Gone are the days when we knew exactly where our parents and grandparents were. If you don’t keep current with their Instagram and Facebook posts, how will you know what world destination they’ve traveled to, what new sport they’ve taken up, or what college they are now attending?
According to the International Council on Active Aging, in 2020 the number of people age 60 years and over passed the 1 billion mark for the first time ever. That correlates to one in every seven persons having a higher average disposable income and more time to enjoy life.
Seniors are fastest growing demographic and sparking excitement as marketers rush to cater to this lucrative market. There was a time when old age meant declining into inactivity. Now, these new customers don’t let age hold them back. Young at heart and in good physical health, their zest for life leads them to look for challenging experiences and embrace life to the fullest.
For those seniors who are looking to make a career change or go back to work, there are myriad new positions available, as companies realize their best ambassadors are the seniors themselves. Taking advantage of reduced or free tuition, it is not unusual to see more mature students on college campuses.
Senior travel, once described in outdated stereotypes, now ranges from visiting off-the-beaten path destinations to adventure filled activities to luxury tours and cruises. Naturalists appreciate ecotourism, which educates the traveler, while conserving the environment. Hobbyists enjoy incorporating their passion—biking or learning a language—into their plans. Those looking to give back delight in volunteering while experiencing new cultures. Multi-generational travel and traveling with grandchildren provide the gift of lasting memories. A bit of wanderlust and a love of the open road fuels traveling with an RV, a recreational vehicle that contains living quarters.
THE GOOD LIFE AT HOME
Senior communities that cater to adults 55 years and over are celebrating strong consumer demand. Offering a sense of community and an active lifestyle, many receive an “A” for amenities, some with more than 60 clubs and organizations available to join. Located in all parts of the country and available at all price levels, there are enough choices to fit individual preferences.
The fitness industry, known for pursuing a younger clientele, has recognized the 60 years-plus population as the new key to their success. Products and services geared to this market, discounted fitness club memberships and “more seasoned” personal trainers appeal to those in this group who are in good health and want to remain healthy.
Pickleball has quickly become the sport of choice for seniors and is the fastest growing sport in America. It is low cost, low impact, aerobic and social, easy to learn and not expensive to participate in.
Studies that try to redefine aging, whether it’s for policy purposes or simply to reaffirm the fact that “60 isn’t old,” are always worthwhile, says Carolyn Aldwin, director of Oregon State University’s Center for Healthy Aging Research.
“There is great data showing that people in their 70s and 80s today are living with less disability than people in their 70s and 80s just 20 years ago, and we are learning how to live longer and better from what we’ve learned from prior generations,” Aldwin said.
“For many, many people, I’m a firm believer that 60 is the new 50.”
While the beauty industry has always capitalized on anti-aging products for younger women, they’ve now realized older women not only want to look their best, they also have the purchasing power to achieve it. Pro-aging products for skin, hair and makeup are now meeting the needs of mature skin.
At 76 years of age, actress Helen Mirren has her choice of new roles coming her way. In a recent interview for People magazine, the spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris Skincare, shared how she’s achieved and maintained her swagger, the word she likes to use to describe her confidence in herself. “Other people call it growing older, she said, “I call it growing up. One of the advantages is that you literally get to be wiser.”
As the population matures around us, they bring with them a newfound determination to carpe diem. They’ve demonstrated that older is now synonymous with wiser, optimism can benefit you as a lifestyle choice, and seizing the day can be accomplished with style, grace, and swagger.