After World War II, Americans experienced a boom in births. One report says 78 million children were born between 1946 and 1964, and they became known as baby boomers.
Since then, we boomers have directed social and cultural policies, ranging from protesting wars and injustices to fostering a love of luxury, just on the strength of our numbers.
Now we are retiring or nearing retirement age. Now we are either caring for our parents and children, or we are wondering how prepared we are for our own aging journey.
Fortunately, two upcoming events target those concerns, mainly because our numbers and our needs, once again, command the attention of businesses and agencies.
Sunday marks the second year for the "i know expo" conference, a free one-day event created by Gale Reece to provide information about resources and services for seniors, people living with disabilities, or caregivers.
The free conference includes workshops, guest speakers and exhibitors and will be held on the third floor of the Lexington Center from noon to 5 p.m.
One speaker is Dr. Janet E. Taylor, an instructor of psychiatry at Columbia University at Harlem Hospital with a private practice, who is often seen on TV as an expert in emotional health and well-being. Taylor, the daughter of Vertner and the late Joan Taylor of Lexington, will talk about "Life Reimagined Overview," a new way of thinking about what is coming next in our lives.
Another speaker is Paul Prather, a minister and contributing columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, who cared for his bedridden wife for five years during the final stages of cancer. His topic is "The Struggles and Lessons of a Caregiver."
Last year, the conference attracted more than 1,000 people.
Kristy Stambaugh, aging services and disability support administrator for the Urban County Government, said the "i know expo" would be of great benefit for those people caring for aging parents or those planning for the future of their parents or their children with disabilities.
"We are getting calls from people who say 'Dad is in a nursing home and I don't know what to do,'" Stambaugh said. "This conference will give them the tools to have those tough conversations with their parents" before that time arrives.
Also, there are "i know sunday sessions," which meet the fourth Sunday of each month for those who need the same type of information throughout the year.
"It meets the needs of those who need support with an education component," Stambaugh said. The Sunday sessions are also free.
The second conference, "Meeting the Challenges and Opportunities of Aging," will hold its 31st annual gathering on May 15 at Crestwood Christian Church.
The keynote speaker at that conference is Social Services Commissioner Beth K. Mills, who will discuss the history of aging services in Lexington and the progress that has been made.
Other speakers include Dr. Greg Cooper of Baptist Neurology Center, Lexington, who will discuss "The Aging Brain: How to Keep Your Brain Healthy as You Age;" and KET's Dave Shuffett, author of My Kentucky Life, featuring photos and stories from throughout the state, who will talk about accessible trips in Kentucky for seniors.
Diana Doggett, Fayette County extension agent for family and consumer sciences, said other topics include information about smartphones, elder abuse and scams.
"We do have some amazing experts who are in this city," Doggett said. "It is hard to know what is available if you don't have these opportunities to learn about them."
The conference will offer information about current research on new trends in aging, Stambaugh added. "In Lexington, seniors want to continue to learn. This conference is for people who are entering the aging journey now."
The one-day conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes a light breakfast and lunch, as well as exhibitors. The cost is $10, and registration ends May 8.
Recent research indicates we boomers don't like to think of ourselves as aging. Nonetheless, studies find that boomers, ages 49 to 67 in 2013, are living longer but not necessarily healthier than previous generations. We stopped smoking, but many of us tend to be obese and have diabetes and high blood pressure.
It is time for us to be more realistic about our future. And there is no better way to start than by attending one or both of these conferences.
"These workshops are invaluable," Doggett said. "But in all honesty, most of the time, until you need it, you are not seeking many of the answers to the questions that these workshops present."