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  • Writer's pictureNancy Griffin

Age Wave Study Debunks Aging Stereotypes

Today’s modern elders don’t feel over the hill; they’re just beginning to chart their course for their next great adventure.

The New Age of Aging, An Age Wave study provides pivotal insights as to what the rapidly unfolding future will look like. The study is based on a nationally representative survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults with over 900 adults age 50+.

Age Wave identified five key insights from the study:

  1. The demographic makeup of the U.S. is turning upside down as older adults will soon outnumber youth under 18 for the for the first time in our history.

  2. The definition of “old” has been pushed back by twenty years, driven by a new breed of older adults.

  3. Seventy-one percent of today’s modern elders, adults 65+, say the best time of their life is right now or in front of them.

  4. We need to re-imagine purposeful roles for older adults, as 83% of adults 65+ say it’s more important to feel “useful” rather than “youthful” in their retirement years.

  5. There is a need and desire to better match our healthspans to our lifespans; 71% of adults 50+ say they’d take a pill that would give them an extra 50 healthy years.

The Power of Purpose

One of the most profound findings that emerged from the study of human longevity is the importance that purpose and social connections play in the lives of older adults. Having a strong sense of purpose in our later years enhances our health and well-being and may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stroke, while social isolation has been found to be more deadly than smoking cigarettes. The study suggests replacing the age-old search for the “fountain of youth” with finding one’s own “fountain of usefulness.”

Retiring Retirement

Retirement, as defined by adults age 50+, is no longer a time for rest and relaxation 24/7. 97% of adults 65+ agree that “it’s important to stay curious and be willing to learn new things throughout life.” Retirement is no longer synonymous with the end of work. A majority (59%) of today’s retirees and pre-retirees say they want both work and retirement, whether full-time, part-time, or cycling in and out of work.

Flex-work, remote-work, sabbaticals, and paid leave are not just benefits for the young. And keeping older adults engaged in the workforce could help fuel economic growth and promote greater lifelong financial security.

The Five Keys to Thriving in the New Age of Aging

Over the past several decades, Age Wave has collected and analyzed data about the new retirement, from more than 100,000 survey respondents across North America, working with major financial institutions, including Allianz, Ameriprise, Charles Schwab, Edward Jones, and Merrill Lynch. From these studies Age Wave has uncovered five keys to thriving in our newfound longevity:

1. Actively take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health.

2. Build and nurture strong relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.

3. Maintain a clear sense of purpose and pursue meaningful involvements.

4. Be willing to course-correct as needed to achieve your dreams throughout life.

5. Commit to saving and investing for lifelong financial security.


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