illustration of Lois Bowers
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How is it that in my 11 years of writing about the long-term care profession, which has been talking about the coming “silver wave” of baby boomers all that time (and more), I don’t recall ever hearing the term Generation Jones?

My cursory education on the term started last week when I was scrolling through X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, and just happened to see a post from someone (not working in the industry as far as I know) who had shared a post from musician/singer/songwriter Lenny Kravitz — a video of him lifting weights with a message to “seize your day.” The poster said in part that Kravitz was 59 and part of Generation X.

As someone who frequently writes about baby boomers, I know that the youngest boomers are 59 and turning 60 this year. So, curious, I looked up Kravitz’s birthday and, sure enough, he is a baby boomer, born in May 1964.

I don’t normally comment on the posts of strangers sharing personal (not professional) information, but I mentioned this fact to the original poster, and that’s when the subject of Generation Jones came up. I Googled it and found out that Generation Jones is a subset of the baby boomers, including those born in the mid-1950s (the exact year varied in the sources I saw but typically was listed as 1954 or 1955) until the end of the Baby Boom, 1964. Some people include 1965, the first year of Gen X, in the description. Multiple theories exist as to the meaning behind the name. (Side note: National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care and Nexus Insights founder Bob Kramer combines boomers and older Gen X members into what he calls the Boom X generation.)

I think it’s a great idea to recognize this group of boomers separately, because they are so different from the older members of the generation.

I’ve written about the younger boomer group before — for instance, in 2015, when in a blog I noted that the wants and needs of the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation, who were born in 1946, likely differ greatly from the wants and needs of its youngest members, who were born in 1964. At that time, I noted that, contrary to assumptions that all boomers were hippies, lovers of Beatles music, and war protesters:

  • Many of the youngest baby boomers were not even born when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963; when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964; or when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964.
  • The youngest boomers were in kindergarten or pre-kindergarten when Woodstock occurred Aug. 15 to 18, 1969, and when the National Guard opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, killing four of them.
  • The youngest baby boomers were 8 or 9 years old when US combat units were withdrawn from Vietnam in 1973.

“Maybe it’s time for us to try to devise a new way to refer to the oldest baby boomers. That way, we won’t be making generalizations about ‘baby boomers’ that don’t apply to the youngest members of the generation, who may be children of your prospects now and may be looking for options for themselves some day,” I wrote at the time. I didn’t know then that another solution, a term for the youngest boomers, already had been devised.

Regardless, my advice from nine years ago holds true for senior living sales and marketers and others in the industry today: “The oldest baby boomers, of course, are the more immediate concern for members of the senior living field, and their expectations will differ from those of previous generations. But the next time you’re about to utter the phrase baby boomer, stop and think about whom you’re really talking. Are you really referring to all baby boomers?”

I haven’t heard anyone in senior living use the term Generation Jones. But maybe it will become more popular as the 59-year-olds of today age into prospect range.

Lois A. Bowers is the editor of McKnight’s Senior Living. Read her other columns here. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at Lois_Bowers.

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