Is Change Different for Older Adults When Compared to Younger Adults?

Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC – Do young adults see this “change” differently than older adults?

Does change affect the older adults differently than the younger ones? This is an interesting question for me since I am an older adult. I became interested in how change affects us after realizing that many of the commercials I have been watching and listening to on television were really encouraging the viewer to change. Recently, on the evening news, I saw commercials encouraging me to change my eating habits, my medications and in general, my lifestyle. Of course, that is not exactly the way it was presented, but that is how I interpreted what I saw and heard.

These are all about quality.

As a member of the baby-boom population, I see many commercials featuring people in my age group encouraging the viewer to try particular products that would be appropriate for my generation. Products like medicine for heart disease and sexual dysfunction are advertised on the major network evening news shows on a regular basis.

I have noticed that when advertisements are directed toward the older adults there is a strong emphasis on quality. The commercials push quality and seem to assume that the older adults will spend more on products for the sake of quality. I guess that makes sense, because an older person will naturally look for deeper meaning as compared to the younger adult. The experience and knowledge that the older person has gained, due to having lived longer, will allow her/him to understand the relationship between various concepts more quickly.

These adults are happy with their change. :-)

I have been writing a lot about change recently. In fact, I think it is “safe to say” that in at least twenty-five of my posts you will find change as a central theme.

Without change we wouldn’t have learning or life, at least, not in the manner that we currently have. Think about it! Whenever you learn, you must change your mind. Life implies change; growth, movement, adaptation, organization, reproduction are all part of life and involve change. So change is a necessary part of who we are. But, since change is a constant part of life, it naturally will affect the older adults in a different way when compared to the younger. The older adults have experienced more change and therefore, don’t find it as much of a novelty as the younger adult does.

Younger adults, in my opinion, don’t value quality as much as their older counterparts. David Wolfe, the principal author of Ageless Marketing: Strategies for Reaching the Hearts and Minds of the New Customer Majority, proclaims that there is a new dominance of the marketplace by people in the second half of life. These middle age and older adults often have their experiential desires overtake materialistic desires in their influence on lifestyles and buying behavior. So, when change occurs in their life, they value the quality of the experience over the quantity. When an older adult considers changing, the quality of the change is usually more important than the features or novelty of the change.

My experiential desires have overtaken my materialistic desires.

So, is change different for older adults when compared to younger adults? In general, yes! Of course, there will always be exceptions, but when attempting to reach a particular group for advertising, government programs, education, etc., it is useful to consider the difference. In advertising, this is especially important since the new customer majority is now middle age and older.

Lynn Hall, an author for young adults, once wrote: “We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.” To expand on that thought, we could say that change affects the older adults by making them more clearly themselves.:-)

If you write a comment, perhaps we will “more clearly” see you.  :-)

1 Comments on “Is Change Different for Older Adults When Compared to Younger Adults?”

  1. I think as we get older we reason more about spending our discretionary funds. Instead of purchasing a $1 candy bar, we may decide to spend that $1 on some bread and go home and make peanut butters and jelly sandwiches or buy candy bars at 2 for $1.

    Getting older doesn’t mean aged or decrepid; it just means that we are age enhanced! Speaking for myself, I classify myself as a recycled teenager, living in an older body that needs upkeep and which I maintain to the best of my ability.

    Old is someone who does not see every day as a new adventure. Old is a couch potato of any age. Old is not eating healthy and exercising weekly.

    Young is living every day to its fullest and enjoying life. Young at heart is what I strive for.


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