Suddenly labeled as “old”
Sure, reading glasses are pulled out more often, gray streaks embellish your hair, and you feel a little bit more inelegant when you get out of bed in the morning. If you’re looking for a new job, you’ll inevitably have a harder time, and starting your own business makes you a „seniorpreneur.“
But what is so different about you on your 50th birthday that didn’t exist a few days before? Although you are still the same person, society has imposed a new label on you.
You are suddenly being targeted by advertising differently and with a focus on new products including magnifying glasses to apply your nail polish and a larger font setting for your smartphone. You might even start seeing ads for a walker!
In our society, youth is valued over age, despite claims to the opposite. Even those who manage to approach their later years with calm and self confidence imparted by years of experience can have the unpleasant feeling that their lives will change, and that there are things that they will need to say goodbye to.
Many of us feel young! Both professionally and in our personal lives, we are full of energy and drive, but when you pass the friendly windowpane invitation to the senior citizens‘ center „Staying Active Long – 50+ with Sports, Games and Computers“ class while jogging through the neighborhood in the morning, you can’t help but feel a pinch of agism – despite the fact that you also get a chance to exercise your laugh lines.
Ads such as this being displayed alongside stereotypical advertising for the local senior citizens‘ magazine posted in the bleak window display of a medical supply store can be difficult to encounter. The reason why we can feel discriminated against in these cases is because of the idea that age is a threat. This concept is built on incorrect stereotypes of illness, isolation and passivity.
It is time to show a positive image
People over 50 are an extremely diverse group, and there are many of us! Consider the demographic shift in the western world: In Germany, people aged 65+ already make up 21% of the population, 45% of them are older than 50 years. The number is increasing with each passing year.
What if we stopped focusing on the downsides of getting older? Many things stay the same as we age, and some things even get better. In other words, lots of clichés about aging are just plain wrong. One of them is that your later years are depressing. What adjectives are often associated with older people? Sad, cranky or grumpy.
Studies show that in industrialized countries, it is those over 55 who experience the highest levels of happiness and life satisfaction. As we enter the second half of our lives, we feel a kind of lightness or freedom. Not only do we no longer worry so much about what others might think of us, but it becomes easier to let go of things, people and routines that are not good for us. Instead, it gets simpler to focus on what is really important to you.
Let’s talk about the ‘New Old’
We want to tell different stories about being and growing older. On Age of Style, we present inspiring people and initiatives, we explore the public discourse on the topic of aging and point out where change is possible and necessary. We will listen carefully to what “the new olds” think and want”. We believe that demographic change brings new opportunities.
We are searching for products and services that inspire us because very often what is presented as being supposedly tailored to the needs of an older target group is anything but desirable. The products themselves do not appeal to us, nor is the environment in which they take place attractive.
It’s quite a challenge to find aesthetic, functional and quality offerings that make life easier, but they do exist! Here at Age of Style, we present a carefully curated collection of products. At the same time, we want to motivate manufacturers and the industry at large to look at their products with new eyes and develop a more diverse view of their target audience.
We embrace the challenge and look forward to the exchange!
Kathrin & Christiane