometimes feel like a slightly forced nostalgia trip, but most add resonance and cultural context to Miller’s smartly paced 135-minute journey through nearly a quarter-century of history.

Along the way, he explores how the boomers responded to growing up in a world that was simultaneously one of greater abundance than ever before and under the perpetual threat of self-destruction.

Through his three central characters, we see how the boom generation defined themselves from the “contained” generation that had suffered the Depression and the war, and spawned the boomers.

And containment becomes a recurring theme in BOOM, notably in Yannik Larivée’s striking set, centred around a cylindrical enclosure in which Miller performs most of the show — a sort of time capsule in which Miller explores his own family history.

Rick Miller in Boom

Striking video, still image and text projections become almost another character in BOOM. (David Leclerc)

The outer walls of the enclosure become a curved screen onto which David Leclerc’s videos, still images and snippets of historical fact are projected. Those projections become almost another performer here, with Miller smartly interacting with videos and overdubbing famous scenes (some for laughs, like Trudeau’s famous “just watch me” speech, others for great dramatic effect, like Cronkite’s announcement of John F. Kennedy’s death).

It gives the show tremendous visual flair which, along with Miller’s masterful performance, makes it consistently intriguing.

It may not be explosive in its insights into the baby boom generation, but it is deeper, and more resonant, than a simple retrospective of the boomers’ greatest hits.

BOOM runs at the Royal MTC’s John Hirsch Mainstage until May 21.

Rick Miller in Boom

While not explosive in its insights into the baby boom generation, BOOM offers more than a simple retrospective of the boomers’ greatest hits. (David Leclerc)

Baby Boomers vs. Gen Y on housing affordability – Yahoo7 News

Inter-generational arguments over affordability have again become salient in the media.

Characterisations of moaning millennials were made by Yahoo7 Finance columnist Stephen Koukoulas, prompting a response from young writer Osman Faruqi that baby boomers should choke on my soy flat white.

Confusion around the severity of housing affordability arises because dwelling prices change daily, yet the institutional papers and ABS data we look to are retrospective.

The Submission to the Inquiry into Home Ownership by the Reserve Bank of Australia in June 2015 explored ownership rates as a possible proxy for understanding the severity of housing affordability, and whether expensive housing was keeping young people out of the market.

However, the home ownership rates referenced are only measured to 2012 – before the enormous housing boom of 2013 – and therefore the submission paper does not take into account the largest and longest housing boom we have seen in over 30 years.

Graph 1 shows the House Price Index for Australia’s eastern metropolitan markets over time. The increase in the HPI from 2013 (particularly in Sydney and other east coast markets) marks an unprecedented rate of growth in dwelling values.


Source: Residex

Housing affordability is an undeniable problem in Australia today. It is measured using the ‘median multiple’, which is a measure employed by the World Bank. It is found by dividing median dwelling prices by gross annual median household income.

An indicator of 5.1 or more is considered to be highly unaffordable.

We only have median household income data at a capital city level, up to 2012.

To get a more accurate figure, I have indexed income by changes in average weekly earnings so I could work out the median multiples for each capital city. With the exception of Canberra, the median multiple is well above 5.1. In Sydney it is currently about 13.

One of Koukoulas’ main arguments was that low interest rates have made it easier for young people to take out money to afford a home. He argues that baby boomers struggled with interest rates of over 17% in the 1980s.

While I don’t deny Koukoulas’ latter statement, it is important to get a better understanding of what low interest rates actually do to affordability.

Economics literature shows Australian’s have a high elasticity of demand for houses.

This means that the more money people have access to, the more likely they are to buy houses. Low interest rates make the cost of borrowing money cheaper and access to money easier.

When interest rates are low, the cost of housing is bid up higher because more people are competing for housing. Graph 2 demonstrates the inverse relationship between interest rates and Australian median house values.


Source: Onthehouse.com.au & ABS

Low interest rates have not worked in the favour of first home buyers.

In fact, in 2014, for the first time in recorded history and while the cash rate was at historic lows, more money was lent to people who were buying investment housing compared to people who were buying something to live in (see Graph 3).

This unusual phenomenon eased shortly after APRA placed higher risk weights and investment lending restrictions on banks, however it does show that owner occupiers, some of which are first home buyers, do not necessarily benefit from low interest rates.


Home owners also faced high unaffordability in the late 1980s when interest rates increased sharply and average home loans peaked at 17%.

The cost of loans became extremely high and some were forced to sell their home or take on multiple jobs in an attempt to pay off their rapidly growing debt. On top of this, house prices fell, which left some people with mortgage debt even after they lost their home.

ABS data shows that the average loan size of owner occupiers in NSW over the 1980s was approximately $80,000, while the average interest rate increased to 17% in 1989.

Assuming a 30 year mortgage on $80,000 taken out in 1989, the total repayments work out to be around $263 per week, at a time when the average person across NSW was earning between $359 and $620 a week depending on their job status and sex.

The $263 home loan assumption represents between 73% and 42% of average weekly earnings at the time.

Today, standard home loan rates are at approximately 5.35%. In February 2016, the average loan size taken out by owner occupiers in NSW was $416,000.

With the same loan assumptions as above, weekly repayments work out at approximately $536 per week.

In November 2015, the average weekly earnings across NSW ranged between $951 and $1,712, depending on labour force status and sex, making repayments between 56% and 31% of average weekly earnings.

This analysis is fairly ‘back of the envelope’, but looking at these numbers suggests that few owner occupiers today, nor many owner occupiers in 1989, could enjoy stress free and affordable weekly mortgage repayments – which is considered to be no more that 30% of income.

Exorbitant home loan repayments persist 25 years on, but for different reasons.

A surge in interest rates overwhelmed young home owners in 1989, whereas today many young people are lucky to overcome the deposit hurdle due to enormous dwelling prices.

In the case of owner occupiers today, this is with the ‘benefit’ of low interest rates.

Ambiguity still exists in this comparison, for many reasons. For example, average weekly earnings is looking at individuals rather than households.

Young people in the 1980s were more likely to have formed double income households than young people today.

1989 was a different world to 2016, particularly in terms of the nature of the economy, technology, job vacancies and the terms of employment.

However, a lack of affordability is not so much a generational problem as it is a socio-economic problem.

Years of analysis could be done trying to understand ‘who had it tougher’, but this seems like a waste of energy.

Low income households and single parent families will face tougher challenges than members of Generation Y who are in high income brackets.

Eliza Owen is the market analyst for Onthehouse.com.au. She can be contacted here.

20 reasons baby boomers should shut the hell up about millennials – seattlepi.com

Published 5:41 pm, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

By god, if I hear one more of my baby boomer peers call millennials — the humans who were born between 1981 and 1997 — “entitled,” I’m going to withdraw my CDs, cash in all my stocks, sell my house and new cars, cancel my robust company-sponsored health insurance, take out a loan against my company-backed life insurance, shuffle around my 30-year-company-matched 401(k), grab up all my college diplomas, contact my representatives and lawyer friends to create an off-shore banking account … and … and … buy a ticket to Elon Musk’s Mars.

OK, I don’t have all those things. And, born in the mid-’60s, I’m as much Gen-X’er like Mr. Musk as baby boomer, but you get the point:

The baby boomers have lapped the cream right off the top of the milk and then turned over the bucket.

We’re talking generally here, as in very broadly, but the American boomer is one of the most pampered, self-obsessed creatures on the planet. It’s true they had their mild economic troubles and were maimed by their parents over Vietnam, but even so, no generation has ever had it so good.

And, yet, the kids are “entitled” and “don’t know how to work” and so on …

By and large, this is the world we made — we’re a giant generation that has ruled the roost for at least 30 years since our venerable War Generation parents started slipping out of control, health and mind.

Now, here come the millennials. The Pew Research Center reported Monday that the m’s have overtaken the boomers as America’s largest generation. Those pesky kids between 19 and 35 now number 75.4 million, and young immigrants will continue to grow that number in the U.S. for years.

That’s currently a million more than the retiring-at-the-rate-of-10,000-a-day booms.

Something wrong with the kids?

We gave them awards for just showing up and guided them from here to there by hand. We also filled their lives with stories of impending doom, from guns and toxins to climate death. And now we are, in fact, in the process, the very cold-hearted process, of abandoning them on a planet increasingly likely to kill them and their kids in large numbers.

Not to mention the trillion bucks in education debt. It’s their fault! They didn’t have to take out those loans!

Yeah, but there used to be a path to the middle class as wide as the Mississippi. Never mind that we TOLD them to do it and created a world around them that requires some form of post-high school education for a stable economic life … and then crashed the economy just when they need us the most.

Fear them!

Don’t get me wrong, they generally annoy the shit out of me, too, with their group-positive spirit, running around in herds everywhere, acres of elaborate tattoos, EDM and Beyoncé … the whole top-knot thing is especially baffling to me.

And, screw it, maybe they do have an entitled attitude. But it’s not like we didn’t teach them to have it.

In the end, no matter how we feel about them, there’s a bunch of ’em and they are going to be running far more things far sooner than the gripe-y Gen-X’ers. In fact, they were the key in our northern neighbors’ most recent election — the one that brought on the diversity-happy, pot-friendly, feminist and quantum-computing-slick Justin Trudeau into office and made him a rock star across the globe.

And, we’d better watch it too! They might just decide to kick us to the curb and spend our retirement on fixing the planet. After all, it was we who taught them through our actions that it’s OK to warehouse your parents, instead of taking them in and spending time with them.

Or, as a writer at Reason.com put it to his fellow m’s:

You’re not getting screwed by billionaires and plutocrats. You’re getting screwed by Mom and Dad.

Systematically and in all sorts of ways. Old people are doing everything possible to rob you of your money, your future, your dignity, and your freedom.

Basically, we boomers need to shut the hell up and do something decent for once. And while we contemplate what Denethor said in “Lord of the Rings” — “A chance for Faramir, captain of Gondor, to show his quality” — let’s take a good, hard, nasty look at what the boomers have wrought. See gallery above.

Jake Ellison can be reached at 206-448-8334 or [email protected]. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/Jake_News. Also, swing by and *LIKE* his page on Facebook. If Google Plus is your thing, check out our science coverage here.

7 Questions for the Baby-Boomer Generation's Bluntest Life Coach, Michael Kinsley – Vanity Fair

Michael Kinsley is known to Vanity Fair readers for his monthly columns on politics, the media, and society—columns memorable as much for their sly and self-deprecatory wit as for their shrewd and often contrarian arguments. The term “national treasure,” certainly as applied to himself, is one he would have some fun with. Kinsley was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than two decades ago, and in recent years he has written occasionally about the condition and how he copes with it. Meanwhile, he keeps up an enviable professional pace—and this week has published a book, Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide (Crown). Kinsley isn’t old by modern standards—he recently turned 65—but the realities of Parkinson’s have a way of bringing age and mortality into the foreground. Kinsley being Kinsley, he found the subjects hard to resist. Old Age has already won wide acclaim, for both its seriousness and its humor (not to mention for its length—it’s very short!). Kinsley drew on a portion of the book for his recent column about how the tiresome competition among baby-boomers (for toys, sex, money) has at last reached its final stage (the competition now is for longevity, sanity, reputation). I’ve had the privilege of being Mike’s editor for several years, and as his book came off the press asked him a few questions.

V.F.: One of the things you write about in your book is how, because of Parkinson’s, you have monitored your capabilities over time—capabilities of all sorts, physical and cognitive. Do you find that you’ve gotten better at some things, despite your condition?

Michael Kinsley: I haven’t gotten better at anything physical, certainly. I think I’m a nicer person as a result of this shock, but I am assured I’m even wrong there. As for physical symptoms, I‘ve got all the usual ones except that, oddly, I can type as fast as ever—provided that it‘s on a “clickety-clack” keyboard. And, as I say in the book, I am living out the old joke, “Doctor, will I be able to play the piano?”

Courtesy of Penguin Random House/The Crown Publishing Group.

Most people your age haven’t had the intense engagement with the medical profession that you have. With all that experience, what do you make of it as a system?

Let me just pass along one realization: having a chronic disease is unbelievably time-consuming. Parkinson’s, being a collection of different symptoms, is typical. It is easily a quarter-time job. Of course since that reflects mostly the accumulation and consumption of miracle drugs, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

People of every age are dependent on something or some person. What forms of dependence have surprised you, and maybe even made you think better about people or about life?

I am surprised by the people who essentially give up the last part of their own lives to care for a mother or a sister or someone else.

I’m not sure Floyd Mayweather is worried yet, but you‘ve recently taken up boxing. What’s that all about?

Lesley Stahl, one of the hosts of 60 Minutes, has a husband with Parkinson’s, and she did a segment about boxing and Parkinson’s that didn’t exactly show him turning into Fred Astaire, but was pretty remarkable in terms of improvement in his walking and so on. The next day I was walking down the street and someone was installing a huge banner that said “DC Boxing”—a new storefront. I thought this seemed like karma. I’ve only been at it a few weeks, and I can’t tell whether it helps or not, but it’s logical that it should—with hand-eye coordination, bone density, and so on.

A portion of your book that will make baby-boomers squirm is the section about reputation. You probably won’t have much choice in the matter, but how would you like to be remembered?

As I say in the book, it’s important that—in order to build a reputation in the first place, never mind preserving a reputation—as many sentences as possible that you utter or write in the course of publicizing it begin with the words, “As I say in the book.”

You’ve been writing columns for newspapers and magazines for more than four decades. Does one stand out as having had the most influence?

Over the years, I’ve written on every subject under the sun, many of them very weighty and profound (the subjects, that is—not my answers). But the one that I still get the most people bringing up is one I wrote for the New York Times op-ed page in 1981 (I think) about the difficulty of finding a place to live in New York City.

Let’s say you’re talking with someone who’s 25 and the subject of old age comes up. What’s the most important piece of advice you would offer?

Try to avoid it. There is, of course, an obvious way to avoid it. Avoid that, too. From the library of clichés about misfortune, choose a cheery one as your theme. “It could be worse,” though profoundly true, is not all that comforting. Try to do better.