We neither get better or worse as we get older,
but more like ourselves…Robert Anthony
The boomers are landing on the shore of old age at a rate of 12,000 a day. While turning 65 is officially classified as “young-old,” there is little doubt this is a quantum shift in the boomer lifecycle. As important, this transition is not just leaving behind middle age bodies; it is also about leaving behind middle age psychology. The developmental tasks of fifty-something are being replaced by the tasks of seventy-something. Adding to the complexity of this transition is the persistent turbulence of post-meltdown world. Now what?
What would be helpful at this juncture is a simple way for boomers to assess personal stability, a tool that could provide them with:
1. An overview of the status of key personal resources
2. Feedback about strengths and deficiencies
3. Insights to set realistic expectations and goals
I have created a new self-inventory questionnaire that does this called “The Stability Survey?.”
The Stability Survey? is a yes-no questionnaire that provides a snapshot of boomer transition assets. There are no right or wrong answers or scoring, just a “holding its own” (stable) or “not doing so well” (unstable) assessment of six broad sectors that impact both quality of life and optimal aging.
Here are the six survey questions:
How is your health?
How is your family?
How are your friends?
How is your career?
How are your dreams?
How are your finances?
Here are some of the implications of the answers for each sector:
Stable health usually means no medical issues or medical issues that are under control. Unstable health usually means emerging medical issues or existing medical issues that are either drifting or officially out of control.
Stable family usually means normal or abnormal family issues that are under control. Unstable family usually means normal or abnormal family issues that are either drifting or officially out of control
Stable friends usually means close friends who provide comfort and support. Unstable friends usually means issues with close friends that are undermining comfort and support
Stable career usually means implementation of a personal retirement plan including post-retirement work. Unstable career usually means unresolved work issues or unsatisfactory retirement planning.
Stable dreams usually means the emergence and pursuit of longstanding or new passions, interests, callings, or pursuits. Unstable dreams usually means the loss of deeply personal dreams or the belief they are attainable.
Stable finances usually means implementation of a pre or post personal financial plan Unstable finances usually means unresolved financial issues or unsatisfactory financial planning.
The Stability Survey? is both a look back at where boomers have been and a look forward to the mission that lay ahead. In developmental terms, it shows which transition assets are in alignment with the tasks of the final phase of life: control and legacy. Conversely, it quickly highlights which of the six resources could potentially undermine them. This “big picture” view at the gateway to the next twenty and possibly thirty years could prove invaluable to boomers who are searching for clarity and direction to help them preserve quality of life as well as promote optimal aging.