We Women: From the Age of Aquarius to the Coming of Age: An Intimate Look at the Challenges of Aging in America through the Eyes of Pinellas County Women

Christine S. Melecci

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, March 25, 2014.

Abstract

The following interviews with self-defined women of the counter-culture constitute a shared auto-ethnographic experience. This experience serves as an illustration of the events that defined us during our teen years in the late 1960s, and speaks to our intention to challenge the negative perceptions we face as senior citizens. We are aware of bleak scientific and media forecasts as the roughly seventy-six-million of us in the baby boom generation continue to impact Social Security and healthcare costs, as well as the overall economy. Although we are pleased to anticipate living longer, healthier lives; due to plummeting 401K and IRA accounts, declines in our home values, and lack of pension plans and substantial savings, we are concerned that our funds may not be sufficient for our life-spans. Based on the burgeoning cost of assisted living and nursing home environments, as well as their institutional nature, we plan to find alternate solutions for our late life experiences. The purpose is to show how the outspoken culture of the 1960s prepared us for our approaches to the next twenty-five or thirty years. Through our choice to stay engaged; those of us who participated in counter-culture movements, as well as some of our more conservative peers, are initiating a triage on aging for our own benefit, and the benefit of the younger generations that follow us. Our goal is to maintain independence while promoting quality of life and supporting our communities.