cover image Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America

Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America

Marc Freedman, Author, Thomas Roma, Photographer, Alex Harris, Photographer PublicAffairs $25 (292p) ISBN 978-1-891620-17-1

Freedman (The Kindness of Strangers), founder of Civil Ventures and an adviser to government and private groups on aging, contends that drastic social changes must be made to adjust to the coming demographic shifts in America. Within the next 50 years, based on current life expectancy, the number of people age 65 and older will surpass the number of people under age 18. With people healthier and living longer than ever before, the vision of retirement as leisure time is obsolete. The aging boomer population will be unwilling to accept traditional retirement, according to Freedman. But rather than see the glut of oldsters as a drain on the economy and health care system, as many forecasters do, Freedman sees it as an opportunity. To accommodate these older Americans, Freedman says, there will have to be more educational opportunities as well as flexible job positions. To help achieve these goals, he advocates the development of new institutions such as a Center for Unretirement, to help prepare people for new careers; an Institute for Learning in Retirement; and Experience Corps, to let older workers teach and help others in a variety of fields. While the individual case histories presented by Freedman are interesting and some of his proposals are sound, the book is less concrete nuts-and-bolts proposal and more advocacy for turning what he sees as a new stage in life into a constructive time for both elderly people and society as a whole. (Jan.)