Senior Citizen's Guide to Philadelphia and Suburbs Fall/Winter 2014 - 15 - page 11
As a Baby Boomer, I am accustomed to feeling
important, which is why it bothers me that I will soon
become invisible. All my life, I’ve been courted for my
influence and my buying power. Once I reach 65, my
opinions won’t be worth squat. In survey after survey,
I’ll be lumped into an “over 65” category that assumes I
think and purchase just like an 85 year old. And I don’t
like it.
Companies want to know how old you are so they can
understand differences in priorities and spending habits.
Once you reach 65, however, you lose the preferences
that define you as an individual or a cohort. You become
part of a group whose members presumably all think alike
– the old.
The 65+ population has significant spending power,
so you would think companies would want to know a lot
about them, but apparently not. This is more than dumb
marketing; it’s ageist. Though seemingly innocuous,
these surveys perpetuate stereotypes and marginalize
older people. They influence the young, and, even
worse, they influence older adults who may adopt these
beliefs themselves.
I tried being devil’s advocate. Maybe it’s because the
surveys are mostly online, I suggested, and people 65+
aren’t online. That’s not true. According to the Pew
Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project,
54% of people over 65 use the Internet (up from 13%
in 2000). One third of people over 75 are Internet users,
and twelve percent of people over 75 use tablets. Use of
technology by seniors may not be as high as with younger
age groups, but if you want data about how people
Your Opinion Matters…
Until You’re Over 65!
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