Evidently, we’ve been a demanding lot, us baby boomers. In parliament recently, aged care minister Anika Wells declared that baby boomers “have shaken every single system they’ve come across” and warned that we are now about to shake up the entire aged care sector with our demands. Really?
But let’s backtrack a few years, in fact back to post-World War II. Weary soldiers, stressed populations and politicians wanted to return to some sense of normality, to peace and to family life. Some communities desperately wanted to replace populations decimated by deliberate genocide. The biggest baby boom in history was spawned.
But like all generations, we had no choice in the matter of our birth.
The world seemed happy with this newfound young population until we started to share our opinions and behaviours with an unsuspecting older generation. But have we been unrealistically demanding? Are we unfairly maligned?
We had huge class sizes when we first started school and rightly so as many parents wanted a decent education for their children, to propel them into adulthood. Many had missed their own educational opportunities and wanted better for their offspring.
The governments responded with more money, funding more schools and scholarship schemes. We took the opportunity to advance ourselves with what was available.
The growth in education led to better jobs, better productivity and a more informed population. Yes, we marched in the streets against the Vietnam War, discovering the power of activism. We shouted phrases such as ‘make love not war’ and we were heard. Students across the world today are the voices of protest and change, often the conscience of the community.
Granted we created the concept of ‘teenagehood’, a term rarely tossed around prewar when young people barely finished primary school before being unceremoniously expected to earn their keep. But has that been so detrimental to the world? As prosperity increased so too did the chance to extend children’s education and free them from early exploitation.
We changed music tastes and created a generation of young people who either were Beatles fans or Rolling Stones diehards. Rock and roll became an expression of a generation hell-bent on creating a new way of moving. Now most of this so-called rebellion in taste is seen as mainstream if not passe, hardly worthy of any comment. Music is now accessed by the masses, any genre is available at the swipe of a Spotify account. Aren’t we lucky?
No doubt as adults, baby boomers have been instrumental in demanding equal pay for equal work, better working conditions, a rethinking of roles in families and the need for a more equal and fair society for all, regardless of race, religion, gender and background. Hardly demands really, more like basic human rights.
As we move into our dotage, is it any wonder that baby boomers still want a say in how they will be treated? Will there be a wave of us holding onto our Zimmer frames marching inexorably but slowly towards Parliament House, demanding care facilities that will not treat us to endless games of bingo and a diet of pap? Who knows, but there will be a movement. Watch this space.
Are you a loud and proud baby boomer? Are you confident there will be a shake-up of the aged care sector next because of boomer clout? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Also read: To spend or not to spend?