Baby Boomers Change For The Times

Friday, August 23, 2013

The clear-glass canning jar atop Janet Edman’s refrigerator is halfway filled with quarters.

Call it her penalty jar—the result of her efforts to eradicate the term “retirement community” from the vocabulary of visitors and even family members who dare infer that the tulip-lined haven in which she lives is home to “old folks,” “geezers” and far more offensive monikers that make her tea boil.

To Janet, age 62, twenty-five cents is a small price to pay for such a faux pas. After all, Del Webb’s Sun City in Huntley, Illinois—one of the largest “active adult communities” in the Midwest—caters to the on-the-go, live-life-to-the-fullest Baby Boom generation.

There are about 76 million Baby Boomers in the United States, and Janet is surrounded by a good number of them at Sun City. A Baby Boomer lives in every one of the development’s 5,500 homes.

If visitors don’t notice that this is an “active” environment, then Janet happily points to the evidence: Del Webb includes a golf course, tennis courts, ample walking trails and swimming pools, both indoors and outdoors. A huge lodge features exercise and weight training equipment and rooms for people to indulge an array of interests, from ceramics and sewing to computers and ballroom dancing. Here, activity abounds; people are always on the move, even if they need a nap in the middle of the day to keep up.

In warm weather, many residents putt around on golf carts to get around the community. Her mostly retired neighbors are friendly, appropriately nosey and always planning something: day trips to museums and casinos, night-time Bunco and card games and Janet’s personal favorite: “drinks on the drive,” during which residents bring their lawn chairs to a neighbor’s driveway and drink, snack and….. read more about this story