A call to arms Fowler Tribune
It’s time for us to reassert ourselves and use our large numbers to get what we deserve.By us and we, I’m referring to me and you, my fellow Baby Boomers.
America’s baby bust isn’t over. The nation’s birth rates last year reached record lows for women in their teens and 20s, a government report shows, leading to the fewest babies in 32 years.
The provisional report, released Wednesday and based on more than 99% of U.S. birth records, found 3.788 million births last year. It was the fourth year the number of births has fallen, the lowest since 1986 and a surprise to some experts given the improving economy.
The fertility rate of 1.7 births per U.S. woman also fell 2%, meaning the current generation isn’t making enough babies to replace itself. The fertility rate is a hypothetical estimate based on lifetime projections of age-specific birth rates.
Whether more U.S. women are postponing motherhood or forgoing it entirely isn’t yet clear.
If trends continue, experts said, the U.S. can expect labor shortages including in elder care when aging baby boomers need the most support.
“I keep expecting to see the birth rates go up and then they don’t,” said demographer Kenneth M. Johnson of University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy.
He estimates 5.7 million babies would have been born in the past decade if fertility rates hadn’t fallen from pre-recession levels.
“That’s a lot of empty kindergarten rooms,” said Johnson, who wasn’t involved in the report.
Other experts are not concerned, predicting today’s young women will catch up with childbearing later in their lives. The only two groups with slightly higher birth rates in 2018 were women in their late 30s and those in their early 40s.
“Our fertility rates are still quite high for a wealthy nation,” said Caroline Sten Hartnett, a demographer at the University of South Carolina.
American women are starting families sooner than most other developed nations, according to other research . Other countries are seeing similar declines in birth rates.
Young Americans still want to have children, but they don’t feel stable enough to have them yet, said Karen Benjamin Guzzo, who studies families at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
The U.S. could do more to encourage childbearing with parental leave, preschool expansion and child care subsidies and other policies aimed at helping young adults struggling with student loan debt and housing costs, Guzzo said.
Births were down across racial groups, with small declines for Hispanics, whites, blacks and Asians. The number of babies born to native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders was stable.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report also found:
—Overall, the U.S. birth rate for women ages 15 to 44 was 59 births per 1,000 women, an all-time low.
—Last year, there were 2% fewer births than in 2017.
—Births to teenagers again reached a record low. The number of births to mothers ages 15 through 19 was 179,607, down 8%.
—The rate for premature births — delivery at less than 37 weeks — rose for the fourth straight year to just over 10%, from 9.9%.
Follow AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson on Twitter: @CarlaKJohnson
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
I am retired and have the time to look back at how we grow up. I can now see that while keeping a busy schedule and eating often myself, my brothers and sister never had to worry about any weight problem. At home we had a big garden which was a pain to take care of. First off having to till the ground with a shovel and plant all the seeds. Then pulling the weeds, carrying the water to water the plants. From barrels which were placed under the rain spouts to save for the garden. Then picking the beans, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, beets, and digging up the potatoes was a chore which we all hated. Never any weight loss thoughts at that time of our lives though.
Oh yes, the sweet corn patch was a whole different deal. It got planted by the farm machinery one row at a time. This was to have more than one harvest date, so we had corn on the cob much longer than anyone else in the neighbor hood. By planting with the farm equipment it could be cultured with the farm equipment also. This accelerated our thoughts of getting to relax a little more.
But as with cultivating a corn or bean field the grass and weeds growing in the row still had to be manually folded or cut off. So we would walk the fields to rid them of what the cultivator missed. This task provided the kids some spending money. If we helped the neighbors it turned into much more spending money for us. It also kept us busy all day exercising without having to go to a nonexistent exercise gym at the time. We never had to do any diets to stay slim or lose weight.
By now the hay fields were ready to harvest, attach the mower to the little John Deere and head for the field. Mow the hay down and hope for no rain for 3 days of good sunshine to dry it out which would cause the garden to need more water carried to it.
Then rake the hay into windrows and hire the neighbor to come and bale it. He dropped a hay rack behind the baler so we would get the pleasure of stacking the bales on the moving rack. This turned out to be my job as I was the only one with balance enough to throw or stack the bales on a moving platform or hay rack. The gopher holes and uneven soil made for a bumpy ride, not to mention the hill sides. Which challenged our ability to stack the bales in a manner which tied them selves together so they would not slide off the rack.
The neighbor liked my style so he hired me to ride the hay rack all summer long baling that he done. I got a penny for each bale which earned me a whopping $ 5.00 a day to the highest day we had was $ 44.00 for me. Not bad pay for a teenager, I stayed with it until I graduated from high school.
It was only when we set out on our own that weight became a problem. Eating more junk food because it was easier to prepare or more readily available to us. The fact that mom made us eat what was on the table seemed cruel to me. But looking back now was a lesson well taught by me.
I have never had any health or weight problems. Even today 50 years after getting out on my own I do not really watch what I eat, I eat from a habit I learned earlier in life. I like the fruits and veggies I had to eat while still living with the folks (moms eat whats on the plate idea or nothing) idea drve me to unwittingly acquire a taste for the healthy foods.
Unlike my siblings which are still fighting weight and health issues. When they left home they thought they knew more of what was good for them so they changed their eating habits. In a very short time (compared to a life time) they became obese and have been struggling with weight loss ever since. They jumped from one fad diet to another, sometimes over eating, sometimes starving them selves only to have their immune systems messed up.
They are now fighting with diabetes, stroke, and weight problems. While our parents (92 years young) and I are still healthy and slim. I do not have to take any medications at over 65 years young.
Value of any treasure discovered is always dependent on the quality, uniqueness, and scarcity of the particular items. Attics have always been the source of great treasure hunts for years, as well as the source of great agony.
For families who have to clear out and dispose of their valued treasures, it is difficult. Time and patience is a valuable commodity when sorting and clearing attic treasures. Care and concern should be given with all items as there may be items that have both monetary and sentimental value, or NOT. If you are sufficient enough to find one or two pieces in that category, then you need to decide what to do with them. Even finding a piece or two with sentimental value only – something you had long forgotten about it – will be a wonderful discovery.
Once the Treasure Hunt is complete and the "stuff" has been categorized what happens now?
For the items you have decided to keep, it depends on the situation you and the family are in; you might be moving so will these items move to new location or will you be taking them to your home? Or you may be staying for a while longer so that will require repacking and labeling the contents of the carton or bin. Be sure to put a date on the bin so you know how long ago you last viewed the contents. Put these repackaged and organized containers neatly in a designated space for future access.
Now, you need to take away the items designated as trash, donation, give to family, or sell.
For items that you really feel have monetary value but you do not know what it is, I recommend consistently that you pay for an appraisal from a qualified independent appraiser, who knows furniture or artwork. By having an assessment of the pieces in question, you will be able to make an educated and informed decision on what you want to do with the pieces in question. You will not walk into a store someday and see your piece (or something very similar) for sale for hundreds of dollars and you sold it for $ 5 at a moving sale!
Patience, persistence, and many helping hands are the basic elements needed to complete this project. It could take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the level of all available elements at any point in time.
There was a time, not so long ago, when retirees were happy to be called “retirees” or “seniors”. After all, these older Australians had worked hard, raised a family, paid their taxes, volunteered, done their bit and now it was time for them to enjoy a long, happy and healthy retirement as “retirees”.
Let me assure you that the endgame hasn’t changed — baby boomers (4.7 million born 1946-1963) still want to enjoy a long and happy retirement — it’s just that they don’t want to be labelled as, or associated with, anything that includes, well, let’s just refer to the concept as the “r” word.
Shhh. I think he’s referring to the words “retirement”, “retired” and/or “retiree”.
No, no, no we baby boomers aren’t retired. We will never retire. Retirement is for old people. For goodness sake, our parents retired, and they were, like, really old.
I have it on good authority that there is, at this very moment, a cell of revolutionary baby boomers locked away in a safe house, with a whiteboard, workshopping words to replace — by whatever means — expressions such as “retirement” and “retiree” and “senior citizen”.
“They all must go,” says their slightly crazed dear leader. “We must install new words, our words, uplifting words that speak to the kind of people we are and the kind of society we want to create beyond the age of 60.”
“Si, si, si,” chant the boomer cell’s compadres.
Here’s the thing. Baby boomers don’t think they’re old and so being called “retired” or “retiree” let alone “senior citizen” is kinda offensive.
Plus, being 60-something today, or 70-something or older, isn’t like being this age in previous times. We are healthier, more interested in diet and exercise, we have access to better healthcare. And, because those dillydallying millennials are having kids later in life — baby boomer’s grandkids — there’s the promise of little bundles of grandkid joy to look forward to.
There is no time to be “old” in this world. There’s too much to be done. Plus, baby boomers are confident that older Australians will be soon embraced by the coming social revolution centred around inclusion and diversity.
“What, you mean there is no one in your senior management team who is in their 60s?” “How can that be?” “Does anyone know what a recession looks like?” “Surely, with no representation of older Australians in the decision-making process you are at risk of unconscious bias?”
The winning term thus far determined by the secret cell of revolutionary baby boomer wordsmiths, is “lifestylers”.
Baby boomers aren’t old, and neither are they retired; they have moved into the lifestyle stage of the life cycle. You know how KFC is a contraction of the original term Kentucky Fried Chicken — I suspect to hide the f-word (“fried” in case you’re wondering) — then so too should retirement homes shift their wordage selection from retirement to lifestyle.
“We’re moving into a lifestyle community.”
“Oh, how wonderful … that sounds fabulous.”
It is only a matter of time before journalists and social media influencers are admonished for using terms like grey nomads to describe older caravan travellers. Baby boomers are no less enthusiastic caravaners than preceding generations, it’s just that collectively they have been whiteboard-sanitised into the descriptor “adventure travellers” or, better still, “eco-travellers”.
I mean, “grey nomad” suggests an imagery of towelling hats and socks-with-crocs. Whereas the term “eco-traveller” suggests an imagery that is kinda Kathmandu-kitted and whose caravanning travels are purposed to explore the greater good of Gaia (“Earth mother” for those not operating at peak environmental velocity).
I have a theory why baby boomers are inclined to reimagine how life can be lived beyond the age of 60. Yes, it is that they are healthier and better educated than previous generations. But that’s not what’s motivating baby boomers right down to changing the language that is used to describe retirees. It is something deeper, more personal, more fragile, more emotional — it is something that is coming from their heart and soul.
Baby boomers are the first generation of retirees in history to have been witness to their parents’ retirement and ageing. Previous generations of parents died in their 60s, or earlier. They did not grow old as we now grow old. Not only that, but baby boomers have a detailed photographic record of their parents aged 60 and 70 and 80. Scratch a baby boomer and poke and prod around this question and you will get the same response.
Baby boomers are proud of the way they’re ageing; they are more active, more empowered, and they look better than their parents did at the same stage in life. Boomers are determined to reimagine how life might be lived because they saw how the Depression-generation, their parents’ generation, aged … and they do not want to go there. Hell no, we won’t go! Hell no, we won’t go!
Here’s a photo of dad at 60 at 70 at 80 and here’s what he was doing. Boomers are quietly benchmarking their ageing against the ageing of their parents. They need to know, they want to be told, that they are ageing better, that they are getting more out of life, than their parents did at the same stage in the life cycle.
I have this theory that older men magically as if suddenly possessed by some Ageing Demon from ancient times, go out and buy a rain gauge.
This whole ageing thing can go either of two ways. Either boomers baulk at traditional pathways to ageing. Or they might officially talk the talk, but deep down they cannot resist the allure, the engagement, the visceral thrill of discussing last night’s rainfall with family members. The Ageing Demon from ancient times strikes again. Free advice to Bunnings’ buying department: seek out Guangzhou-made, backyard rain gauges to cash in on the ageing of baby boomer men as they move into that time in life when matters meteorological seem to matter most.
There is a sense that baby boomers are indeed entering a lifestyle stage of the life cycle, a window of perhaps a decade or so when their knees and hips are still OK, and they’re trying to cram in as much living as possible. Cruises and travelling, including caravanning, visiting family and helping out here and helping out there, and chalking up projects, and ticking off lists, are all on the active retiree’s — oops, sorry — the active lifestyler’s later-life agenda. And they feel that they deserve it, they have worked for it, that they have made sacrifices from a young age, but now it is their time, our time, my time. In fact, if there were to be a rallying cry — a cri de coeur — for our whiteboarding boomer cell it wouldn’t be viva la revolucion it would be “it’s my time now”.
And for these lifestylers, these my-time-now aficionados, these older baby boomers determined to make the most of their remaining years — calculated to be: whatever their parents got, plus a bit — the tricky balance is to get things done, to tick things off, before health and finances fail.
The boomers are right now passing through the 60s and the 70s as hip and groovy lifestylers (with a secret lust for rain gauges), but progressively over the 2020s I am sure this generation will work their wordsmith magic on making the “era of the over-80s” sound positively alluring.
Viva los lifestyler!
Bernard Salt is managing director of The Demographics Group. Research by Paul Kelly.
This is the first in a four-part series by The Australian and The Demographics Group looking into retirement in 2030.
The series has been created in partnership with MLC, part of the NAB Group. Read our policy on commercial content here.
Financial Post’s Awni Kalkat reports on why Canada’s millennials aren’t the only ones in need of a crash course in managing their personal finances
Baby Boomers becoming caregivers for one or both of their parents face a challenging and rewarding responsibility. If you are in this group, you belong to a fast growing segment of the Baby Boomer population. Elder care is difficult, but giving back support and love to your parents can create a special time that brings you closer.
Here is some sage advice gained through experience that will help Baby Boomers in this journey:
If you feel like you need help, there are state, local and federal senior services organizations that provide a wealth of free or low-cost services. They can provide meals, transportation, training and in-house professional services to assist you as a caregiver or to help your parent (s) continue to live independently in the community. Also, there are online service where Baby Boomers can identify and explore benefits to which they and their parent (s) are entitled. Start with the National Council on Aging which covers local, state and federal programs.
Finally, this is a precious time. Include your parent (s) in activities and let them know everyday that you love them. A caregiver's journey creates memories that will be treasured for the rest of your life.
The trends driving the Richmond region’s residential real estate market will be discussed in June.
From sellers getting multiple offers and condo activity increasing to more homebuyers returning to an urban environment while baby boomers look at moving into a growing number of age-restricted communities, the Richmond region’s residential market remains hot.
A panel of experts will discuss the region’s strong residential real estate market and the trends that are affecting it now and in the future at the next Metro Business Live event on Tuesday, June 25.
The panelists so far will be:
Richmond Times-Dispatch Business Editor Gregory J. Gilligan will moderate the discussion.
Metro Business Live will be held at the RTD building at 300 E. Franklin St. The gathering, which includes a catered breakfast, will be from 7:15 to 9:15 a.m. Tickets are $25 per person if purchased by May 24, and $30 after that.
At 7, I would not have been able to articulate the feeling when Mrs. Mitterman was around, except to say it felt like a birthday party: the music of her dialect, her interest in my boring brothers and sisters, and the way she joshed with the boys and praised the girls for a “gaw-geous” blouse or “nifty” shoes.
In the early ’60s, we lived in a newly developing neighborhood; swarms of children of baby boomers played all day in vacant lots and newly bulldozed house foundations. Mud, nails, wood, sand piles, puddles, and a paradise of adventure and imagination.
But it also meant that stepping on a nail protruding from a two-by-four, and which could penetrate the paper-thin soles of the high-top tennis shoes we all wore, was an occupational hazard, for which we had to make sure our tetanus vaccinations were up to date. And at least once a week one of my five brothers or I got a wood sliver stuck in a hand or finger or sometimes even a knee, which you could bite out if it was tiny and not totally embedded.
One Saturday while helping my pal Tom Booth carry a waterlogged two-by-six for the Alamo-style fort we were building, I suddenly dropped my end to grab my right wrist with my left hand, to examine the source of excruciating pain. Impaled in the soft pad of flesh between my right index finger and my palm was an inch long spear of wet and rusty wood. Not till I saw my own mother’s face, with a look more like horror than worry, did I begin to cry. A very bad sliver, she called it, as a red rim started to swell around it.
“I have an idea,” she said, and we walked across the street to Mrs. Mitterman’s.
“Oh, David,” she gushed , “that itty bitty thing is nothing for a big boy like you.”
And how could you not believe her, the mirth in that jazzy voice, those eyes like Christmas lights.
“But how about some refreshments first? You tough guys play so hard,” she said.
Then I watched her make some Bosco, a chocolate syrup you mixed into milk which I had always longed for because of the TV commercials on “Garfield Goose” but which we never had at home. I sipped and savored, looking around at the plush furniture, the high-ceilinged room, and the decorative flourishes of the nurse and carpenter-cellist, while barely noticing the sewing needle with which Mrs. Mitterman magically and painlessly extracted the offending wood chip.
“Got it,” she said.
In the hurricane of years that followed, during which I was consumed by school, sports, girls, and cars, Mrs. Mitterman resided in the background of my memory, like the other grownups in my world.
Eventually I turned 17, when a boy’s life changes forever. It was a Friday in May 1967, prom night for my high school. I put on my suit, retrieved the boxed corsage from our refrigerator, and walked two blocks to the home of my date, where we would be picked up by my classmate Gerald Topel and the girl he was taking, in his father’s car. Approaching the house, I saw my prom date in a beautiful pink-and-white dress posing for pictures on the front sidewalk.
“Isn’t she gawgeous?” the photographer asked, and I was surprised and confused to see Peg Mitterman holding the Kodak Instamatic. She had come an hour earlier to help my date with her hair and makeup, and to take pictures, and then see her off on an important night in her young life. For the girl I had asked to the prom had lost her mother years earlier and had been raised by her father whose job often kept him away. And here was Mrs. Mitterman, showing up when a mother was needed the most.
I remember going to the dance, and afterward to dinner at the College Inn downtown, where we all four ordered “chopped steak” and were entertained by stand-up comic Jerry Van Dyke.
But for days and weeks following, I thought mostly about Peg Mitterman, wondering what was inside her, and whether when I took my own place in the adult world I could ever also rise to the same level of kindness, selflessness, and awareness of the needs of others.
Fifty years since my prom, I have the wisdom to know that no one can.
Except for mothers.
David McGrath is a former Hayward resident, emeritus English professor, the author of “The Territory,” and a frequent contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page. He can be reached at [email protected]. Mick Mitterman, the son of the late Peg Mitterman, lives with his family in Fish Creek, Wis.
It's been awhile since we looked at dating, singles scene, and other related issues for Baby Boomers and those over or close to 50. So, lets explore these topics a little today.
An interesting way to begin the research today was to just Google: "Baby Boomer Dating." I've also tried searching Over 50's Dating, etc. and you get about the same results. Of coarse, you pull about 897,000 results on this topic and it's interesting to explore some of the popular sites. I think that most of us, for some time now, rely on the computer and various search engines to research a multitude of topics. From buying an I-Pod or car, to researching travel costs and destinations, the power and usability can not be beat. It's a natural place to begin a study of many or most topics that you can think of.
As I have shared in earlier articles, I think there are many quality online dating or introduction sites that can help us Baby Boomers reach out and find someone. Certainly there are as many reasons and motivations for finding someone as there are people looking. It can be for casual friendships or more serious relationships. Certainly a degree of caution and common sense is always in order, and for some more socially outgoing Baby Boomers, this just may not be for them.
For me, as a more introverted and a bit of a socially challenged Boomer, sites like E-Harmony and most recently an Asian Dating site, have given me exactly what I was looking for. This is a process that takes a certain amount of time, money, and patience. To hurry the process would be at your own peril. I really do recommend searching your heart and soul and getting to know yourself first before embarking on a serious search for that special someone. This usually involves some looking back at previous relationships (marriages?) To see what went wrong. When, or if possible, ask yourself why. Oftentimes close friends and family can see things about you that you can not or will not see. Their opinions and reflections should be bought after and valued.
Although it may sound a bit cold and detached, consider something of a shopping list approach (written and / or mental) as to just what you are looking for in a potential long-term mate. (husband, wife, or just friend) At the same time, you may make a list of your own personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, etc. to use for comparison and introspection. Try to be as brutally honest with and about yourself as you possibly can. Certainly the process of really knowing ourselves is a lifetime process as we oftentimes struggle to learn from our mistakes and not go out and make the same one (s) again.
Also, try not to be too too hard on yourself. We all will make mistakes from time to time and we all should know that when we do take chances and reach out to someone, it will not be without a degree of risk. While we can take some measures to minimize that risk, it can never be completely eliminated. It sort of reminds me of my days doing sports in high school and college and the phrase: "No Pain, No Gain." Well, in this case, the pain can be heartache and / or bank account pain when we recover from a broken relationship or from something we did that we thought was from a bad decision.
So, look for fun and adventure as you may. Take a chance from time to time, and, most of all, have fun. While exercising a degree of care and caution, try not to be so overly careful and cautious that you never leave your house or even try to meet someone new.
Reach out and touch someone. Reach out and take a chance.