Tomorrows seniors: Technology and leisure programming

Tomorrows seniors: Technology and leisure programming

 

Lynda J. Sperazza, Ph.D., CPRP
Assistant Professor

The College at Brockport, State University of New York

Recreation & Leisure Studies Department

lsperazza@brockport.edu

 

Jason Dauenhauer, Ph.D., MSW

Assistant Professor
The College at Brockport, State University of New York

Department of Social Work
jdauenha@brockport.edu

 

Priya Banerjee, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

The College at Brockport, State University of New York

Health Sciences Department

pbanerje@brockport.edu

 

Abstract

 

As the population of the United States ages, there are two cohorts of older adults with potentially different perspectives and expectations toward recreation and leisure those classified as Baby Boomers and Seniors. Today, as more communication and leisure activities are mediated by technology, recreation providers are challenged to fulfill the needs of two different cohorts that share the age of retirement. This exploratory study describes how boomers and seniors utilize technology within a master-planned senior living community setting. Differences are indicated particularly through female usage of technology by boomers and seniors. Recommendations for recreation professionals are provided.

 

Keywords: leisure, recreation, programming, technology, aging

 

Tomorrows seniors: Technology and leisure programming

 

Introduction

 

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau (2011a) indicates that adults aged 65 years and older comprise 13% of the U.S. population, nearly 40 million people. Projections indicate that by 2030, the number of older adults will nearly double to 72 million, or 19% of the total population (U.S. Census, 2011b). Within these demographics are two cohorts of elders with unique characteristics. Baby Boomers, those who were born between 1946 and 1964, and seniors, individuals born between 1925 and 1945.

 

Boomers, also referred to as tomorrows seniors were the result of life returning to normal after World War II. They are defined by their pop culture, values, and are healthier, wealthier, and more educated than any other generation. Characteristic traits for this group are fairness, teamwork, personal growth, driven, involvement in things they are passionate about, and view leisure as a necessity (Gillon, 2004). The first boomer turned 65 years of age on January 1, 2011 and has thus begun the trickle-down of 76 million Americans into retirement bringing with them their varied experiences, values, and expectations of life.

 

Seniors, described in this article as todays seniors, are the parents of Baby Boomers. They comprise nearly 50 million Americans who grew up during the Great Depression and then went on to fight in World War II. They believe in tradition and patriotism, are generally conservative, and are loyal to brands. They believe in working hard, having close-knit families, and are strong in planning and saving their money (Brokaw, 1998). Todays seniors did everything they could to create a world in which their children, boomers, would have opportunities they had only dreamed of and to encourage their offspring to pursue those dreams.

 

The Problem: Technology Utilization and Retirement Communities

 

As baby boomers turn 65, there will be two cohorts of older adults with potentially different perspectives and expectations toward recreation and leisure the baby boomers and seniors. Research described by Sperazza (2008) shows that leisure values and preferences between these two groups will likely have a significant impact on recreation programming. One aspect that is drawing much attention is the use of technology by aging populations in the context of master-planned senior retirement communities. By technology, the researchers are referring primarily to the use of computers to communicate with one another and engage in leisure activities.

 

There has been much research on how older adults respond to new technology, their attitudes towards computers and their ability to learn how to use them (Beckenhauer & Armstrong, 2009; Dinev, 2002; Worthington & Zhao, 2004). With Boomers now of retirement age, many are beginning to reside in master-planned senior living communities where they will be sharing recreation facilities with todays Seniors. As shown by the distinct value structure of each cohort, recreation professionals, in said environments, are faced with the challenge of meeting the recreation demands of both groups in the same facility. With technology today as an integral part of how we live recreation professionals cannot afford to make assumptions that todays Seniors and Baby Boomers will approach recreation and technology in the same way (Cochran, Stoll, Beller, & Goc Karp, 2009).

 

For the recreation professional, one who designs and implements a variety of leisure opportunities in community centers, resorts, and like locations, insight into how Boomers and Seniors utilize technology is critical to the development of relevant and timely programming. Thus, the purpose of this study is to 1) describe how Boomers and Seniors utilize technology within a master-planned senior living community setting, 2) compare technology utilization between males and females between the two cohorts and 3) discuss how recreation professionals may utilize this information in developing programs for older adults.

 

Technology Usage: Boomers and Seniors

 

Todays Seniors, more so than Boomers, have been the focus of many studies regarding computer and internet usage over the past decade. Seniors are the fastest growing users of the internet (Stark-Wroblewski, Edelbaum, & Ryan, 2007; Wagoner, Hassanein, & Head, 2010). Of those elders who use the internet, a majority use it to communicate with friends and relatives and for social support (Fallows, 2005; Thayer & Ray, 2006). In a recent study, Beckenhauer and Armstrong (2009) found that internet access benefits older adults by increasing ones social network and frequency of communication. When looking at gender, studies have found e-mail is used more often by older adult females than older adult males (Fallows, 2005). These differences are noted in more general studies that find women tend to use the Internet for more interpersonal communication than men (Weiser, 2001).

 

Boomers were first introduced to technology through television when they were children. The impact on what could be brought live into ones living room was far reaching. They grew up watching Elvis, the Ed Sullivan Show, The Mickey Mouse Club, and they followed the Civil Rights Movement and peace marches through local news stations (Tapscott, 2009). When most Boomers were in their twenties, computers were in their infancy. Computers were the size of whole rooms, cost many thousands of dollars and were scarce. Today, computers are everywhere: at home, in the workplace, and in social settings. As pointed out by Dinev (2002):

 

Internet usage and access has important economic, educational and social implications. It brings a multitude of benefits to the user-job productivity, education, information access, technology updates, social and professional affiliations, [and] customer benefits. More and more internet users are becoming conscious of the power of the Internet technologies in improving business, e-commerce, [and] customer relationships. (Introduction section, para. 1).

 

Todays society lives and breathes technology, thus creating opportunities for increased communication worldwide at the touch of a button, maintaining fitness at home through gaming systems, or reduction of social isolation through social media outlets. While Boomers may understand technology and use it regularly, their preferred method of communication is face-to-face rather than through technological means (Broady, Chan, & Caputi, 2010).

 

Todays Seniors are most familiar with computers and gaming systems through their local senior center and library. They offer intergenerational programs, computer training courses or often free access to the internet for a specified amount of time. This generation can often go days without checking email and they are okay with that philosophy. Technology may not be this groups preference, though many are willing to try. Their preferred method of communication, similar to Boomers, remains face-to-face rather than through technological means (Broady, Chan, & Caputi, 2010). However, in terms of exposure, Boomers deal with technology on a daily basis--in the workplace, socially by means of cell phones or PDAs, and feel it is vital to their business (Jones, 2007).

 

Retirement Communities

 

When one reaches the age of retirement, it is common to consider a community that is age restricted (commonly 55+ years of age) and for many, master planned. The state of Florida is one of the most popular destinations for retirees. Census data indicates Florida has the highest percentage of adults aged 65+ in the United States, 17.4% (3.2 million) (Administration on Aging, 2009). Retirement migration researchers have consistently reported Florida counties as experiencing consistent and dramatic in-migration of elders from various other states since the 1950s (Serow, 2001). Older adults who migrate from northern states are reported by Longino, Bradley, Stoller, and Hass (2008) to be younger, more often married, and residentially independent with lower levels of disability. (p. S7).

 

Theoretical models describing motivations for relocating ones residence at, near, or during retirement has received significant attention over the past few decades (Haas & Serow, 1993, Stoller and Longino, 2001; Wiseman, 1980).Using a longitudinal dataset, Longino et al. (2008) found that those who tended to make non-local moves in retirement had higher education levels, adult children who had moved out of the area, experienced regular vacation travel to a second home, were formerly married or widowed less than 6 months, and had weaker person and community ties than those who did not move. Higher income levels, dissatisfaction with home size, and decreased importance of family proximity have also been identified as factors that contribute to an older adults decision to make a non-local move in retirement (Schiamberg & McKinney, 2003).

 

Boomers, having high levels of education, socialization, and a love for active lifestyles, have recently found high desire to relocate to such communities. Living in a master planned age-restricted community allows this cohort to live with no boundaries- unlimited fitness classes, golf courses, activity clubs, opportunities for continued education, and it fits into their financial plans. Further, marketing efforts for these communities describe an ageless and active lifestyle surrounded with a group of supportive peers (Luken & Vaughan, 2003).

 

Giants in creation of such communities are Del Webb, located in Arizona, and Harold Schwartz, a Michigan businessman, creator of The Villages, Florida. At both communities, there are no traffic jams; golf carts are legal to drive on the streets of the city and that is often what people use to ride around town. Additionally, there are numerous high quality medical facilities, volunteer and education programs, recreation centers, and unlimited new found friends. The role of the recreation department at The Villages is to connect residents to their passions in a number of programs, clubs, facilities, and services.

 

What is The Villages?

 

The Villages, coined as Americas Friendliest Retirement Hometown is a census-designated place (CDP) in Sumter County, Florida, United States. The development of this residential area began in the 1960s and today covers three counties. The Villages is the largest residential development in central Florida and home to those age 55 years and older (www.the villages.com). In 2007 they surpassed the 75,000 mark in population. Though many reside year round, the majority of the population is seasonal (residing October April). Until the past two years, the average age of the residents was over age 75 years, today, the new home buyer is age 62 for men and age 60 for women (The Boomer Retiree, 2010).

 

The Villages has 25 neighborhoods, 17 village and 8 regional recreation centers. They have 60 pools, 142 pickle ball and tennis courts amongst their 37 golf courses, 9 softball fields, A professional polo team and stadium with two fields. Additionally, both of their town squares offer live music seven days a week! Their website attracts future residents because they want to play, be active and have fun; something both boomers and seniors have earned.

 

Having such a homogenous population presents questions to the recreation professional about program design that need addressing. In regards to technology and leisure programming, challenges in usage reside due to todays seniors not having integrated usage into their work, home, or school lives before retirement (NTIA, 2000). This results in older adults having different needs and concerns with usage of technology than others, for example, due to physical and cognitive aging (Beckenhauer & Armstrong, 2009). For this study, The Villages was chosen based upon the need of their recreation staff to understand the recreation needs of boomers and seniors which now both reside in their community.

 

Methods

 

This exploratory, descriptive study was approved by the researchers Institutional Review Board and by The Villages Recreation Director. The survey instrument was distributed to boomers and seniors who reside in The Villages, FL during their Annual Outdoor Expo event in March, 2010. Annual attendance for this event is estimated at 7,000 adults aged 55+. Researchers were provided a table within the Expo where they handed out surveys to interested participants who completed them on-site. A non-probability sample of convenience resulted in two hundred and eighty-five participants.

 

Survey

 

The survey was modified from the existing Cochran Baby Boomer Quiz to measure participants leisure values. The leisure value portion of the survey consisted of a 23 question likert scale response to participation in leisure activities. This instrument was created by the first author with input from professionals in the field of recreation and leisure. See Cochran (2005) and Cochran, Rothschadl & Rudick (2009) for more information about this instruments development including reliability and validity. Several questions related to technology, the focus of this article, were added to the survey. Six questions related to technology were added to identify how often participants used the following technology-related items: E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Wii/Xbox 360/Playstation, internet, and computer games. The final section of the survey was designed to capture the demographic elements of the sample which included age, gender, level of education, gross annual income, race, and length of residency in The Villages, FL.

 

Data Analysis

 

The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 16.0, was used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics were calculated for demographic items as well as all subscales. Frequency statistics and Chi-square analyses were conducted on the data to answer research questions. Data were operationalized as ordinal scales, allowing for Chi-square analyses. The exploratory and descriptive nature of the study and the non-random selection of the sample, made the Chi-square test of independence the appropriate choice for data analysis. According to Willard (2010), the Chi-square test of independence is used to analyze data that may or may not meet assumptions of normality, homogeneity of variance and interval-to-ratio level data.

 

Psychometrics

 

Six technology related questions (e.g. which of the following would you use E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Wii/Xbox 360/Playstation, internet, and computer games) were added to the Cochran Baby Boomer Quiz which is designed to measure participants leisure values. The responses to the technology subscale invited responses that ranged from, never heard of it, to use it quite a lot, several hours a day. A Cronbachs alpha coefficient of .904 was calculated for all items on the survey and .684 for the technology subscale, indicating a high internal consistency reliability.

 

Results

 

Participants self-reported use of technology was categorized according to age (boomer or senior) and gender (male or female). A Chi-square test of independence determined the difference between observed and expected frequencies. For surveys which included missing data, responses were excluded from analysis when appropriate. Table 1 provides a comparison of male and female boomers and seniors reported use of technology for several hours a day, while Table 2 highlights boomers and seniors self reported use of technology for several hours per day. A description of the sample followed by self-reported technology use are described below.

 


Table 1: Comparison of Male and Female Boomers and Seniors reported use of Technology for several hours a day.

Variables

 

Percentages

χ2

 

 

Boomers

Seniors

 

Internet

 

 

 

 

 

Males

52.5

26.3

9.077

 

Females

48.8

22.0

16.594**

E-mail

 

 

 

 

 

Males

40.0

22.8

4.937

 

Females

43.7

19.4

10.217*

Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

Males

5.0

1.8

6.575

 

Females

9.5

0.0

10.215*

Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Males

5.0

3.8

.759

 

Females

1.2

0.0

2.418

Wii

 

 

 

 

 

Males

2.5

1.8

1.449

 

Females

9.5

0.0

8.804

Computer Games

 

 

 

 

 

Males

7.5

5.4

1.506

 

Females

11.8

3.4

3.426

**Difference between male and female boomers and seniors was statistically significant at the .01 level
*Difference between male and female boomers and seniors was statistically significant at the .05 level

 

Table 2: Comparison between Boomers and Seniors self reported use of technology for several hours per day.

Variable

Percentage

χ2

 

Boomers

Seniors

 

Internet

50.0

24.1

21.081**

 

 

 

 

E-mail

42.5

21.0

13.078**

 

 

 

 

Computer Games

12.0

10.5

4.830

 

 

 

 

Wii

5.6

3.6

8.095

 

 

 

 

Facebook

4.0

1.8

8.680

 

 

 

 

Twitter

0.8

0.0

1.344

** Difference between boomers and seniors was statistically significant at the .01 level
*Difference between boomers and seniors was statistically significant at the .05 level

 

Demographics

 

Since this study captured a sample consisting of participants over the age of 55, Boomers were classified in this study as those between the ages of 55 and 64. As such, of the total sample, boomers represented 50.8% (n=128) of the sample, while Seniors comprised 49.2% (n=124). The average age of the participants was measured at 64.75 years (SD+ 7.3), 71.3% reported that they were married, 79.6% reported being retired and 97.1% were Caucasian. Of all the participants, 50.8% were classified as Boomers and the rest (49.2%) were seniors. Among the females, more were classified as Boomers (57.1%) and among the males, more were classified as Seniors (59.2%).

 

Median income prior to retirement for the sample was measured at $75,000, and 27% reported a Bachelors Degree as their highest educational degree. More Boomer males (40%) reported having received a Bachelors Degree compared to Boomer females (20.7%), and more Senior males (29.3%) compared to Senior females (16.9%) reported completed a Masters degree, indicating that the males in the sample generally were more educated than the females. Overall, there were slightly more females (58.8%) than males (41.2%) in the sample. These results are illustrated in Figure 1.

 

Figure 1: Educational Levels, Boomers and Seniors (Percentages)

 

 

Baby Boomers are known for valuing education and are more likely to pursue it formally or informally, even through retirement. While the G.I. Bill created opportunity for WWII veterans to attend college, boomers were the first generation which sought higher education as a means to get out of the blue collar, industrial workforce or as a means to avoid the draft; often they were the first in their families to get a college education. Boomers seek education opportunities in their retirement communities and are drawn to stimulation of their mind on a continued basis, hence reasoning behind their higher level of college degrees than todays Senior.

 

Internet

 

Internet use was conceptualized as the use of the world wide web using a web-browser, not including e-mail use. Nearly 97% of Boomers and over 90% of Seniors report using the Internet at least weekly. The group of participants classified as boomers (50.0%) reported using the Internet several hours each day compared to those classified as seniors (24.1%). This difference between Boomers and Seniors regarding Internet use was statistically significant, χ2 = 21.081, p= .000. While slightly more males (39.1%) reported using the internet than females (38.0%), the difference between genders for internet use was not statistically significant. Figure 2 illustrates these results.

 

Figure 2: Comparison of self-reported use of the Internet by Boomers and Seniors (Percentages)

 

 

E-mail

 

All participants who responded to this question regarding email reported that they had at least heard of e-mail; the never heard of e-mail option received a response of 0. E-mail usage of at least a few hours per week was reported by 32.5% (n =74) of the participants and those classified as boomers (42.5%, n= 54) reporting significantly more usage in the several hours each day category compared to Seniors (21%, n=25), the difference between the two groups was statistically significant χ2 =13.078, p=.004. Overall, females reported higher usage of e-mail compared to males, though this difference was not statistically significant. Further analysis revealed that female Boomers reported higher rates of usage compared to senior females, which was a statistically significant difference χ2 =10.217, p=.017. Figure 3 represents an illustration of these results.

 

Figure 3: Comparison of self-reported use of E-mail by Boomers and Seniors (Percentages)

 

 

Social media

 

Social media use was conceptualized as, connecting with people using networking websites on the Internet. A significant proportion of the participants (64.8%, n = 153) reported having heard of Facebook (the popular social networking website) but not using it. Utilization of Facebook a few hours a week was reported by 23.3% (n=55) of the participants. Boomers reported higher usage rates compared to seniors, but this difference was not statistically significant. Slightly more females in general (24%) reported using Facebook at least a few hours a week more often than males (23%), but this difference was also not statistically significant.

 

Only 12.5% of the Boomer males reported using Facebook, compared to 29.8% Boomer females, and interestingly, more Senior males (27.3%) than Senior females (17.5%) reported using Facebook at least a few hours a week. When comparing males and females within the two age categories, female Boomers (44%) reported statistically significantly higher rates of Facebook utilization compared to female Seniors (21%); χ2 =10.215, p=.037. Refer to Figure 4 for an illustration of these results.

 

  

Figure 4: Comparison of self-reported use of Facebook by Boomers and Seniors (Percentages)

 

 

 

Twitter, an information-sharing network, was the lowest in terms of usage by this group, 88.8% reported being aware of this network, though never utilizing it. Of all the participants, 12.5% of the male Boomers and only 7.5% of the male Seniors reported having never heard of Twitter. Proportionately more males (4.3%) than females (1.4%) reported using Twitter at least a few hours a week. Figure 5 expresses these comparisons.

 

Figure 5: Comparison of self-reported use of Twitter by Boomers and Seniors (Percentages)

 

Description: L:\joci\ci and older person\leena\image005.gif

 

Video and Computer Gaming

 

The modes of Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation were conceptualized as a home video game console of motion-controlled computer gaming for people of all ages. When asked about usage, 65% (n=154) of the sample reported they heard of it, but never used it. Of those who did report using any of these gaming means (35%), proportionately, more Boomer females (7.1%) than Boomer males (2.5%) reported that they used them a few hours per day. In contrast, more male Seniors (5.5%) than female Sseniors (1.8%) reported using them at least a few hours per day. However there were no statistically significant differences when comparing gender and age categories for use of Wii, Xbox 360, or Playstation. These results are represented in Figure 6.

 

Figure 6: Comparison of self-reported use of Wii, Xbox 360, or Playstation by Boomers and Seniors (Percentages)

 

Description: L:\joci\ci and older person\leena\image006.gif

 

Of all the participants, 57.3% of the males and 48.3% of the females indicated that they had heard of computer games but never used them and in comparison, more females (13.3%) than males (8.3%) reported that they used computer games a few hours per day. Boomers utilized this technology more often than seniors. Specifically, female Boomers reported using computer games more than males or females in the other age groups. However, this difference was not statistically significant. Refer to figure 7 for visual comparison.

 

Figure 7: Comparison of self-reported use of Computer games by Boomers and Seniors (Percentages)

 

Description: L:\joci\ci and older person\leena\image007.gif

 

Discussion

 

The results of this study reflect the growing use of technology among Boomers and Seniors who reside in a master-planned retirement community. The fact that a majority of the older adults in this sample use the Internet on a regular basis coincides with existing literature on Internet usage and older adults (Stark-Wroblewski, Edelbaum, & Ryan, 2007; Wagoner, Hassanein, & Head, 2010). The sample comprised of well-educated, middle- income, white/Caucasian males and females, also represents factors which correlate to having greater access to computers and the internet (Lenhart, 2003). Because Boomers tend to be more computer literate than Seniors, the fact that they reported using the internet more often than Seniors was expected.

 

E-mail use is one of the most popular forms of technology mediated communication and, as described previously, has received much attention by aging researchers. It is an important part of social contact and engagement. E-mail allows distant friends and relatives to keep in touch by sending letters, photos, or videos instantaneously. Boomers and Seniors share the commonality of valuing friends and families. While many potentially value the use of telephone and regular mail to share life stories, the use of e-mail is an important means for them to stay in touch while living in a retirement community. Our finding that females report using email at a higher rate than males is reflected in reported in other studies (Fallows, 2005; Weiser, 2001). We attribute the highest rates of email communication with female Boomers to their increased levels of computer literacy and familiarity with this method of social engagement.

 

The growth of social media interfaces such as Facebook and Twitter seem to be entering slowly but steadily into the lives of the residents at the Villages. The fact that a majority of Boomers and Seniors have heard of these media, especially Facebook, indicates the potential for future adoption of this social networking method. The trend of female Boomer Facebook usage is consistent with the findings on e-mail utilization. Since Facebook not only incorporates e-mail, but also instant messaging, and wall postings, it is no surprise that this medium would appeal to this females desire to stay connected with friends and family. As the use of smart phones continues to grow, interfaces such as Facebook and Twitter will grow in popularity as one no longer needs to sit at a computer to stay connected. The finding which shows a higher percentage of Senior males versus Senior females was unexpected. Though we didnt inquire how individuals utilized their time on Facebook, it is possible these users have larger social networks with other friends, family, and grandchildren when compared to other Seniors.

 

Video and computer game utilization was reported by a little more than one third of the sample. It is interesting to note that usage of computer games was very similar however, on a per day basis; more boomers reported using computer games than Seniors. This can be attributed to the fact that boomers are obsessed with maintaining their youth. According to the Entertainment Software Association (2006), computer gamers under age 18 actually make up fewer than one-third of all players, and people over age 50 make up 25 percent! Further, the average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 40 years. Video and computer games have become the biggest pastime of adults. While other research has shown that Boomers and Seniors are embracing gaming as a way to connect to their children or grandchildren, this was not reflected in the present study. The continued growth in online gaming will make it possible for older adults to play together with friends and family who may live far apart.

 

Limitations

 

While this research provides insight into the utilization of older adults and technology, the results should be considered within the context and methods of the data collection. Our sample was limited when considering the sheer numbers of older adults who reside at The Villages (10,000+). Further, data was collected during a club fair attended by those residents who are active in many social and activity groups within this community. Thus, this sample of convenience may not be representative of the population at The Villages. The sample was also relatively homogenous as it consisted of well-educated, Caucasian men and women with sufficient resources needed to reside in this retirement community. Internet access and computer equipment are readily available in this setting. Therefore, findings should not be applied to more diverse, community-dwelling populations of older adults with limited access and knowledge of computer technology.

 

Implications for recreation programmers

 

While there are limitations to this study, the results provide a snapshot of information that has implications for recreation programmers within master-planned retirement communities. Overall, boomers tend to be more engaged with technology for leisure activities and to remain socially connected with friends and family, especially female Boomers. Seniors are also utilizing technology, but less frequently, especially Senior females. Recreation professionals should consider offering a range of opportunities that cater to the needs and interests of these two cohorts. For instance, offering a range of social networking courses that cater to the beginning and advanced levels (i.e. setting up a Facebook page, using a club Facebook site to share information with members within a community, etc.). This requires recreational staff to stay abreast with changing technology and finding ways to introduce or expand it within the community. Given the active lifestyle, culture, and increasing number of Boomers at communities similar to The Villages, it is likely that many of the ideas for incorporating technology will come from those who reside there. In contrast, Seniors may benefit from these various technologies, but be reluctant to utilize them.

 

Increasing utilization of computer gaming systems to improve physical activity levels is another area recreation programmers can be expanded upon. Programs such as Wii Fit and others have been found to help improve balance among older adults (Pigford & Andrews, 2010; Williams, Soiza, McE Jenkinson, & Stewart, 2010). Due to the health risks associated with falling as people age, promoting fitness though technology can be advantageous for boomers and seniors alike. As Boomers strive to remain engaged with life and physically active, fitness programming through game consoles is likely to grow in popularity. At locations such as The Villages, where many older adults are active, one can envision group fitness classes using the Wii, or even competitions using sports and dance-related games.

 

Conclusion

 

Over the next decade it is projected that the everlasting marks left on society by boomers, in terms of extensive influences in the education system, growth and marketing within the economy, emergence in alternative lifestyles, dramatic shifts in the nature and structure of families, and the important role recreation and leisure plays in their lives will continue into their retirement. Their impact will be profound. By sheer numbers alone, the Boomers have impacted our society in everything that they do. Their footprint on retirement will no doubt be the same. Recreation professionals need to embrace the diversity of these two cohorts in how they design and deliver leisure programs.

 

As a well-established, master planned, age-restricted community, The Villages, FL recreation department is already faced with a huge influx of the boomer generation. This community lives an active lifestyle in which there are many recreational activities offered, several housing choices, and it is easy to get around. This homogenous community has a story to be told. Not only based on the design of the community, but on their approach to recreation.

 

The data gleaned from this study serves as the foundation for further research in progress which includes, but not limited to, the design and implementation of programs, examination of their recreation club model that is solely run by residents, and examination of management techniques in comparison to those of non-master planned, age restricted communities.

 

 

 

References

 

Administration on Aging. (2009). Profile of older Americans: Geographic distribution. Retrieved from http://www.aoa.gov/aoaroot/aging_statistics/Profile/2009/8.aspx

 

Beckenhauer, J., & Armstrong, J. (2009). Exploring relationships between normative aging, technology, and communication. Marriage & Family Review, 45, pages 825-844.

 

Broady, Chan, & Caputi, 2010. Comparison of older and younger adults attitudes towards and abilities with computers: Implications for training and learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, (41) 3, 473-485.

 

Brokaw, T. (1998). The greatest generation. New York, NY: Random House.

 

Cochran, L. (2005). A philosophical and ethical examination of practices in developing leisure program guidelines using the baby boomer cohort. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Idaho, Moscow.

 

Cochran, L.J., Rothschadl, A., & Rudick, J.L. (2009). Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers.Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

 

Cochran, L., & Stoll, S., Beller, J., & Goc Karp, G. (2009). To philosophize or not to philosophize: An issue on leisure programming for baby Boomers. SCHOLE: The Journal of Recreation and Leisure Studies Education.

 

Dinev, T. (2002). Internet User Anxiety Model, Measurement, Factorial Validity, Decision Sciences Institute Conference, San Diego. Retrieved from http://wise.fau.edu/~tdinev/publications/anx.pdf

 

Entertainment Software Association. (2006). Essential facts and the computer & video game industry. Washington, DC: Authors.

 

Fallows, D. (2005). The Pew Internet & American Life Project: How women and men use the Internet. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2005/PIP_Women_and_Men_online.pdf.pdf

 

Gillon, S. (2004). Boomer nation: The largest and richest generation ever and how it changed America. New York, NY: Free Press.

 

Haas, W. H., III, & Serow, W. J. (1993). Amenity retirement migration process: A model and preliminary evidence. The Gerontologist, 33, 212220.

 

Jones, K.C. (20017, May). Gen Y and Baby Boomers hold similar attitudes toward technology. Retrieved from http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=EXMVTRNXS2U0PQE1GHPSKHWATMY32JVN?articleID=199203390

 

Lenhart, A. (2003). The Pew Internet & American Life Project: The ever-shifting internet population: A new look at Internet access and the digital divide. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2003/PIP_Shifting_Net_Pop_Report.pdf.pdf

 

Longino, C.F. Jr., Bradley, D.E., Stoller, E.P. & Haas, W.H. III (2008). Predictors of non-local moves among older adults: A prospective study. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 63B(1), S7S14.

 

Luken, P.C. & Vaughan, S. (2003). Active living: Transforming the organization of retirement and housing in the U.S., Sociology and Social Welfare, 30(1), 145-170.

 

National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (2000, October). Falling through the Net: Toward digital inclusion. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, NTIA.

 

Pigford, T. & Andrews, A.W. (2010).Feasibility and benefit of using the Nintendo Wii Fit for balance rehabilitation in an elderly patient experiencing recurrent falls. Journal of Student Physical Therapy Research, 2(1), 12-20.

 

Schiamberg, L.B. & McKinney, K.G. (2003). Factors Influencing Expectations to Move or Age in Place at Retirement Among 40- to 65-Year-Olds. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 22, 19-41. doi:10.1177/0733464802250043

 

Serow, W.J. (2001). Retirement migration counties in the southeastern United States: Geographic, demographic, and economic correlates. The Gerontologist, 41(2), 220227.

 

Sperazza, L.J. (2008, Fall). Are you ready for the Boomers? 7 steps to success. The Voice: a publication of the New York State Recreation and Park Society, Inc.

 

Stark-Wroblewski, K., Edelbaum, J.K., & Ryan, J.J. (2007). Senior citizens who use e-mail. Educational Gerontology, 33, 293-307.

 

Stoller, E. P., & Longino, C. F. (2001). Going Home or Leaving Home? The impact of person and place ties on anticipated counterstream migration. The Gerontologist, 41, 96-102.

 

Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown up digital. McGraw Hill: New York, NY

 

Thayer, S. E., & Ray, S. (2006). Online communication preferences across age, gender, and duration of internet use. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 9(4), 432440.

 

The Boomer Retiree . (2010, October). Presentation at the National Recreation and Park Association National Congress, Minneapolis, MN.

 

The Villages. (2011). http://www.thevillages.com

 

U.S. Census Bureau (2011a). Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011 Table 7. Resident Population by Sex and Age. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0007.pdf

 

U.S. Census Bureau (2011b). Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011 U.S., Table 8. Resident Population Projections by Sex and Age: 2010 to 2050. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0008.pdf

 

Wagoner, N., Hassanein, K., & Head, M. (2010). Computer use by older adults: A multi-disciplinary review. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 870-882. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2010.03.029

 

Weiser, E. (2001). The functions of Internet use and their social and psychological consequences. Cyberpsychology & Behavior,4, 723742.

 

Willard, C. A. (2010). Statistical methods: A worktext approach. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishers.

 

Williams, M.A., Soiza, R.L., McE Jenkinson, A., & Stewart, A. (2010) Exercising with computers in later life (EXCELL) - pilot and feasibility study of the acceptability of the Nintendo WiiFit in community-dwelling fallers. BMC Research Notes, 3 (238), 2-8. doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-238

 

Worthington, V., & Zhao, Y. (2004). Existential Computer Anxiety and Changes in Computer Technology: What Past Research on Computer Anxiety Has Missed. Retrieved from http://www.msu.edu/~worthi14/anxiety.html

 

 

 

 



The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441