The misconceptions the over-60s are tired of hearing

Mar 13, 2023
"Sixty is the new forty" as one reader shares. Image source: Getty

When you think of someone over the age of 60, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps you’re thinking of someone old, frail and grey. Someone who has retired from life and is lonely, slow and forgetful. But the reality is, this couldn’t be further from the truth in this day and age.

As a society, we have been found guilty of associating the words ‘old’ and ‘ageing’ with negative connotations and defining people by their age. Unlike past generations, today’s near-retirees and retirees are on a mission to curate their dream lifestyles and live their best lives yet. With better health and more wealth compared to their parents, today’s over-60s most certainly don’t feel ‘old’, they don’t act ‘old’ and the last thing they are doing is letting their age define them and what they can do.

With almost 28% of the Australian population aged over 60, it’s time we shift this mentality and proactively include and engage with this influential demographic in their 60s and beyond. 

Stepping away from the stereotypes 

We asked the Starts at 60 audience what they thought were some of the biggest myths and assumptions other generations tend to make about retirees that aren’t necessarily true. This is what they had to say:

“That we no longer have any useful skills or anything to offer to society”

Many readers echoed this sentiment, saying that many assume “retirees are useless and senile!” or that “they don’t know anything, that they are slow and have nothing to offer” and that others think “what we know is outdated and no longer useful”. 

Marian added that “Sixty is the new forty. Seventy is the new fifty and so on. More than ever before, the older generation are much more active and involved. They carry a world of experience and wisdom that helped shape the pathways and lives of current generations. They babysit the grandies, so the parents can both work to achieve their dreams.

Retirees are a generation of givers and doers, one just has to look at the number of retiree volunteer workers in the paid workforce. I wouldn’t underestimate or undervalue a retiree”. 

“That we were never young”

Don’t underestimate the life experience and knowledge of an over-60. They are Australia’s trailblazing generation. Today’s over-60s grew up challenging the status quo and in turn shaping society and culture. This is a generation that has redefined youth, and now they are paving the way of what the future of retirement will look like.

Shona said that it feels like she’s become invisible. “They forget that we were young. That we may have had a more wild and free, and adventurous past than them. And that we may have some wisdom to impact”. 

Elena feels that other generations seem to think that “our experience doesn’t count for much”.  

“That we must be bored and lonely”

So how do the over-60s spend all their time? Whilst some may continue to stay in the workforce, whether it’s full-time or part-time, those that are blissfully retired are in fact keeping busy!

There is a common theme among quite a few responses, with over the 60s expressing that they’ve never been so busy! Beverley shared that people often think “you sit in your rocking chair and do nothing all day”. 

Today’s retirees are travelling the world. They are cruising to new destinations and ticking off bucket list destinations. They’re exploring new hobbies and staying socially engaged with the community. 

“That we have it easy”

With the cost of living continuously on the rise, younger generations often are quick to assume that the over-60s have it easy and nothing to worry about.

Wendy said “Most of us worked hard for what we have left! Superannuation schemes were not introduced as compulsory for us until 1980-90’s” with another reader adding that “money doesn’t just grow on trees”.

Rhondha reckons that people often think “if you have money saved, you don’t need or deserve any help. Even though you have worked for 50 years, you have to run the gauntlet of the share market to try and make money out of the money you have saved in your life.”

Curious for more insights?

Register your interest now for our up-and-coming Boomer Guide 2023 Edition.