International Journal of Ageing and Later Life
balance between youthful and mature identities. Priority was given to
blurring the boundaries between themselves and younger adult genera-
tions. The implications for the relationship between adult ageing and
patterns of consumption are exploredAbstract
Baby boomers have been credited with an essentially ‘youthful’ approach
to themselves, to consumption and to life-style. As they enter midlife and
older age they are also faced with the challenges of a mature identity.
This paper critically examines the strategies that baby boomers in the
United Kingdom use to manage identity as they grow older. Specifically,
questions concerning attitudes to cohort labels, personal ageing and other
generations are compared to the consumption choices that are made in
areas considered to be key to an ageing identity, including: appearance,
clothing and bodily maintenance. Boomers identify with succeeding
rather than preceding generations. While they claim not to be concerned
with bodily ageing as such, their strategies are aimed at maintaining a
Simon Biggs, Institute of Gerontology, King’s College, London, UK.
Chris Phillipson, Centre for Social Gerontology, Keele University, UK.
Rebecca Leach, School of Criminology, Education & Social Work, Keele University, UK.
Anne-Marie Money, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, The University of
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