The Boomers are Coming: Trends in Older Adult Education

  • Gordon Thompson University of Saskatchewan
  • Dennis Foth University of Alberta


The front edge of the baby-boom generation cohort will reach age 65 in 2011. By 2027, when the trailing edge of this cohort reaches that age, people aged 65 and older will comprise 20% of Canada's population, twice as much as today. Boomers at age 65 will be healthier, wealthier, and better educated than the current 65-and-older cohort. They will also be more demanding, as society has been both shaped by and has had to respond to their needs and wants. In particular, the educational system has accommodated the boomers through K-12 and post-secondary institutions. Looking to the year 2030, the authors speculate that some universities will provide educational programs and support services to meet the needs of the boomers and others will not. They further speculate that boomers themselves may create their own learning organizations to meet their needs, particularly if universities are unresponsive.