|Debbie Hommel's A.D. Tips
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by Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC, CTRS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
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Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC,
CTRS, is the Executive
Director of DH Special
Services. She is a Certified
Activity Consultant on State
and National level, with over
twenty-seven years of
experience in providing direct
care and consultation to long
term care, medical day care,
assisted living, and ICF/MR
facilities throughout New
Jersey, New York, Maryland,
and Pennsylvania. She is an
experienced trainer and
conducting a variety of
seminars throughout the
Tri-State area for the Activity
and allied healthcare
professional. Debbie Hommel
is an active member of Activity
Professional Associations on
State and National levels. She
is ACC certified through the
NCCAP. She is a founding
member of the New Jersey
Association, serving terms as
Vice President and President.
She received the Weidner
Lifetime Achievement Award
in 1994 and the Monmouth &
Ocean County Activity
Achievement Award in 1999.
Let Debbie answer your
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What will the Baby Boomers want?
By Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS
Having worked as an activity professional for thirty three years, I never thought I would
reach the day where the topic of activities appealing to my age group would be of
interest. I am a baby boomer. Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. A
baby boomer turns 50 every seven seconds and we are 79 million strong. The oldest of
our generation is 65 years old and facing the notion of retirement.
The baby boomer generation has forged through life with gusto, questioning the status
quo and introducing change to our society’s mores and values. Baby boomers are
approaching this later stage of life with no less enthusiasm. Retirement to a baby
boomer does not mean sitting in a rocking chair, watching the grass grow. Baby
boomers don’t even like to use the word retirement; we are simply switching gears and
going in a new direction.
The baby boomers are traditionally optimistic, independent minded, industrious and
focused on social causes and personal improvement. Fifty percent of baby boomers
spend at least thirteen hours per week on line and another forty five percent of baby
boomers are interested in healthy living and wellness. These are key points to
consider as the baby boomer moves into their later decades.
Program considerations for baby boomers:
*The music and program topics will need to shift to the time period between the
1960’s and 1980’s. We have seen this shift already and it is a wise activity professional
who has updated their resource library.
*The titles of programs and program content will need to be adjusted. As a baby
boomer, I would not attend a coffee klatch or balloon toss. I would attend yoga, art
class or go to the Cyber Café for some organic, free trade coffee.
*The baby boomer’s programs will need to have clear purpose and meaning.
Keeping the baby boomer busy, just to keep them busy, will not be received well. Baby
boomers like to see the whole picture and need to know how our participation will
contribute to the final outcome.
*Baby boomers will want more amenities such as full spa services and internet
access in their room. Concierge services will be necessary to address the individual
needs and interests of this population. We are used to getting what we want.
*Baby boomers are going to want more flexibility in programming. Baby boomers
have worked hard all their lives and if there is one thing they will take advantage of,
during retirement time, is not having to stick to a schedule. Open recreation and
smaller, spontaneous groups will be more appealing than committing to a posted
schedule of events.
*Specific programs which will appeal to the baby boomer would be community
oriented groups such as re-cycling committees, or a committee focusing on making
sure the facility is “green”. Volunteer or mentor opportunities will be very enticing to the
baby boomer because we still have a lot to offer and like feeling useful.
*Healthy living programs will be of great interest to the baby boomer, including
activities focused on growing and cooking fresh food, stress management classes and
the availability of a Life Coach to assist with transition.
*The baby boomer has worked hard all their lives and sees this time period as a
chance to do the things they never had the time to do before. Classes, educational
opportunities, guest speakers, and learning a variety of new things will be top on the
interest list for most baby boomers.
The baby boomer generation has already begun work on re-defining aging and what it
means to approach this “Third Age” of life. Much of the culture change movement is the
baby boomer working to change the values of eldercare. Culture change emphasizes
home, individualization and the person, not rules and the establishment. This sounds
just right to most people, not just the baby boomer.
The key to successful aging is to pay as little attention to it as possible.