The research about over 50s continues to defy the stereotypes, and yet they persist in the media. Over 50s are not frail, not conservative and anything but fuddy-duddy.
They fought for harmony with nature, the sharing of resources, the freedom of artistic experimentation and free love during their teens and twenties in the ’60s and fought against war and for women’s equality in the ’70s. Those dynamic, youthful and courageous fires burn still. The newest research* is by Lumen, the dating app for over 50s, to launch its Go Is Just The Start campaign.
The research found that 40% of over-50s surveyed are travelling more than they did when they were younger, and 30% are trying new experiences and enjoy pushing themselves out of their comfort zones. 40% exercise regularly and feel fitter than they did when they were younger.
55-year-old Tony Angus, the highest-ranking Kenpo 5.0 artist in the southern hemisphere…
…and Michael Cottier, the world’s oldest professional surfer at aged 63, are examples of Australia’s older generation who are defying the social preconceptions that life slows down when you reach a certain age. Both are performing at elite levels in their chosen sporting fields.
Nearly 60% of over-50s are still learning, including Sarah Thompson, aka Miss Fit, who at 55 is the oldest in her pole dancing classes, showing that new skills can be gained at any age.
The commissioned research follows a recent international study into the media’s representation of over 50s, which revealed that 86% of this age group felt misrepresented stating that the images portrayed of their age group were not reflective of their generation today.
Charly Lester, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Lumen, commented, “Far too often the media sweeps anyone over the age of 50 into one ‘50+’ age bracket, and regularly depicts being ‘over 50’ with images of 70- or 80-year-olds. But there is a huge difference in those age groups. While 50 might have been the start of old age years ago, today that is just not the case – in today’s day and age, 50 is far closer to mid-life than retiring with most 50-year-olds living lives conducive to that of someone in their 30s and 40s, not someone in their 70s and 80s.
“At Lumen, we want to put a stop to ageism and to celebrate people that are 50+ by highlighting that life is far from done with you ‘hit the big 5-0’. The individuals in our latest campaign do just that. Practising a martial art at a 6th degree black belt level displays far more dedication to fitness than most people I know in their 30s and 40s. And learning to pole dance in a class full of people 30 years younger, is hugely inspiring both physically and mentally. These age-defying 50+ year-olds really are proving that age is just a number and that for them, 50 really is just the start.”
The new campaign features:
Tony Angus, 55
6th degree black belt and the highest rank in the southern hemisphere in the art of Kenpo 5.0.
“I’m excited about being able to represent over 50s and prove that people over 50 are nowhere near done. Being 50 is the new 20! We can’t lose sight of the value that older people bring to the world. That is the years spent learning and gathering information, and gathering the philosophies of living that can be imparted onto others. I’d tell my younger self to look forward to my 50s! It’ll be ok. It’s not death. As you start to gather your life experiences you start to become wiser, and there is something very pleasing about that. When you learn that wisdom you gather it and it really gives you a new-found contentment with your life.”
Sarah Thompson (aka Miss Fit), 55
“I see turning 50 as really starting a new chapter in your life. You’ve gone through life’s trials and tribulations and have come out the other side. You feel empowered to just do whatever you want to do and be whatever you want to be. There’s really nothing holding you back. You can start to indulge your passions and really go for it.”
Michael Cottier, 63
World’s oldest professional surfer
“When I turned 50 nearly 14 years ago, I felt I was not yet halfway in my life and had lots of joy to come. Since turning 50 I have loved knowing more about life and becoming the oldest professional surfer in the world.”
Joan Carroll, 82
“At the gym, people there were going “that old girl’s a nutcase.” I don’t care. I think age is just an assumption of the mind. I don’t feel old, and I still carry on.”
*The Lumen commissioned research was carried out by The Quantum Market Research. Data was conducted online in November 2019 and is based on anonymised information from a sample of over 1,000 Australians.