To some, it must have been a very long time coming but here it is at last. That smug, gold-plated, bloated slice of the population, whose main preoccupation appears to be, on the one hand, continually bragging about their unique birthright of rock 'n' roll, flower power, feminism and the sexual revolution while on the other grabbing jobs, income and bread from the mouths of their young, are running into trouble.

As newspaper headlines told us last week: "Baby boomers face a lonely future." According to "Who Will Love Me When I'm 64?," a report published by the U.K. relationship charity Relate and the think tank, New Philanthropy Capital consultancy, the over-50s, unsurprisingly, rate health, financial security and strong relationships soundly — but many are ill prepared for the significant transitions that aging brings. These include retirement, loss of income, loss of status and ill health. And these changes, in turn, have an impact on spouses and friends resulting, for some, in an isolated and difficult older age.

For the baby boomers, as we all know, counter-culture Cupid fired his arrows in a variety of directions. Among those born between 1946 and 1964, divorce flourished for the first time; cohabitation became the norm and fidelity was for many no longer seen as an essential part of a relationship. In addition, women could earn a living and pay their own way while the stigma attached to being either a divorcee or a thirtysomething spinster evaporated. The bars on the matrimonial cage were removed, and many a canary fled.