Hosted by leading researcher Dr. Ken Dychtwald, a renowned gerontologist and psychologist (and a boomer himself) who has studied this population phenomenon for more than three decades, the three-part BOOMER CENTURY features an entertaining and enlightening look back to establish why boomers have the generational characteristics they do, but it also reveals how those traits have evolved into today’s lifestyle, marketplace and workforce trends and perceptively probes what lies ahead.
“One of the things that surprised me the most in making this documentary is how misinterpreted, mislabeled and misunderstood this generation is,” says Dychtwald. “The film attempts to show viewers what really makes this generation tick — the good and the bad — and how its unique personality will help determine how they will continually re-shape society over the coming decades.”
Interspersed throughout THE BOOMER CENTURY are candid interviews with dozens of prominent boomers — academicians, entertainers, authors, sociologists, economists, political figures — and voices of their generation, including filmmakers Oliver Stone and Rob Reiner; civil rights pioneer Julian Bond; author Erica Jong; futurist Alvin Toffler; healthy aging doctor Andrew Weil; playwright Eve Ensler; White House press secretary Tony Snow; political analyst David Gergen; “emotional intelligence” visionary Dr. Daniel Goleman; and human genome scientist J. Craig Venter, among others.
By the time boomers reach the current age range of 40-60, or what Dychtwald calls “middlescence,” their lifetime frustration with the “status quo” and their desire for continued personal re-invention mean they are often searching for new careers, new travel and leisure experiences and new ways to love, learn and enjoy life. Some are already moving back to cities instead of heading to isolated retirement communities, and many plan to do everything possible to postpone physical aging.
But when the film looks ahead to the boomers’ future, it’s clear that this large, influential and quirky generation may be heading toward its greatest challenges. Dychtwald and several renowned economists explain how lengthening lifespans will overtax the nation’s healthcare and Social Security systems, how the boomers may have to work longer, due to their notorious spending and lack of savings, and how the burden and cost may fall on younger generations — possibly even leading to “age wars.”
THE BOOMER CENTURY airs Wednesday, March 28, at 8 p.m., on KUED-Channel 7.
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