The happiest women I speak to in my research are older women. Sitting around the table with a group of women in their 60s the conversation is always lively and upbeat. This is arguably the best stage of life for them. And far from retiring or slowing down there is a lot happening in their lives. It is a new phase and an exciting one at that.
This particular gentleman was in his early 60s, very well spoken and immaculately dressed. We were discussing the global financial crises and impact on the lives of this group of pre-retirees. Sharing his own story he revealed that he is severely in debt. Diagnosed with a brain aneurism and without private health insurance his financial position was, to be frank, depressing. Yet he was neither negative nor down on himself, quite the contrary.
A decade ago, when in their mid-50s, the Boomers were
adamantly rebellious about their health. Live hard even if it means you die a
bit younger was their mantra. They were intent on ignoring their doctors’ instructions
to curtail their lifestyle, and rather chose to enjoy life to the max.
On a recent drive I caught a brief look at a perplexing
billboard. I can’t recall what it was advertising –apologies for focussing on
the road – but I did notice the largest font words asking “Over 55?”
It seems there is no real difference between being 55 years old,
90 years old or beyond. It is assumed that once the magical age of 55 is reached
all consumers share the same values, lifestyle, outlook and consumption
patterns. At least that’s the conclusion once can draw from this billboard and,
surprisingly, most other advertising and marketing campaigns.
The greatest health concerns among ageing Australians has nothing to do with physical wellbeing. In this area they tend to rebel, avoiding the strictures of a preventative health regime. Rather, what they worry about and actively work on is their mental health and intellectual wellbeing.