With our focus on Baby Boomers, encore careers and giving back to society, I was excited to listen recently to KQED Forum’s Michael Krasny interviewing gerontologist and Bay Area resident, Ken Dychtwald, about aging and how to stay vital even to 100 years old. Ken had just turned 65 so was pondering the “meaning of life” as many of us do, but with a bit more authority because for 40 years, he’s been writing and talking about aging to all sorts of audiences, including US Presidents, celebrities, and experts.

Some interesting statistics emerged from the Forum discussion that are fascinating and, to a certain extent scary, about us Boomers. Who knew that in the 1880s, Prussian leader Otto von Bismarck, in his effort to establish pensions in his country, determined that 65 was a good marker for retirement? That reflected the fact that most people died in their late 40s so 65 would have been today’s 90+! Also by 2020, there will be 4 million more Baby Boomers in the US.   On the scary side, Alzheimers or Dementia will affect approximately 50% of those of us who reach 85. And while 11 million more Boomers will join our ranks in the next decade or so, 11 million of our total by that time will have died.

Ken’s premises are that we are going to be able to medically live to 100 over the next few generations, BUT we must make our quality of life worthwhile from several perspectives. They include finding personal purpose and relevancy, gaining a sense of urgency to make an impact, and “working” way past 65 to contribute to the community and world around us, whether for pay, part-time, or non-compensated. He believes that our generation has too much to offer—wisdom, experience, skills, and vision–so that by retiring at age 65, we are actually depriving society of valuable assets. Also he suggested that living multi-generationally, rather than in age silos, will improve all generations’ lives.

Rick & Wendy at Winelands region south of Cape Town, South Africa

Rick & Wendy at Winelands region south of Cape Town, South Africa

Clearly, we have taken his concepts to heart in writing our book as well as we have been trying to educate our fellow Boomers about what our generation can accomplish in our “next life chapter.” As noted on our media coverage page, we hope we are accomplishing that through our many TV interviews, podcasts, talks to various organizations, and articles (see articles about us in the Friday, August 28 in the Sunnyvale Sun page 5 and Campbell Reporter page 10). We are scheduling new activities over the next few months to discuss our experiencing encore careers in Africa. Please watch for events on our website’s home page and new media coverage.

As always, our request to those of you who have purchased our books, PLEASE REVIEW them on Amazon—that really does help book sales! And if you have not yet bought our book, please do, in order to reduce poverty in Africa and Latin America through our royalties going to TechnoServe. MEANWHILE, thank you for your support!