A new survey published by Arity, a tech spinoff from Allstate, finds that baby boomers’ attitudes about driving are different than those of millennials, but that both cohorts are spending too much time in their cars. The average American spends 335 hours in the car each year driving 6,000 miles, the equivalent of a round trip from New York to Los Angeles.
The 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg complains about older generations: “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.” Bruce Gibney, in “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America,” wrote “Unlike acid rain, which had immediate impacts on Boomers’ quality of life and was therefore swiftly addressed, climate change is a problem whose consequences will fall most heavily on other generations, so far too little has been done.”
Terry Robison of Spring, Texas, has his retirement figured out. The 64-year-old is going to live at the Holiday Inn. Retirement homes are expensive, but a Holiday Inn with a senior discount is only $59.23 per day. He can use the difference (roughly $128 per day, by his count) for “lunch and dinner in any restaurant we want, or room service, laundry, gratuities and special TV movies,” he wrote. “Plus, they provide a spa, swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge and washer-dryer, etc.”
I worry that if every restaurant caters to the aging boomer who isn’t willing to even try to adapt to what is going on around them, then they will all turn into mausoleums playing Led Zeppelin instead of hip-hop. There has to be a place for everyone.
I never wanted an Apple Watch in the first place.
I hadn’t worn a watch in years, when Dave from Starkey showed me how it could operate my new hearables. So I bought it, the original model, and it grew on me. I liked running with it, tracking my movements and closing the rings, but mostly it was a glorified remote control for my phone. When Apple announced that the latest upgrade of the software wouldn’t work for the original watch, I decided to upgrade. I was intrigued by some of the new features they had added in both hardware and software that applied to aging boomers like me.
The internet has been abuzz with an illustration of dots that shows everyone crowded into the kitchen. As I pointed out recently, the drawing is used regularly to demonstrate that a) everyone wants to live in the kitchen and b) that our houses are too big and full of wasted space. Almost no one apparently reads the book the illustration is from — “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century” — which, in fact, delivers a different message.
The most shocking message is that the average American family is overwhelmed with stuff. The authors actually went into the homes of real families and documented this, describing their subjects as people who “work hard and shop hard.” The researchers spent several thousand hours photographing and cataloguing everything in the 32 houses they studied, as well as interviewing the owners of all this stuff.
“It is wrong to believe that postwar American suburbanization prevailed because the public chose it and will continue to prevail until the public changes its preferences. … Suburbanization prevailed because of the decisions of large operators and powerful economic institutions supported by federal government programmes, and ordinary consumers had little real choice in the basic pattern that resulted.”
The Guardian has been running a fascinating series called Walking the City, and North American cities don’t come off looking very good. In Denver, people ask “What’s wrong with the sidewalks? Why is it so hard to walk here?” In San Francisco, an artist installs much-needed benches and they “attract homeless people, and criticism.” I was interviewed by The Guardian about Vision Zero initiatives, which involve slowing down cars and redesigning streets. I complained that nobody is willing to make street safer for walking:
What do you keep, what do you pitch, and when do you do it? Here’s some advice from some experts.
A recent post on downsizing, Nobody wants the family heirlooms anymore, raised a lot of questions, and commenters suggested many answers and much truth. I pick from the best of the comments and learn a bit in the process.
There’s a lot of technology out there that makes getting older a lot easier.
I talk about my hearables.
The researchers found that until they faced a major life change, such as the loss of driving ability or the development of a physical impairment, people did not take the possibility of such a transformation into account. “Perceptions of a livable community are made when choosing housing, and they may not change as the person ages, unless a major life change forces a new perspective,” according to the report.
Seniors aren’t going to walkable neighborhoods in part because of high housing prices, so walkable neighborhoods will have to go to seniors.
Just as green architecture and design came into being in response to the energy crisis of the late 1970s, we in the 21st century have to start creatively building to meet the challenges of our aging population. We need “silver” architecture and design.
In the Guardian, in praise of repurposiing
My latest article in the Guardian, in praise of dumb houses.
So why is an article about baby boomers illustrated with an 81 year old?