Baby boomers are a generation with unique values, beliefs, and experiences. As younger generations interact more with baby boomers, it is essential to be mindful of things that matter to them. For this post, we polled 12 Baby Boomers and came away with 20+ valuable insights into things that upset them. Read below for what we learned from their perspectives.
#1: Respect their music.
One surefire way to upset a baby boomer is to tell them that their music is outdated. While younger generations may prefer more modern genres, baby boomers grew up with rock and roll, Motown, and other classics that hold a special place in their hearts. From Elvis Presley to The Beatles to The Beach Boys, Baby Boomers are proud of belonging to the golden age of music.
Fun fact: The Beatles toppedthe Billboard Hot 100 twenty times and set a record for the most number 1 singles on the US charts.
#2: Don’t assume that they are retired.
All the baby boomers we spoke to valued their work ethic, and many felt that they would never truly retire, as work is part of their identity.
Did you know that 27% of baby boomers plan never to retire? Many continue working in their 70s and 80s, and it’s not for the money. Many of the boomers we interviewed retired, only to come back to some form of work within a year or two.
#3: Don’t make fun of their fashion.
These days, many boomers prefer timeless, somewhat formal attire most of the time, but they are known for their iconic fashion, from bell bottoms to tie-dye shirts. Of course, they don’t dress as they did in their twenties anymore, but Gen-Z certainly seems to be gravitating to similar fashion choices themselves. In fact, many of the boomer fashion inventions are being blatantly copied by Gen-Z.
Related: 10 Life Lessons That Boomers Can Learn From Gen-Z
#4: Don’t assume they are not tech-savvy.
As per most of the baby boomers we spoke with, using technology that they are unfamiliar with can be frustrating for them. While millennials and Gen-Z grew up with computers and smartphones, baby boomers may have a longer learning curve associated with new technology. However, there is no piece of tech that boomers haven’t adapted to. It’s important to be patient and offer help rather than dismissing their technological abilities. Baby boomers may have grown up without technology, but they have certainly shown that they can adapt to change.
Related: 11 Life Lessons Millennials and Gen-Z Can Learn From Baby Boomers
#5 Don’t assume they don’t use social media.
That baby boomers can adapt well to new technology is shown by their adoption of social media. According to a 2021 survey by Pew Research Center, 68% of adults aged 50-64 and 40% of adults aged 65 and older use social media. It’s important to avoid making assumptions and understand that baby boomers are just as capable of using social media as other generations.
Did you know that baby boomers are the second-largest generation of social media users, with 82% having at least one social media account?
#6: Don’t disregard their accomplishments.
It’s important to avoid dismissing the achievements of baby boomers, who have worked hard to succeed in their careers and personal lives. Baby boomers were the first to experience significant economic growth and job opportunities, leading to notable accomplishments in fields such as technology, business, and entertainment.
Baby boomers are also responsible for immense social change and drive the development and freedoms that we enjoy today. They lived through the cold war, eradicated many diseases, started exploring space, and championed civil rights. Many of the biggest and most successful corporations and technologies in American history were formed by boomers.
#7: Don’t tell them they’re too old to try new things and hobbies.
According to AARP, baby boomers are more likely to participate in activities such as exercise, reading, and socializing than younger generations (AARP, 2019).
This is an active generation known for their engagement in various hobbies, travel, and even new careers later in life. Telling a baby boomer that they are too old to try new things can be discouraging and offensive as it goes against their desire to stay active and engaged.
#8: Don’t assume they are not interested in new experiences.
Baby boomers may have experienced a lot in life, but that does not mean they are not interested in new experiences. Assuming they are not can be a mistake. Did you know that baby boomers spend more on travel than any other generation?
#9: Don’t disrespect their political views.
Making assumptions about a baby boomer’s political beliefs based solely on their age can be misleading, as political beliefs are shaped by a variety of factors. While many baby boomers may identify as conservative, others may hold liberal or moderate views. It’s important to avoid stereotyping and have an open and respectful dialogue about political beliefs.
#10: Don’t underestimate their intelligence.
Baby boomers were the first generation to have a majority attend college. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer. Unfortunately, ageism can lead some to dismiss their abilities and value in the workplace or other settings. It’s important to recognize and respect the expertise that baby boomers possess, rather than assuming they are out-of-date or irrelevant..
#11: Don’t assume they are not environmentally conscious.
It’s not nice to believe that older people don’t care about the environment. Baby boomers are the ones who are most likely to recycle and compost. So let’s not judge people based on their age.
#12: Don’t assume they are intolerant.
Baby boomers come from diverse cultural backgrounds and have experienced a significant influx of immigrants to America during their lifetime. Each generation has people who welcome diversity and new ideas, and others who do not. It is important to treat people as individuals and not make assumptions about them based solely on their age, gender, ethnicity, or any other characteristic.
#13: Avoid criticizing their parenting style.
Parents from different generations have different ways of raising their children. Many boomers we spoke to related memories of having tough parents and growing up quickly with a lot more responsibilities than children today. Millennials grew up differently and similarly, Gen-Z will raise their children in a much different manner. It is important to realize that society and circumstances affect parenting styles as much as personal preferences.
#14: Don’t assume they’re all rich.
Assuming that all baby boomers are financially secure and stable is incorrect, as many faced significant financial challenges throughout their lives. The 2008 recession, rising healthcare costs, pandemic related market upheavals and unprecedented pressure on social security means many boomers are in a tough spot with respect to their retirement savings and investments. A study found that almost 45% are expecting to retire with no savings at all.
#15: Don’t assume they’re not interested in pop culture.
Baby boomers may have their favorite movies, TV shows, and celebrities like anyone else. In fact, they were the first generation to truly embrace pop culture and mass media consumption. In fact, shows and movies catering to boomers are on the rise as they approach retirement with an empty nest, have more disposable income and free time to dedicate to their love of pop culture.
#16: Don’t use slang they’re unfamiliar with.
Using slang that a baby boomer is unfamiliar with can be confusing and off-putting, as they may not understand the meaning or context of the words. Baby boomers grew up during a different cultural and linguistic era and may not be familiar with current slang or colloquialisms. It’s important to use clear and concise language to avoid misunderstandings.
In conclusion, baby boomers have contributed significantly to society and have their unique values, beliefs, and experiences. Interacting with baby boomers can be rewarding, but it’s essential to be mindful of what may upset them unintentionally.
By respecting their music, avoiding assumptions, recognizing their accomplishments, and avoiding criticisms of their values, younger generations can show baby boomers the respect and appreciation they deserve. With mutual respect and understanding, different ages can learn from each other and build stronger connections.
Featured Image Credit: AllaSerebrina /Depositphotos.com.
This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.