Twenty years ago, most people’s visions of retirement centered around time spent in largely sedentary pursuits – perhaps some gardening, coffee mornings and the occasional drive out into the country interspersed into a daily routine of chatting about the old days and watching with approval as Judge Judy puts the next generation in their place.
That might have worked for past generations, but in the brave new millennium, retirees expect a little more from life. Judy Sheindlin will be 75 herself this year, and as the baby boomers hit their 70s, they are spending more than any other demographic on leisure travel. And even those who choose to go into assisted living have wider social and leisure expectations than ever before.
The senior prom
A perfect example of the evolving retirement lifestyle is the phenomenon of the senior prom. The first example that we could find was at a care home in Poughkeepsie, New York back in 2007. At the time, it was easy to write it off as a gimmick, but the phenomenon has taken on a life of its own over the past decade, and senior proms are becoming as much a part of retirement life as they are for teenagers.
Today’s senior proms that your parents or grandparents might attend are not so different to the ones that are such an important part of high school life, and the prom is an event that seniors look forward to for months in advance. Time and effort is put into the perfect prom dress, and the gentlemen are similarly out to impress.
Most even feature the traditional crowning of the prom king and queen, complete with all the associated pomp and ceremony.
Of course, one significant difference is the availability of alcohol. Most senior proms start out with civilised cocktails and canapes before the dancing and revelry gets into full swing. Even limited mobility need not present a problem, and wheelchair dancing is a common sight.
Getting older disgracefully
If 60 is the new 40, then why can’t 80 be the new 18? The new generation of retirees are redefining what it means to grow older, and proving the truth in the adage that you are as old as you feel. There could be hope for us all!