A new take on getting older

Boomer Summit to feature ideas, tips for active retirement

By: Tiffany Esshaki, Terry Oparka | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 18, 2016


BEVERLY HILLS — Retirement just isn’t what it used to be.

There was a time when turning 65 meant a quiet life confined to a checker board in a retirement community down South. But now that the baby boomers are getting ready to punch the time clock for the last time, that just won’t do. The over-65 cohort will make up nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and their retirement needs are unlike any in our nation’s history.

Next, the senior center in Birmingham, is planning a first-of-its-kind summit next week to examine just what aging will look like for the largest generation in the U.S., born between 1946 and 1965.

“Planning the Boomer Summit with the city of Birmingham, the (Birmingham) Shopping District, and Baldwin (Public) Library has been very exciting,” said Cris Braun, director of Next. “We have a wonderful lineup of speakers, sponsors and vendors that will cover many of the topics important to boomers.”

The first-ever Boomer Summit will happen at Groves High School on Saturday, April 30. Fox 2 Detroit anchor Huel Perkins will be emcee for the day, which organizers say will be a high-energy multimedia program designed to show boomers what’s new in wellness, entertainment, recreation and beyond to keep seniors happy and aging in place well into their retirement years.

Departure Travel, American Cycle & Fitness, Emagine Theatre, The Knit Shop, Jeff Glover Realtors and lots of other vendors will be showcased at the event.

But the real highlight of the day will be presentations by some of metro Detroit’s leading experts in the “boomer business,” like travel journalist Amy Eckert and integrative medicine specialist Gail Elliot-Patricolo.

As the director of Beaumont Health System’s Integrative Medicine program, Elliot-Patricolo will talk to guests at the summit about “finding peace at any age” by tapping into the mind, body and spirit connection.

“We all experience stress,” she said, noting that baby boomers are often still worried about their children and grandchildren, all while working longer and taking care of their own aging parents.

“Our world is different. Previous generations retired in their 50s and did not live as long. We really need to understand what stress is.”

Part of that, Elliot-Patricolo explained, is to quiet the “monkey mind,” or chattering part of the brain that elicits the fight or flight response. She’ll discuss how people have found ways to move into relaxation with yoga, acupuncture, massage and reflexology, many of which are now offered at major hospital systems.

“Some people love yoga; some people hate it. We have to find ways to elicit relaxation in our own body,” she said. “We know stress has been connected to chronic illness. We have to find ways to reduce stress and find peace at what should be an amazing time in our lives.”

Dr. Terri Orbuch, an Oakland University professor, author and therapist, as well as metro Detroit’s own “Love Doctor,” will discuss maintaining healthy relationships and staying connected in later years, and certified public accountant and attorney Rick Bloom will help guests determine what they need to do financially to retire — and stay retired.

Registration for the summit will begin at 7:30 a.m., though tickets can be purchased in advance on the Next website.  Braun said she expects there to be a great turnout for the event.

“We are anticipating a great morning for baby boomers,” she said. “The summit is a perfect chance to see many of the opportunities the Birmingham area has to offer. We look forward to it and to making the summit an annual event.”

For more information, visit www.BirminghamNext.org or call (248) 203-5270.

Groves High School is located at 20500 W. 13 Mile Road in Beverly Hills.