Retiring Baby Boomers Break the Stereotypes About Seniors

Retiring Baby Boomers Break the Stereotypes About Seniors

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Pattern: professional activity, retirement, steady decline, end of life, that’s over! Baby Boomers are now in their mid-fifties and they are transforming the way « older people » are perceived.

A person is considered a senior citizen by the age of 55. The word « senior » makes us think about retirement. Yet, very few people are retired by the age of 55. Moreover, barely 8% among them are dependent, according to Seniors Generations, a study conducted by the French marketing and communications company Adjuvance, Therefore, the term « senior » covers several realities in a single word.

These realities are not limited to professional activity or to retirement. Josiane C., explains it very well in her interview during the Seniors Generations study:

« One thinks everything stops when retiring and that all retired people have the same lifestyle but it is not true at all. I take care of my grandchildren, I do volunteer work, I engage in new activities, I travel more, I have a very active post-retirement life, quite different from what I imagined it to be! »

One Term, Several Realities

Advertisements intensify these stereotypes regarding seniors. People over 55 are represented in two stereotypes:

● the active senior who denies his/her age, who worships youth, the lengthening of adulthood and self-accomplishment; and
● the dependent senior portrayed as the isolated old person.

The first example is glorified while the second one is exaggerated, giving a limited and false image of a life stage that covers many different kinds of people. These images are evolving into multiple senior profiles.

Through its study, Adjuvance revealed three « life patterns » defined according to age, lifestyle, accumulated resources, habits during retirement and ideologies (situation within the social hierarchy and the corresponding customs and values):

● Hedonism that refers to activities and indulgence, to individualism and consumption;
● Sharing that refers to altruism and transmission values, and to interactions with the family; and
● Withdrawal that refers to a gradual decline of social interactions after retirement.

The Age Perceived Vs the Actual Age

The term « senior » is the single word that includes all people over 55 years old. As the average life expectancy is 81 years old in the United Kingdom (in 2015), this includes people who still have 30 to 40 years ahead of them.

The difference between the actual age and the age perceived should also be taken into account. This difference is around 15 years. Growing old depends on three factors: social, psychological and physical factors. Being 70 years old does not mean anything when the body is in a good physical condition and when the person feels accomplished:

« My body may be 70 years old but I do not feel the same in my head. I do not feel old as I thought I would when imagining being this age one day. » Said Michelle F. to Adjuvance, Seniors Generation.

Find the complete Seniors Generations study conducted by Adjuvance, by clicking on the following link (French only) : Adjuvance-Seniors Generations Study

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