June 25, 2020
The Beauty of Maturity
The cult of youth has had a tight grip over pop-culture for the last half-century but finally, the tides are changing. It’s true that we’re all getting older. But as a whole, the populations of many leading economies are truly getting old. For example, in the US, the growth rate of the 65-and-over population is running more than three times greater than the total population growth rate. With the mature adult and senior population growing faster than any other group projected through 2030, expect this demographic to be increasingly relevant across all segments of commerce and culture. Yet, only 6% of assets featuring people in our collection include models over 50 years old; and only 4% of the collection exclusively represents people in the 50+ and Senior age group category.
Like all aspects of demographic inclusion, it’s important to consider what is authentic and respectful representation. What gives dimension, character, depth, nuance, and complexity to older populations’ views, experiences, attitudes, and relationships? Amplify qualities less associated with older lifestyles that illustrate how dynamic, motivated, inspired, capable, and independent seniors are. Reflect ethnic and cultural diversity. Provide social context and emotional texture. Avoid stereotyping. Explore ideas that paint a different picture about aging.
We need diverse mature adults and seniors in all categories and all lifestyle contexts, shown in groups and with families, friends, and their communities.
• Multi-ethnic, LGBTQ+, interfaith representations
• Ability inclusive
• Mature adults (50+ years old) and Seniors (60+ years old)
• Individuals, couples, families, and groups
• Cross-cultural, intergenerational
• Home Life – Explore daily tasks and activities, such as errands, housekeeping, cleaning, shopping, bookkeeping, etc.
• Leisure – With increasing affluence as a group, today’s mature adults and seniors generally enjoy more access to leisure activities than their parents did. This means more travel, more downtime, more investment in leisure assets (RVs, boats, vacation houses, bikes, cars) and leisure experiences (dining, cruises, tours, classes, hiking, biking, social groups, clubs). Travel, day trips, staycations, etc.
• Technology – One of the biggest disruptors in the senior lifestyle market is tech use. Technological innovation is driving many of the 2020 senior living trends. Older adults can remain healthier, better connected, safer, and more informed through new smart devices and Smart Home Technology, such as voice-activated devices that assist those with mobility challenges. Searches for “Senior laptop” were up 114%, and “Senior ipad” 500% last year over the previous period.
• Hobbies and Passion Projects – When the business of raising families and raising income finally winds down, other interests, passions, talents, hobbies, and pastimes can finally take root. Consider gardening, arts and crafts, home improvement, music, writing, reflexive activities, etc.
• Allies and Advocates – “Boomers” have acquired a bad rep lately but the world is full of socially, civically, and politically engaged seniors. Content for activism, advocacy, philanthropy, and volunteer work is much needed in the collection.
• Teaching moments – Being “active” doesn’t necessarily mean staying fit, but can include “doing active things,” like cooking, gardening, reading, learning, showing, creating, sharing.
• Milestones – Capture the events in life that bring everyone together such as graduations, birthdays, weddings, and gatherings.
• Community and social groups – Explore the ways people coming together through shared interests, passions, and projects, and the unique relationships that are formed in these spaces and events.
• Friendships – Social life is a strong thread in senior lifestyle trends. Searches for “Senior citizen group” and “Senior Party” increased by 780% and 207%, respectively, between June 2019 and 2020 over the previous year. Remember also that friendships can take many different forms and be cross-generational.
• Romantic relationships – We want images and moving images that give depth, intimacy, complexity and dignity to older couples in established relationships, dating, or looking for new companionship. Searches for “Senior man and woman” increased 1,425% last year!
• Bonding moments – The small moments together are just as important as the big ones. Talking, walking, sharing a meal, family board games, puzzle nights, celebrations, slide shows, are just some ideas for how we spend quality time together.
• Seniors with adult children – Seniors are regularly pictured in their role as grandparents and less so as parents to adult children. We need to see these relationships too.
• Connections that show social distance – As this age group is a more vulnerable sector of the population to the threat of contagions, social distancing will be a part of mature adult and senior lifestyles for a long time to come. Socializing outside, or through windows, video chats with friends and family.
• Multigenerational families – Beyond the nuclear family unit, we want to see generations come together at home, on vacation, recreating, and in holiday settings.
Health and Wellness
• Fitness and active lifestyle – Attractive senior lifestyle is active senior lifestyle. Health, wellness, and fitness themes will always play a dominant role in this category.
• Telehealth – Over the past decade, telehealth — a broader term used to define all digitally delivered medical services and health education — has grown steadily as an industry. This year, in response to COVID-19, Telehealth service usage has skyrocketed and will continue to transform medical care into the future as patients and healthcare providers look for alternatives to in-person medical visits.
• Health check-ups – health check-ups are a routine aspect of life for aging adults. These can look like in-clinic or at-home consultations, screenings, and tests.
• Wellness and self-care – Although younger models are often the face of wellness and self-care industries, the slightly older population has the interest and resources to invest in this market.
• Holistic practices – In their youth, baby boomers led the original New Age movement, which embraced spiritual, philosophical, and healing practices from outside of mainstream Western medicine. These include yoga, Acupuncture, and Reiki, which are again rising in use and popularity. Seniors are also embracing the use of CBD products, with some surveys reporting over 50% of polled seniors have tried CBD as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals.
• Beauty – Increasingly, brands are celebrating, promoting, including, and respecting what beauty looks like at different stages in life — sometimes rebranding “anti-aging” messages into “pro-aging.” Tired of the agism and cult of youth that has dominated fashion and beauty for so long, some of the most exciting new voices and faces to emerge in beauty and fashion influencing are over 50.
• Fashion – Versace, Celine, Saint Laurent, H&M, Balmain, Gucci, Calvin Klein, and Bottega Veneta are just a few of the international labels choosing 50+ models to head their campaigns.
Keyword for Age Inclusivity
Credits: Heather Favell/The Observer; Chuck Close, Hinterhaus Productions:Getty Images; Marcos Mijan: Fanatic; FG Trade:Getty Images; Roos Brothers/Rocky Mountain Health; Chester Higgins; McKinsey L. Jordan (left, right); Phil Montgomery:Tool of North America ; Chanikarn Thongsupa; Getty Images; Monkey Business: Adobe Stock; Magnus Marding; Mark Mahaney; Hideaki Hamada; Africa Studio: Shutterstock; Thinkstock:Getty Images; Solstock:Getty Images; Nationwide Financial: Transient Pictures; Puzzlepix:Shutterstock; McKinsey L. Jordan; Toast, Hero Images