Baby Boomers Turn 60 Their Way

Jan. 20, 2006 — -- Sixty. That's right -- the first of that eternally youthful generation is entering its seventh decade this year. And just as boomers have transformed American culture with every age they sweep through, the 60s may never be the same.

Ken Dychtwald, author of several books on aging, including "The Power Years : A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life," and a fellow boomer, says we'll see huge differences in the way boomers approach this milestone.

"The boomers will never think of themselves as seniors," he said.

This group is determined to grow old -- young.

"They don't like the idea of having their bodies decline," Dychtwald said. "This generation will do everything in its power to grow old with as much vitality, sexuality and energy than we've ever seen."

Suzanne Somers: Classic Boomer

Suzanne Somers, who played Chrissy Snow on "Three's Company," is turning 60. And she's fighting it with all the vitamins and nutrients she can.

"I looked upon 60 with, well, the party's over," Somers said. "This is the big surprise, that it feels like a new beginning for me."

Somers, who was fired from "Three's Company" and found fame again with Thighmaster, has led a life of constant reinvention that could be a blueprint for boomerdom. And the way she's facing her 60s is classic boomer.

"My approach to being this age is to do everything I can to keep my insides young," Somers said.

For this breast-cancer survivor, health is a top priority.

"I take probably 60 vitamins a day," she said. "I take hormones, I take estrogen, progesterone. I take drops that cleanse my liver."

And she's not alone. Always self-reliant, boomers everywhere are challenging doctors and creating their own recipe for well-being.

Keep on Truckin'

Don't expect boomers to retire at 60, 65 or even 70, Dychtwald said.

"They'll want to go back to school, try new careers, maybe travel the world, write their first book, join the Peace Corps," he said.

It turns out that 50ish boomers, despite their self-absorbed reputation, are extremely concerned about their legacy and giving back. They could provide a huge volunteer wave in their 60s.

Some boomers, however, may need to concentrate on making money. Many boomers are in financial trouble. Even those who make good money aren't inclined to save it. One-quarter of all boomers, 20 million total, have less than $1,000 in savings of any sort.