We’re a Diverse Group: Stereotyping Us is a Mistake


In Oregon where I live, the fastest growing age group in the next ten years is projected to be people who are seventy or older.  Our nation and our globe are experiencing a dramatic demographic shift as our overall population is getting older. Yet, we’re a diverse group, and stereotyping us is a mistake!

We are More Than Our Age

What amazes me is that there are still people who look at those over fifty and simply see a wave of grey. We’re so much more than our age. We’re a diverse population. It is true that as some people get older, they do need more assistance and become a bit frail. However, there are others who would be very difficult to follow around from day to day.

In our May 15 newsletter, our feature article is about an individual who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last year and is trekking across the Scotland Highlands this year. He’s going to be 73 in August. He also works full-time.

We are a Diverse Group with Diverse Interests

When organizers plan different events for people fifty and over, I wish they would remember that we are a very diverse group. I was interested in attending an event for baby boomers later this month. But when I looked at the schedule and the sponsors, I was no longer interested.

  • In my view, what will be offered reinforces stereotypes about older adults and aging (ageism). Here are some of the products and services that will be offered or discussed:     
  • Senior Mobility Solutions
  • Handicap Mobility Solutions
  • Health and Fitness
  • Pharmacies and Pharmaceuticals
  • Senior Housing Solutions
  • Estate and Financial Planning
  • Funeral Homes / Pre-planning
  • Daily Living Aids
  • Assisted Living Options

Are you kidding me? Where are the wineries and wine tasting opportunities? Where are the microbreweries? Where are the ‘sip and paint’ opportunities? Where are the seminars on starting your own business? Where are the seminars on mentoring opportunities or other volunteer opportunities?  Where are the presentations on climate change? Where are the Tai Chi demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, meditation training, and discussions on age-discrimination in the workplace, etc., etc.?

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that offering information about a wide range of services that people need as they age is important. But those offerings also need to be balanced with the recognition that many people over fifty are just starting to live their lives to the fullest.

.If an event for those 50+ was advertised near where you live, what kinds of things would you want the organizers to offer? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


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