We're the only ones who can change the ridiculous stereotypes around ageing...



Ageism is something that older Australians have been battling for years. There is parking specifically for older people, shortened passports for older people and computer classes for older people. Which on one hand is great, but the age of “older people” is getting lower and lower and people as young as 65 are being considered “old age”. Why is this happening and how do we make 60 young again?

In July this year, Starts at 60 conducted a survey asking you, our community, how old really is old? The survey said it loud and clear – well over 50% of you believed old is older than 80 years. A month earlier, a UK group had conducted a study and found that people between 16 and 30 believed that old was at age 58.

Why is there this perception that 60 is the start of old? How do we teach our children and grandchildren that 60 doesn’t even begin to mean slowing down? We have a community full of active 60s who drive, use computers (you are clearly using a computer otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this!) and who are avid travellers. So how can we convey this to the rest of the world?

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60 shouldn’t mark the start of ageism for “being old”. Let’s take a look at the differences between over 60s and those in their 40s.

–       More likely to have more disposable income due to paid off mortgage

–       More likely to travel due to increased available cash and less work commitments due to retirement

–       More time to socialize and enjoy activities and personal interest

–       More likely to be more flexible as it is less likely children are living at home

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Basically, it looks like over 60s are living the life that younger people are dreaming of – so why do they treat us this way? Life in your 60s is almost like a DINK (double income, no kids) lifestyle so how can we stop people thinking over “60” and “nursing home” and get them to see what we are really like?

The truth is that retirement and life after 60 really are the golden years. We get to have more fun, have fewer worries and really enjoy our freedom. While some of us sadly battle with health problems, a lot of us are fortunate enough to still go on living our happy lives. Retirement ages continue to rise and that in itself is an indicator of how much life we still have left in us during our 60s.

So while we have jobs, more disposable income, more flexibility and freedom and more time for our own leisure activities, we need to unite and stop the ageing stereotypes. We need to prove to the younger generations that 60 is when the good times really begin. At 60, we don’t need special parking spots while we still have our physical ability, we don’t need shortened passports while we still have the will and means to travel and we don’t need computer classes when Starts at 60 is proof that hundreds of thousands of seniors are online every month.

And now, I want to pose a question to every single person reading this article… How will YOU start showing that 60 is not old? What will you do today, tomorrow, this week or this year to prove to everyone else that being in your 60s does not mean you are old? Share your answers in the comments below and let’s start a movement to break this ageist stereotype…