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Would You Rather Suffer Or Admit That You’re Old?

Would You Rather Suffer Or Admit That You’re Old?

By Susan Williams

There was an extremely interesting article published recently in the New Yorker entitled Can We Live Longer and Stay Younger.

In the post, the author of the article shared his experiences and discoveries after his visit to the AgeLab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

The article does a great job of sharing some of the new technologies that are currently being developed to help an aging population. But there was one statement referencing how the AgeLab was actually a paradox that made me really stop and think;

“Old people will not buy anything that reminds them that they are old. They are a market that cannot be marketed to…. We would rather suffer because we’re old than accept that we’re old and suffer less.”

This, like so many other things about aging, is truly a paradox.

We all want to live a long and high quality of life but in order to do this are we guilty of not being willing to use products or services that we think makes us look old?

Does our vanity, desire for independence and possibly even our own ageist views stop us from accepting the help and support we may actually need?

I think this is possibly the case for some things and not so much for others.

For example, it is projected that there will be a significant increase in the number of knee and hip replacements. The knee replacement market  alone is estimated to be worth $25 billion by the year 2025 with a large portion of this market increase a result of an aging population.

Similarly, the cosmetic surgery market is also experiencing a bit of a boom. The demand for fillers and minimally invasive procedures has seen a dramatic increase. And one of the primary reasons being cited is “An overwhelming majority of patients felt that skin care was critical to improving the appearance of aging on the face“.

Also take a look at the “anti-aging” market. Anti wrinkle products dominate and is expected to have robust growth until 2024.

Also Read: Why Do We Need To “Fight” Aging

What all of these three segments have in common is that these procedures are not necessarily anything that is outwardly visible and directly connected to our age. These activities are all done in a private setting and once completed, doesn’t expose someone’s age. In fact if anything, they offer the hopes of reversing the perception of someone’s age.

Whereas some of the new technologies being developed may be more visible to other people and shine a light on the fact that someone is older. As a simple example, chances are the majority of us wouldn’t hesitate to use a cane or crutch if we had some type of injury. But if we needed it to help us walk because of mobility challenges, would we be so quick to accept it? I’m sure most of us would find it much easier to explain an injury to someone rather than admit we needed help because of an issue related to aging.

I get it. In actual fact, I think I’m guilty of this myself in some ways. But I think we need to shift this thinking and be more open to accepting some of these new products and services designed to help us age. We need to face the reality that we are in fact aging and if something is designed that helps us do this better we should use it.

Let’s try looking at this from another perspective. If someone you loved was in need of help and there was something that could assist them, would you not insist that they accept the support?

Maybe we need to think this way for ourselves as well. We need to remove the stigma and judgement of aging and age related products and be willing to accept the support that it offers us.

Even if we don’t want to do this, maybe we should accept the responsibility to be role models for the generations that will follow. By possibly suffering less we could live more and also break this aging paradox.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.