My resounding answer: HELL NO!!
Lately, I’ve had the impression that the world is trying to make me feel old. Is it just me?
Let me give you some examples:
I turned 65 this summer, which means that since spring every other piece of mail has been Medicare related. I guess all these brokers, workshops with free meals and Medicare Plus companies stand to make money but the amount they spend on glossy paper could build a senior center in every town!
Chi chi retirement home flyers.
Walk in bathtubs
Remedies for foot, back and any other body part you can name pain
Drugs for Parkinson’s, metastatic breast cancer, all manner of heart and lung ailments
Diabetes devices and mechanical knees and hips worthy of the $6 Million Man
Oxygen tanks to hang on your motorized wheelchair
Joe Namath, Jimmy “JJ” Walker and others hawking Medicare schemes with the exact same script
I’ve been taking online courses for some new modules we’ll be using in our HR/Payroll system. There are lots of cartoon people and the instructions are totally juvenile. I keep thinking, is this what Millennials and Gen Z requires? Something to keep them amused while they learn? Am I exhibiting the educational equivalent of, “Hey you kids, get off my lawn!”?
I’m always interested to see movies about older folks. Poms (Diane Keaton), Senior Moment (William Shatner and Jean Smart) and 5 Flights Up (Keaton again) are all smart, fun and positive films. But there was something about Queen Bees that just hit me wrong. The lives of the women portrayed in the movie, residing at a retirement home, seemed boring and sad. Too much soap opera and typical old age ailments and very little joy. I was depressed the rest of the day…
Of all these things, though, I think the ads are really what get to me. I feel like advertising aimed at seniors is designed to make us fearful, to think of ourselves in terms of lack, weakness and fragility. That we’re incapable of functioning without their advice, benefits or products. I’m sure there is a need for many of the items being touted but, like all basic advertising, they target the vulnerable. As we get older, we have to continue to make our purchasing, and life, decisions from a position of strength. Let’s not be unduly influenced to give up our power before we need to.
I’ve managed to reach 65 with no significant aches and pains, without replacing any body parts and taking only one maintenance drug that I’ve been using for my thyroid since I was 38. I shouldn’t feel guilty because I feel healthy.
Although I see these ads everywhere, I will admit that we watch a few of the “old folks” channels. You know, the ones that run content that appeals to Boomers—fun shows that are familiar and nostalgic. I don’t understand why it hasn’t occurred to the sales department of these channels to woo gyms, travel companies and entertainment venues (this was lacking even in pre-covid days) for those of us still young in body and at heart.
This post sprang from a quote on Wil Wheaton’s Instagram discussing the memoir he has coming out next April. “…and in the most unexpected way, finding out exactly who I am, versus who I always thought I was supposed to be.” I think, no matter how old we get, we’re still discovering who we are. I just want to make sure I don’t become someone else’s version of who they think I’m supposed to be.
PS—We’ll be signing up for Consumer Cellular next week. Now there’s a company who knows how to appeal to active seniors!
Picture attribution: Elderly people sign, K. Mitch Hodge, Medicare, designer491 and Watching TV, Vadym Pastukh. All from Unsplash