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Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America by Marc Freedman Public Affairs 2002 - Book Report/Review Example

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The book Prime Time: How Baby Boomers will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America by Mark Freedman gives an interesting, if somewhat self-congratulatory history of retirement in the United States. It opens by tracing American perceptions of aging from puritan times to the modern day…
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Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America by Marc Freedman Public Affairs 2002
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Download file to see previous pages This trend, however, quickly reversed itself with the onset of the industrial revolution and more and more people aging into old age. In this period, people were told to live “quiet retirements” and some people even advocated suicide by chloroform for people who reach the age of sixty (40). This led directly to the retirement communities of the 1960s, which broke with the idea of a “quiet” lifestyle to instead experience an active lifestyle with lots of recreation, sports and activity; essentially a perpetual vacation (42). Freedman sets up the retirements of the baby-boomers, that is, people born between 1946 and 1964, and also the largest generation that has ever existed, as the next step in the change of how elderly Americans experience themselves and are experienced by their communities. Rather than being the ancient sages of the puritan times, the useless and disrespected octogenarians of the industrial revolution, or the aging active, self involved and isolated retirees of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Freedman contends that baby boomers are creating a revolution by retiring in a new and different way, by being actively involved in their communities and trying to use their retirement years in civically productive ways. Freedman uses the lived experiences of baby boomers themselves, in their own words, to demonstrate the ways baby-boomer retirement will be different. Freedman uses and interesting and useful methodology that is interesting, useful, but also somewhat problematic. He relies heavily on first hand accounts by baby-boomers themselves about what they imagine their retirements being, or what they are experiencing themselves in the process of their retirement. This, on one hand, is an incredibly useful way to examine the way baby boomers imagine their retirement. Aging people have persistently been examined as ‘others’ throughout the history of aging; people younger than them examine their worth, their lifestyles, and pass judgement on them. This leads to a skewed perception of the aging population, as others whose worth is determined by their relationship to the younger population; aging people are determined by their value to young people. By using first-hand accounts, Freedman reminds readers that retirees have worth in and of themselves, and that their lived experience is at least as important as their value to society, if not more so. This methodology does, however, also have its pitfalls. These problems mostly center around the fact that one’s perception of one’s self is not necessarily balanced, nor is what one says about oneself necessarily true. They may be skewed more towards what one wishes one acts like, rather than how one actually acts. This issue is exacerbated by the age of this book and the time of life baby boomers were in when contributing to it. This book was published in 1999, the oldest baby boomers were just barely approaching retirement, or experiencing a very young and early retirement. This means that most of their perceptions of retirement comes from hopes and aspirations rather than actions. This book says that there is/will be a revolution of aging caused by the baby boomers, yet this perception of revolution is based wholly on what they think or say they will do, rather than what they have actually done. This causes a false dichotomy, where the actual actions of past retirees are compared to the possible and hoped ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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