11/18/2020 | By Terri L. Jones

In our grandparents’ day, old folks wore orthopedic shoes, took Geritol and spent Saturday nights watching “The Lawrence Welk Show.” They reminisced about the good ole days and looked forward to rocking on the front porch, at best, or being shipped off to a nursing home, at worst.

Not Our Grandparents’ Old Age …

But that’s not the way we’re aging these days. Not by a long shot – we’re redefining aging! Today, we’re living healthier lifestyles, which means we’re not only living longer but also more vibrant lives during our later years. We’re mentally and physically active – exercising, learning and traveling well into our 70s and 80s. We’re also living independently longer, and some of us are even continuing to work way past what’s traditionally been considered retirement age.

As a result of this updated image of aging, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, which conducts research into large and complex issues such as population aging, climate change, and energy security, has declared that today “old age” doesn’t even begin until we’re around 74.

70 Is the New 50

These days, we also view this stage of life quite differently than past generations. In fact, 73 percent of women who participated in a 2018 TD Ameritrade survey focused on women and aging say 70 is the new 50. More than half of their male counterparts in the survey agree.

Another TD Ameritrade survey about redefining aging reported that Americans, on average, expect to live to age 84. Plus, a striking 81 percent of those surveyed say that they’re using this time to reach new goals, with 69 percent appreciating the opportunity to finally focus on themselves.

Don’t Label Us!

Because we don’t feel or act “old,” we adamantly reject descriptions of ourselves in those terms. Monikers like “senior citizen” and “mature adult” have definitely fallen out of favor with our generation. And don’t even think of calling us “elderly”!

Even organizations and businesses have recognized our contempt for age-specific labels and have changed names like American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) and American Association of Retired Persons to Leading Age and AARP, respectively.

Danskos and Herbal Supplements

Nowadays, the autumn of life looks a lot different than it did in our grandparents’ day. Trading those lace-up orthopedic shoes in for Danskos and Geritol for herbal supplements, we’re living life to the fullest. And rather than watch Bobby and Cissy dancing on the TV screen like Grandma did on Saturday nights, we’re more likely to be out cutting a rug ourselves. We’re not letting that number on our driver’s license hold us down or define us!

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones