If you have a fear of getting older, then you are not alone. Globally, just one in three are looking forward to old age, according to a 2019 Ipsos study. America falls slightly above the global average at 40 percent. Other countries feel much more positive about old age, including three quarters (73 percent) in India and two thirds (67 percent) in Turkey. Still, there’s room for improvement.
Better representation in the media, more inclusive design to solve social problems and better preparation for later life are needed to reduce the fear of getting older.
Aging is still viewed negatively in different societies. The fact is that we are ALL aging – from the moment we take the first breath to our last. Researcher Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale University School of Public Health, states that thinking positively about aging can improve our health and longevity.
Research focusing on rapid increases in longevity shows why we do what we do – sharing information and educating both older and younger audiences, who are current and future older adults! We started Global Health Aging to empower people to take charge of their longevity by exploring what it means and will look like for them. Our previous work mostly focused on today’s older adult, and while that is still a core part of our mission, we expanded it to include younger people. Aging happens to all of us, and the earlier we practice healthy habits (this will look different for everyone), the better. It’s still never too late to live a healthy lifestyle. For example, learning about menopause is crucial for both older and younger women.
Younger women should not lack awareness and education about an inevitable condition until they are older. In fact, did you know that menopause can start earlier, before age 40?
We’ve always said that issues affecting aging (nutrition, caregiving, menopause, etc.) are not only for older adults or initiatives focused on older people. For instance, some caregivers are children, people in their 30s with dementia, etc. It’s all about inherited genes or if there’s a life event like caregiving. Our “Five Questions” interview series is one of several projects that features people of different ages in their quest for a longer and healthier life. Let’s challenge our stereotypes around aging by exchanging and engaging in scientific and social dialogue!
What, if any, are your fears about getting older? Tell us!