There are about 75 million baby boomers in the United States, which represents approximately 29 percent of the U.S. population. In 2011, the oldest of the boomer generation will begin to collect Medicare.
Baby boomers have had to adapt to ever-changing technology to remain marketable in the business world. They have become computer savvy to stay competitive. When boomers were in school, classes that were geared for a business career were typing, shorthand and bookkeeping. As boomers became computer and Internet literate, they have found new resources to keep in touch with business associates, friends and family members.
Social networks are a fast-growing mode of communication in today's society, and Facebook has become extremely popular with the boomer population.
Maribeth Griggs and her husband, Jeff, of Braceville are shown on their motorcycle. Maribeth Griggs uses Facebook to stay in touch with her son, a Marine, and her three brothers.
Linda Applegate, formerly of Trumbull County, now residing in Panama City, Fla., moved to Florida after people who became friends via online chat rooms on AOL encouraged her to check out the water and the beaches. Applegate traveled to Florida on vacation, fell in love with it and moved there in 1997.
Florida isn't the only love Applegate found online.
"I met Ray, my fiance, through Yahoo Personals online, and we have been together five years in October," said Applegate.
In 2008, 22 percent of baby boomers were using some form of social networking. In 2009, that number had increased to 58 percent.
They chatted online for several weeks before agreeing to meet. "We've been together ever since," Applegate said. They still chat online, send e-mails and instant message with each other daily. Both still maintain separate households.
Though some people have qualms about chatting with and meeting people online, Applegate said she had no qualms about it and enjoys chatting with people on the Internet and later meeting them.
Applegate also is a member of the Facebook family. She said she has reconnected with old classmates and friends via this social network site.
There's one aspect of technology that a local boomer has not embraced. Kendra Perrine of Warren does not text.
"I like to talk to someone in person, I like to hear their voice," Perrine said.
Perrine and her husband, Ken, both use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family. They are the parents of a daughter and a son. Recently, their daughter relocated to Michigan with their four granddaughters. Facebook helps them keep in constant contact with their children and granddaughters.
The Perrines also use the video and picture messaging service, Skype, to talk to their daughter and granddaughter. Perrine said she feels more connected by seeing her family while they are talking and it has made the adjustment somewhat easier, even though it doesn't replace a face-to-face visit.
Maribeth Griggs of Braceville, another boomer, also utilizes the social network Facebook to stay in touch. She keeps in contact with her son, a Marine, and her three brothers, who reside in all parts of the country. "Friends and family are the most important things to me," Griggs said.
Suzette Shafer, a 1970 graduate of Chalker High School in Southington, has been hit hard by the recession. Shafer is a self-employed photographer, and this business is what kept her afloat financially the last several years.
"When my mom was 60, she was playing bingo. I'm almost 60 and I can shoot 600 to 800 baseball players in a day," Shafer said. "Will I ever retire? I doubt it."
Shafer has a website for her photography business and obtains customers via the Internet and word of mouth. Shafer also is a Facebook enthusiast and keeps in contact with old friends as well as new friends.
She also enjoys playing games online and says, "They are addictive, and you can't stop playing these darn games once you start!"