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Ageism is a Global Issue

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Who would think that WHO (the World Health Organization) would launch something called the "Global Campaign to Combat Ageism"? But they just did, stating this compelling reason:

"Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age. Ageism is pervasive and has profound negative consequences on older adults' health and wellbeing. We need to act now to improve the lives of people everywhere. In response to a call from Member States, WHO is leading and working with other stakeholders on a Global Campaign to Combat Ageism that aims to build a world for all ages by changing the way we think, feel and act towards age and ageing."

In WHO's 200-plus Global Report on Ageism, the organization reports, "Globally, one in two people are ageist against older people." WHO says "Ageism has serious and far-reaching consequences for people's health, well-being and human rights. For older people, ageism is associated with a shorter lifespan, poorer physical and mental health, slower recovery from disability and cognitive decline. Ageism reduces older people's quality of life, increases their social isolation and loneliness (both of which are associated with serious health problems), restricts their ability to express their sexuality and may increase the risk of violence and abuse against older people."

WHO believes three strategies can reduce ageism: Policy and law, educational interventions and intergenerational contact interventions. The organization's three recommendations for action are:

  1. Invest in evidence-based strategies to prevent and tackle ageism.
  2. Improve data and research to get a better understanding of ageism and how to reduce it.
  3. Build a movement to change the narrative around age and ageing.

In an effort to jumpstart the campaign, WHO has created a "Toolkit" for anyone who wants to help fight ageism. It includes resources to inspire conversations, organize events and spread the word via social media and other methods. I have included a link to the Toolkit (PDF) here:

Download Combat-ageism-toolkit

American Boomers are in a unique position: We ourselves are often victims of ageism, especially in the workplace. But we are also one of the most appropriate groups to combat ageism. I encourage everyone -- of any age -- to download the Toolkit and join the fight. Ageism is a global issue, and as WHO says, "It is time to say no to ageism."

Image: World Health Organization

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s! 


Happy Scam-adays

Media Road-sign-464653_1920It's holiday time and Boomers should be thinking about... scams. That's right, scams.

This time of year we focus on celebrating the holidays but sadly, it's also a time when scammers are doing their best to bilk Boomers, as well as others. Everyone is vulnerable to scamming during the holidays since we tend to be distracted and let our guard down. This is an especially trying holiday time with the pandemic, because many of us have restricted our travel and we are likely to stay home rather than visit family and friends. That means you may be spending more time online -- so you are more prone to scams. You also may be answering calls on your phone more often, even from phone numbers you don't recognize.

Unfortunately, online and phone scammers alike are becoming much more sophisticated. They are posing as charities, banks, government agencies, shipping companies and more. For example, emails, websites and text messages might look completely legitimate, but they could be fake. (Have you gotten any of those "shipping notice" texts recently? That's one of the latest scams.) The same is true of phone calls that seem to come from banks, Medicare, the FBI or the IRS.

To keep you from turning your holidays into "scam-adays," I recommend that you read an informative series of articles, "Scams & Older Adults: What to Do?" You'll find it on an excellent website for seniors, Tech-enhanced Life, here: https://www.techenhancedlife.com/articles/scams-older-adults-what-do

This series of four articles, written by a retired psychologist, contains valuable information and tips:

Part 1: Scams & Older Adults. Why older people are especially vulnerable to scams – it’s not just because they are less tech-savvy than younger generations.

Part 2: Forewarning. How scams generally work, what their objectives may be, and ways to recognize signs and situations that increase your vulnerability. (Includes lots of actual examples.)

Part 3: Forearming. Ways to reduce your vulnerability to scams and ways to help yourself and your loved-ones to remain scam-free by following some basic safety rules.

Part 4: Taking control - When you need to step in. What you can do if you need to step in directly to help a loved-one manage their affairs to avoid exploitation. (Your parents or older family members are even more susceptible to scams than you are.)

Consider this my holiday gift to you -- so you'll be able to celebrate the holidays without getting scammed!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s! 


COVID-19 and Generational Resilience

Picture-416614_1920For this blog post, I am taking the unusual step of providing information directly from Age Wave (mentioned in my previous post) about a just-released retirement study that is important for Boomers to know about. This report is based on a large-scale investigation of what it means to live well in retirement that began in November 2019. The study was conducted by Edward Jones in partnership with Age Wave and The Harris Poll. 

August 4, 2020 - Despite COVID-19’s severe and disproportionate impact on the health of aging adults, older Americans reported they are coping far better than younger ones, according to the Edward Jones and Age Wave study released today, “The Four Pillars of the New Retirement.” The 9,000-person, five-generation study in the U.S. and Canada revealed that in the U.S. 37% of Gen Z and 27% of millennials said they have suffered mental health declines since the pandemic began, while only 15% of baby boomers and 8% of silent generation respondents said the same. 

"COVID-19’s impact forever changed the reality of many Americans, yet we’ve observed a resilience among U.S. retirees in contrast to younger generations,” said Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., psychologist/gerontologist and founder and CEO of Age Wave. “Older Americans tend to recognize the value of a long-term view, and so as they think about their lives, longevity and legacy, they’re able to pull from an array of experiences that help them weather current storms, feel gratitude about many aspects of their lives and still plan for the future.” 

The landmark Edward Jones and Age Wave research uncovered a new definition for retirement, as far more than simply the end of work. The majority of U.S. retirees (55%) defined retirement as a whole new chapter filled with new choices, freedoms and challenges, and they do so in a more holistic way across four important areas of health, family, purpose and finance.

COVID-19's Impact on Family Closeness and Finances
COVID-19’s initial dramatic impact on the U.S. economy and personal financial situations may very well leave long-lasting implications. Reflecting a great deal of generational generosity, 24 million Americans* have provided financial support to adult children due to COVID-19, and an overwhelming 71% of retirees said they would offer financial support to their family even if it could jeopardize their own financial future. Despite COVID-19’s negative impact on finances, 67% of Americans said the pandemic has brought their families closer together. The research also revealed that 20 million Americans stopped making retirement savings contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic and only a quarter of working Americans were on track with their retirement savings prior to the pandemic. 

“We've certainly seen COVID-19's disruptive force on finances, with the pandemic influencing retirement timing and financial confidence,” said Ken Cella, Edward Jones Client Services Group Principal. “However, this cloud has brought several silver linings in terms of family closeness and important discussions about planning earlier for retirement, saving more for emergencies and even talking through end-of-life plans and long-term care costs.”

Social Relationships as Predictor of Health and Purpose
While loneliness is pervasive across all five generations, as people age, physical isolation becomes a greater health risk, as deadly as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day , and it is linked to increased risk for heart disease and dementia.  While most retirees (76%) said they derive the greatest sense of purpose from social relationships, specifically time spent with loved ones, 72% noted that one of their biggest fears is becoming a burden on their families. 

"Retirees say they miss people and purpose, not paychecks, when they retire, but 31% of new retirees are struggling to find purpose in this stage of life. They want to feel useful, not just youthful, and keep learning and growing at every age," Dychtwald added. 

The study found that 89% of all Americans feel that there should be more ways for retirees to use their talents and knowledge for the benefit of their communities and society at large. 

Financial Advisors as Connectors and Confidence Builders
As Americans redefine retirement in a broader way across the four pillars, the majority of U.S. respondents felt their ideal financial advisor is a guide who can understand them and help them achieve their goals. In fact, 84% of those working with a financial advisor said that their financial advisor relationship gave them a greater sense of comfort regarding their finances during the pandemic.

Further underscoring the fundamental importance of financial security, retirees are often met by new challenges as they enter retirement. Thirty-six percent of retirees said managing money in retirement is more confusing than saving for retirement, and they want help navigating. Fifty-two percent of retirees cited healthcare costs, including long-term care, as the most common financial worry. This concern was also echoed by pre-retirees as more than two-thirds (68%) of those who plan to retire in the next 10 years said they have no idea what their healthcare and long-term care costs will be in retirement.

“Beyond finances, we can help our clients envision and truly realize a holistic retirement, which, we know includes decisions about their health, family and purpose,” said Cella. “Empathy and knowledge allow us to better serve to our clients in a human-centered way and work together to achieve what’s most important to them and their families.”

While the above findings feature a selection of respondents’ thoughts regarding the new definition of retirement, further examination of the four pillars of health, family, purpose and finances reveal their highly intertwined nature and influence in shaping retirees’ overall quality of life. For more details from The Four Pillars of the New Retirement, please visit www.EdwardJones.com/NewRetirement.

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image by Hajnalka Mahler from Pixabay

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!


Forewarned is Forearmed

Social-media-1989152_1920 MediaMost Boomers realize that we are at a higher risk for serious symptoms and perhaps even life-threatening complications from the coronavirus because of our age. Those of us who have underlying conditions may be at even higher risk. Given current virus surge conditions in several states, some of which have high retiree populations, Boomers need to remain vigilant when they venture out and prudent when it comes to mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing.

In our digital world, information about COVID-19 flows at lightning speed. At times, it seems overwhelming, especially if you have to cull through sources you may be uncertain about. I've been finding this to be especially true when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic and its deleterious effects on Boomers. Unfortunately, even the federal government is not always providing information you can trust.

One strategy I've used is to rely on legitimate health-related organizations, educational institutions and non-profit foundations for unbiased, objective information.

One such organization, The John A. Hartford Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the care of older adults, offers a particularly comprehensive resource of trustworthy information for older adults, including:

What Older Adults and Their Family Caregivers Should Know
Links to articles from ten respected organizations

What Long-Term Care Providers Should Know
Links to four helpful articles

What Health Care Professionals Should Know
Extensive information, including geriatric and serious illness care.

You'll find this excellent resource here:
https://www.johnahartford.org/dissemination-center/view/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-resources-for-older-adults-family-caregivers-and-health-care-providers

In addition, if you are looking for more general information about COVID-19 from an authoritative source, you might want to check out the Coronavirus Resource Center provided by Johns Hopkins: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

Finally, if you want to know the risk level for the pandemic where you live, check out this remarkably useful U.S. county/state map from the Harvard Global Health Institute: https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!


"Oscar" isn't the Only One Who's Aging

Media Oscar-3200050_1920That famous little statue will be handed out at the 92nd annual Academy Award ceremony on February 9. Yes, "Oscar" is 92 years old.

This year, it's encouraging to see a whole host of "older" (i.e., over 50) actors and directors get nominated. As my colleague Julie Gorges writes in her blog, Baby Boomer Bliss, "I keep hoping that Hollywood, and society at large, haven’t completely forgotten the value of the older crowd with their knowledge, life experience, and insight. Maybe this is a step in the right direction."

I think it can be said with some degree of confidence that acting is a timeless art, and we are just as taken with outstanding performances from older actors as from younger ones. How can you be anything but impressed by the acting of Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in "The Two Popes," or Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in "The Irishman." (It was, however, a bit unsettling and even spooky knowing that De Niro, Pacino and Pesci were digitally modified to look younger for most of the movie.)

Interestingly, both "The Two Popes" and "The Irishman" were produced by Netflix, so there appears to be a growing opportunity for older actors as the number of streaming options have increased. Companies such as Amazon and Netflix are producing numerous television series and movies featuring older actors, recognizing, perhaps, that the 50-plus crowd is a formidable demographic making up a solid portion of their streaming audiences.

This is positive for two reasons: First, it reinvigorates and extends the careers of aging actors. Second, it acknowledges that older characters can and should be represented prominently in television and films. Too often in the past (and even today), older characters have been relegated to minor roles or, worse, parodied and ridiculed in the media. It is refreshing to see Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin ("The Kominsky Method") and Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin ("Grace and Frankie") as headliners in two successful television series on Netflix. Sure, both shows poke fun at aging, but in a realistic and sometimes poignant manner.

Employing older actors and depicting older characters on screen is a more accurate representation of the real America. Let's hope the trend continues. 

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image: Pixabay.com

Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!


When It Comes to Boomers, the Media is MIA

Media ID-10041088These days, the news media tends to be largely obsessed with politics and the world's ills. When it does cover human interest stories, however, the focus of attention often seems to be on the under-55 age group. Are we to assume from this coverage that there is nothing newsworthy about Boomers? Of course not -- but it is one more disturbing form of not-so-subtle ageism that sticks in one's craw.

In a recent post, I discussed the sad fact that the advertising industry actively practices ageism, as demonstrated in new research by AARP. Despite the size of the Boomer demographic in the U.S. -- about 74 million people -- and the reality that they hold the majority of America's wealth, advertisers choose to mostly ignore Boomers. In another post, I referenced the impact of global ageism, citing a quote from the World Health Organization (WHO), calling ageism "the most socially acceptable prejudice in the world."

What are we Boomers to think when the media, advertisers, employers and others marginalize us and discriminate against us for growing older? I have a theory about all of this, and it may sound a bit cynical. I believe American society is generally predisposed to accept and embrace youthfulness and shun growing older. We've been conditioned to it through the media. Magazine articles focus mostly on younger celebrities. Mainstream television shows and movies are youth-oriented, and older actors find it tough to get major roles. Advertising either emphasizes youth or peddles pharmaceuticals and adult diaper products to Boomer audiences in a condescending manner.

What is covered in the media is a reflection of society's values. If the media ignores Boomers, or worse, derides us, then one has to wonder whether we are valued in American society. We can only hope that such attitudes toward aging will change as more Americans age. Hopefully, they will realize that getting older is not "bad" -- it's an inevitable part of everyone's life.

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image: Ambro, Freedigitalphotos.net

Read about the brands you loved as a kid in the book, BOOMER BRANDS


Marketing the Old Age Myth

Media Elderly-152866_1280As a retired marketing professional, it is especially painful for me to see how today's marketers characterize older Americans. As I watch television or flip through magazines, I notice ads that incessantly pitch medications to the elderly, poke fun at aging or portray anyone with gray hair as a doddering, incompetent sedentary fool. Turns out that I am not making this up. A recent article in The New York Times reported on new AARP research that proves ageism is alive and well in American advertising.

To begin with, the research, which sampled more than 1,000 random images, indicated that Americans age 50 or older appeared in just 15 percent of the images, although that demographic makes up more than one third of the population. It gets worse. About one third of the workforce is 50 or older, but only 13 percent of the images showed older people working; they were most commonly shown at home, often with a partner or a medical professional. Young people, on the other hand, are often shown with co-workers. While over two thirds of Americans ages 55 to 73 own a smartphone, less than 5 percent of the images showed older Americans using technology, but over one third of the images showed younger folks using technology.

In the article, Martha Boudreau, chief communications and marketing officer of AARP, says, “Marketers reflect the culture and the conversation in our country. Stereotypes about the 55-plus demographic were really limiting people’s sense of what they could do with this half of their lives.”

The article goes on to discuss one interesting reason for ageism in advertising: The field itself is littered with "youngsters." In the U.S., over 80 percent of employees at ad and PR firms are younger than the age of 55. I ran my own direct marketing agency and also worked at a large ad agency -- and I can attest to that fact. Sure, one can always claim that marketing is a young person's business, but that's not a reasonable answer. The fact is the older demographic is growing more rapidly than any other segment in this country and globally. In addition, Boomers have accumulated and hold most of the wealth in the United States, so wouldn't you think marketers would be wise enough to create campaigns targeting us instead of maligning us?

I'm willing to bet that you've seen one or more ads that have looked upon people our age with thinly veiled scorn -- or you've noticed that the vast majority ads don't even acknowledge our existence.

Maybe it's time for all of us to take the advice of ex-TV anchor Howard Beale in the 1976 movie, Network, who said:

"You've got to say: 'I'm a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!'

"So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

"I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!...You've got to say, I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE! "

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image: Pixabay.com

Read about the brands you loved as a kid in the book, BOOMER BRANDS


Do Boomers Still Matter to Marketers?

MediaSadly, most of the advertising Boomers are exposed to seems to be squarely aimed at the Millennial, Gen X or younger generations. Increasingly, ads for just about any product feature consumers younger than Boomers. Advertising that does target Boomers (during television news shows, for example) is largely composed of pharmaceutical promotions.

The benign neglect exhibited by marketers toward Boomers doesn't really make good business sense. There are over 70 million Boomers in the U.S. The majority of the country's wealth is concentrated in our hands, and we are responsible for the lion's share of consumer spending. We continue to work longer and, as a result, spend more longer. 

Still, I've noticed a few things lately that suggest Boomers are not being completely ignored by marketers.

Remember Woodstock? (Of course you do.) Well get ready for Woodstock 50. Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Woodstock, a three-day festival (August 16, 17, 18, 2019) will be held in Watkins Glen, New York, according to Rolling Stone. In preparation for the event, a replica of the iconic Volkswagen "magic bus" will be making the rounds during the summer. The original VW van couldn't be found, so a replica was painstakingly created, in part with the support of Volkswagen. Smart marketers will use Woodstock 50 as an opportunity to appeal to Boomers.

The revitalization of "Boomer brands" also seems to be in vogue. Remember Hickory Farms? (Of course you do.) Created in 1951, this specialty foods brand is currently undergoing a makeover with the addition of such updated products as truffle salami and sriracha mustard. It's an effort to keep the brand fresh while maintaining its original reputation for quality. It's also an attempt to remind Boomers of a brand they grew up with while appealing to younger audiences.

Some television shows and movies have latched onto the Boomer era. The award-winning Amazon TV show, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," takes place in 1958, while "Green Book," the movie that won this year's Best Picture at the Academy Awards, was set in 1962.

Some marketers may continue to ignore Boomers, but wise marketers and media companies recognize that Boomers are still vital... and very capable of spending money.

Have you heard about the new book, Boomer Brands?

 

 

 


Excellent Resources for Seniors

MediaPeriodically, I like to make Happily Rewired readers aware of free resources that are available to seniors. There is a lot of information on the Internet and, as you well know, not all of it is authoritative. Thankfully, some organizations do careful research so the information they provide is accurate and of high quality. Here are three resources I think you will find helpful:

Retirement Planning Guide for Seniors

This comprehensive online guide from Lexington Law, a law firm, offers helpful information and advice for navigating your finances as you age and will help you organize, plan and prepare for the future. The guide includes the following sections: Organizing your finances, Managing your retirement, Maximizing your senior status, Managing your credit and debt, Avoiding financial fraud, Preparing your estate, Helping the next generation.

Retirement Living Information Center

RetirementLiving.com is a national resource for consumer information related to retirement. The website provides access to an array of resource materials, including where to retire, personal finance, a newsletter, books and online publications, and buyers guides about special products and services. Some of the information on this website includes: Buyers Guides for reverse mortgage lenders, gold IRA accounts, medical alert systems, hearing aids, Medicare supplement insurance and more; retirement planning resources, such as investing for retirement and retirement income; and information about senior living, including retirement communities, assisted living and memory care.

100+ Ways to Save Money on Healthcare Costs

This comprehensive guide for seniors on Dealspotr.com covers basic information about Medicare, but it also has helpful tips about dental care, eye care, savings on prescription drugs, home assistance discounts, and even grocery store and restaurant discounts.

 


Identifying Your Ideal Second Act

MediaMy colleague Nancy Collamer specializes in helping Boomers figure out their "second act." I like this concept because it implies Boomers are far from washed up; they have plenty left to be fulfilled and to give to the world. That's one of the reasons I named my blog "Happily Rewired," instead of "Retired."

I highly recommend that you visit Nancy's website, https://www.mylifestylecareer.com/, read her blog posts, check out her book Second-Act Careers, and sign up for her free email newsletter.

When you request the newsletter, you'll also receive a free gift, a workbook entitled "25 Questions to Help You Identify Your Second Act." In it, Nancy makes the point that you should always think about the "why" when you are considering "what" to do next. She gives these examples:

Which of my jobs did I enjoy the most? change the question to: Which of my jobs did I enjoy most - and why?

What were my greatest successes at work? change the question to: What were my greatest successes at work - and why?

What type of people do I like working with? change the question to: What type of people do I like working with - and why?

The workbook covers:

  • Values
  • Skills and Experiences
  • Strengths, Gifts and Talents
  • Hopes, Dreams and (Im)Possibilities

You'll find the workbook very helpful in guiding you toward the future you want.