In the States, they’re getting degrees studying us. Suddenly we’re hot in academia though the trend has yet to become quite as pronounced here in Godzone.
And finally we’ve become a kind of gold rush - Golden Oldies has taken on a literal meaning. Entrepreneur.com reports that businesses aimed at retiring boomers are booming.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the aging-services industry, (don’t you love that phrase?) comprising home healthcare, elderly and disabled services and community care facilities for the elderly, make up three of the top 10 industries with the fastest employment growth.
The Chronicle of Higher Education even named gerontology one of the "hottest" academic fields of the future. For instance, this fall, the University of Southern California introduced a new master's degree in aging-services management (even better) to meet the growing interest in the field.
All of this is fine and as some Americans of a certain age might say, dandy. But there’s one thing here that sticks in our collective craw, a single word – gerontology. Makes us boomers sound like archaeological specimens. The site quotes one businessman as saying of his work amongst boomers:
"We're on the front end of something that's getting bigger and bigger."
And then rather revealingly, the writer of this story adds this:
‘And slower, and saggier, and leakier, for years to come’.
There’s no recognition in the otherwise breathless copy, that they are describing a rather large chunk of humanity not a million miles removed from their parents.
But in room 326 at Auckland University last week one of the students I tutored in a non-fiction writing class came to the city by bus. It wasn’t the usual way she got into town.
On the bus every morning she found she was surrounded by older people using their gold cards for free travel, getting out of their homes and generally being active.
She found it delightful and found some so interesting she wanted to write about them…