Who Is The Grey Wave?

Grey or Gray?

Truth be told, you can reach this site from both addresses because in Canada we’re so used to spelling in both UK and US English it was hard for me to remember which way it was supposed to be spelled.

The Grey Wave is a term used to reference the group of people that are the end of the baby boomers and the rest of the retiring population that represent the largest group of people with the largest disposable income in North America, and quite possibly the rest of the world for at least the foreseeable future. Yep, we even beat out the youngsters! However, we are largely ignored, either as too old, unable to perform the job at hand, or just to set in our ways to change.

This site exists to speak to The Grey Wave and to those smart enough recognize they should listen and learn from hard-earned experience… before the opportunity and experience is lost forever.

I started researching the need for a site like this after, among other things, hearing an episode of a podcast called The Age of Persuasion, (it’s like a radio broadcast but on a specific topic, in this case the advertising industry) by Terry O’Reilly for CBC Radio back in 2011. The episode was called Ageism in Advertising and his findings are summarized in my post called, appropriately, Ageism in Advertising.

The point for this site was further driven home while sitting in my doctor’s waiting room and looking at the clientele that was patiently waiting to get in to see her… Most people were all under 40 and many were toddlers. Living outside a big metropolitan area means that you consider yourself lucky IF you get a family doctor. But it also means that you have to take what you get. Unfortunately for elders (I intensely dislike the word “senior,” as for why see my article Senior or Elder) most doctors seem to want a young clientele because finding a Gerontologist is impossible. I’ve yet to meet a doctor in this discipline… the study of physical processes and problems of aging and Geriatrics, the branch of medicine dealing with diseases, debilities and care of aged people, but it certainly sounds like this is the kind of doctor should have and with the growing wave, a necessary one.

I observed an alarming increase in the number of advertisements for adult diapers, medication for ED, and other such product. Clearly this is a reflection of what Terry O’Reilly points out in his podcast… that the people that are in charge have no clue what’s going to happen to them, what elders want, or how to market it to them.

I recall Ed Asner, who was the past president of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) in the US and portrayed the beloved “Lou Grant” in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, stating a need for more roles for older actors, and not just roles that are portraying the elder 5-steps from the grave. In 2001 he stated in a article by CBSNews.com Staff called “Hollywood’s Endangered Species” that “…age discrimination, while not new to Hollywood, has reached a ‘horrendous’ level.”

I remember the saying that “every time an elderly dies, a library burns down” alluding to the amount of knowledge that they’ve accumulated through their lives and hasn’t been recorded. It’s reckless and irresponsible for our society to continue to believe that The Grey Wave is irrelevant.

In Strategy, a Canadian magazine focusing on advertising strategies, an article by Grant Surridge in June of 2012 stated that “adjusting the marketing mix for a senior boom entails media brand tweaks.” Tweaks? I’d say they need entire new campaigns speaking to me, by folks like me, who understand me about products that I’m interested in and this doesn’t include diapers… I can figure that one out on my own.

Stay with me on this… My wife recently went through severe cancer treatments. Among the support personnel we were allocated was a psychologist. Not one to turn down any potential help, we visited her. She was a 20-something that advised us that we can only carry so many emotions around at once. That we needed to “empty our emotional tanks.” Really? That’s your advice? She was very nice, but didn’t have the life experience to speak to me.

I laugh when advertisements talk about retirement at 65, or even 55. Every time I hear the “You’re richer than you think,” slogan from some financial institution I want to physically bitchslap the person saying the line and then shake them until the wake up. Who comes up with these ideas?

I’m not sure how many of you have indexed pensions (excluding government employee’s) or even a pension, but pensions were done away with for virtually every, single employer I’ve had since I was 20-years-old. In fact, even the companies that used to offer “dollar-for-dollar” deposit in RRSP’s disappeared in the early 90s. I don’t have the option of retirement. We’ve reverted back to what life was like for my great-grandparents, all in the space of a half century.

This website, The Grey Wave, or The Gray Wave if you prefer, is all about the retiring population. It’s a place for elders to share knowledge, stories, learn about what they can expect and hopefully learn about options they didn’t have before. Think about situations that they hadn’t thought of.

I’ve worked in the printing industry starting with hot metal typesetting to the demise of it. Typography was killed off with the invention of Desk Top Publishing, after all, anyone can type, right, which is why all publications look the same… the software never really did fix all the niceties that was my profession.

I moved to computer support and teaching. I’ve taught more elders than any other person I know how to use a computer, get the most out of it and make it work for them and in so doing I relate to them with examples they can relate to, and this is something that a young person simply can’t conceive.

When that petered out, on to broadcast TV where I literally started sweeping floors working up to Line Producer and Writer.

My interested are vast and my contacts many. I never stop learning and this site is an attempt to share some of this knowledge, both from me and other contributors. Incidentally, contributors are welcome and I can be reached through the contact page in the footer.

I hope you find it useful, interesting and at times, funny.


Seaghan Hancocks

Mr. Seaghan (pronounced shawn) Hancocks works as a professional broadcast Line Producer. Between gigs he writes for his growing web clientele.

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