Dec 14, 2021
The biggest surprise to a man's life is getting old. And it's true: As one ages, the person inside remains the same and what changes is the exterior. In this episode, I have a conversation with Larry Samuel, the author of Age Friendly: Ending Ageism in America, Aging in America: A Cultural History, and Boomers 3.0: Marketing to Baby Boomers in Their Third Act of Life. We discuss insights on aging in America and its cultural history and how today's generation should prevent discrimination just as when it's their turn to get older.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ The idea of aging and ageism in America is a 200-year-old story. Larry Samuel shares, "The first native-born white Americans looked at the founding fathers' generation, the colonialists in an age, as the way they felt they were out of touch. They were fuddy-duddy, and they wanted to reinvent America in their own way. So this goes back spanning 12 or 15 generations. So this generational competition is nothing new."
✔️ 92% of diversity and equity inclusion (DEI) people do not consider age as part of their mission. Human Resources and the DEI folks should lead the way here -- it's up to them to prevent ageism as the gatekeepers to corporate America.
✔️ When it comes to age, there's still a lot of this "Us versus Them" approach; and ageism is actually the only -ism we tend to even self impose. Melissa Batchelor reminds us that "Self-imposed ageism decreases life expectancy by about seven years - so how you think about aging and if you think getting old is only going to be associated with decline affects your health and well-being."
✔️ Most Marketers are ignoring older customers or do not know how to communicate with them effectively. In his book Boomers 3.0., Larry points out how marketers are either underrepresenting or misrepresenting instead of being inclusive towards people of age, whether they be workers, citizens or consumers.
✔️ Ageism in dating apps is crazy town - a LOT of people lie about their age. People say they're younger than they are - up to ten years younger than they actually are in order to beat the dating app algorithms.
✔️ Diversity of generational perspectives is a good thing, whether in business or in life. An intergenerational workforce benefits younger persons as older, more influential people bring about a reciprocal relationship to the pure digital natives of today.
✔️ Aging is suffering from an image problem. Larry points out how the whole anti-aging industry is not helping matters at all because they're reinforcing the idea that aging is a negative experience that we should try to delay or avoid. "Let us embrace it because I believe it's a good thing. So I think it would be great to have some kind of ad campaign that aging is a good thing, like with Steve Tyler or Paul McCartney, who can endorse it that way. That's my recommendation of the day."
Lawrence R. Samuel is the founder of AmeriCulture, a Miami- and New York City-based consultancy dedicated to thought leadership relating to the past, present, and future of American culture. As a trailblazer in translating cultural insights and emerging trends into business opportunities for Fortune 1000 companies and their agencies, Larry is widely recognized as an expert in the economic, social, and political dynamics of consumer behavior.
Larry is the author of many books, including Age Friendly: Ending Ageism in America, Aging in America: A Cultural History, and Boomers 3.0: Marketing to Baby Boomers in Their Third Act of Life. He also writes the “Psychology Yesterday,” “Boomers 3.0,” and “Future Trends” blogs for psychologytoday.com and is widely quoted in the media. Larry holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, an MBA in Marketing from the University of Georgia, and was named a 2017 NextAvenue Influencer in Aging.
Find Larry on Twitter @LarrySamuel and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/larry-samuel-9029a713/
If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question.
About Melissa Batchelor, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN:
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing ('96) and Master of Science in Nursing ('00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I genuinely enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home, and office visits), then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer. I obtained my Ph.D. in Nursing and a post-master's Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing ('11). I then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing faculty in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor. I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health, and Humanities. Please find out more about her work at https://melissabphd.com/.