Rebecca Moen: Will Senior Swagger be the next social movement to sweep the United States?

From the letter: The Silver Tsunami does not have to be a dreaded event. Let’s change our attitudes and create the foundations for Senior Swagger.

Seniors in living room
Group of seniors spending free time in bright living room with big window at nursing house -

Movements like Black Lives Matter and LGTBQ+ Pride are making progress in raising awareness of the issues that these groups face. Despite efforts to quell the initiatives, young people are more educated and mindful of equality and equity issues than ever. The next group to push its agenda should be the folks over 65.

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Everyone has heard of the “Graying of America” and the “Silver Tsunami” demographic changes coming to the U.S. By 2034, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in history, according to the Census Bureau. They also project the number of people 85 and older to double by 2035 and triple by 2060.

These demographic changes present issues in the economy, healthcare, and housing. Put simplistically, the young people will not be able to support the older people; there will not be enough healthcare workers; and there will not be enough housing with the necessary resources.

Most older adults want to live in their own homes instead of an institution. Research shows that aging in place results in greater health and happiness and is less expensive than a nursing home or assisted living.

All of these issues lead to what I call the Senior Swagger movement. I use this term to move away from a sense of pity or charity. Older people have worked hard for decades and deserve to be treated well. They have survived wars, economic crises, terrorism, and life without the Internet.


How do we support Senior Swagger? Let’s make it easier for older adults to continue to live at home and to be “productive members of society.” Talk about the issue, educate yourself, and get involved. In every state, Area Agencies on Aging are funding services to support family caregivers and resources to help people live at home. If you do not have an elderly person in your life, get one. Senior Centers are always looking for volunteers.

The Silver Tsunami does not have to be a dreaded event. Let’s change our attitudes and create the foundations for Senior Swagger.

Rebecca Moen

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