Something to Think About

Contributed by: Cindy Hellyar, Gerontologist, The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence

At The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence we keep a pulse on people age 50+ to support the company in delivering customer value. One of the most interesting issues we have followed over the last 30 years is attitudes about aging. Typically our own individual thinking on this topic changes as we age ourselves. And certainly aging has changed. But what do people really think about getting older? It’s important to consider as we’ve found that personal attitudes can impact the way we approach this market segment from a business perspective.

A friend turned 60 and confided that she was having a difficult time with it. Nothing in her life had changed, just her numerical age. Even though attitudes have become more positive, on an individual basis we all vary in terms of how we approach aging.

Not too long ago AARP did a study called “Attitudes of Aging” and found that on average, most people think that someone is old at age 70. When asked about their own aging, 85 percent of the respondents (who ranged in age 40 – 90) said they weren’t old yet!


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Although this should be good news for my friend, she may still find it difficult to transition into her new age of 60 – we all have our own perceptions about aging. The better news for my friend is that the study also showed that most feel that getting older is a positive experience (see slide 20 in the study for details.)

At what age do you think “old” is? Tell us now. (The survey is anonymous.)

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