Senior Wellness Evolution

Trends / Wellness
MoMo Productions
Jacqueline Bourke
Jun 10, 2020
People over 50 are an essential audience in representing a life lived well. While media perceptions often show Millennials as purpose and mindfully driven ‑ it's the Boomers that may be setting the example. Our latest Visual GPS research shows that Boomers are 40% more likely than Gen Z to say they are mindful and intentional in their choices. There is a clear correlation between the importance of living by one's principles and age. Over two thirds of Boomers surveyed say they are intentional and mindful in their choices versus 53% of Gen X, 46% of Millennials and only 34% of Gen Z.

However, the Boomer generation are often left out of the visual story when discussing wellness. If they are included, they are often represented as disconnected, dependent and passive. A recent AARP study on age representation across the media image landscape shows that while people 50‑plus are fully engaged in their communities, seven in ten images of adults over 50 show them removed from the rest of the world – alone, dependent and seated with others who are “taking care” of them – a partner, counselor, medical professional.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is leading a vital global campaign to combat ageism. Age prejudice has profound negative consequences on older adults' health and wellbeing.  It has never been more vital to change the visuals of 50+ to powerfully change perceptions on ageing. It is time to bring mindful Boomers to the forefront of brand communication and showcase their authentic, multi‑dimensional, dynamic and robust lives.
At Getty Images, we have seen search increases for visuals depicting Senior Wellness rise year on year. For examples, customer searches for 'Seniors Exercising' has increased by 94%, 'Active Seniors' by 113%, 'Seniors Walking' by 169% and 'Healthy Seniors' by 219%. When it comes to what is being downloaded by our customers, the overwhelming visual expression of Seniors and Wellness is around physical health and fitness.

The global icon for Wellness is yoga. Yoga for seniors tends to be alone or in couples so we are encouraging our contributors to shoot more accessible yoga that is community oriented and social, whether in person or online along with other wellness exercise scenarios. Our top selling image of women in 2018 was of a group of senior women enjoying a yoga class together. The key with all of these Wellness visuals is that it captures inner happiness, joy, and kindness.
However, wellness is not just about physical fitness. Emotional and mental well‑being is at the forefront with many 50+ people in active pursuit of understanding how to manage their emotions, create productive habits, get more from social interactions, and reduce stress. Holistic health includes how to stay in touch, be mindful and true to ourselves. Another aspect of emotional health is how one interacts with the world around them. That means showing visual stories of the 50+ fostering relationships that are emotionally beneficial, fostering the ability to accept without judgement, and making intentional decisions that help achieve goals. Nothing fuels emotional health like a celebration with people we love.

Our aging population around most of the world will carry this wellness force into the coming decades with increasing intensity. The World Health Organisation predicts the 60‑plus population will nearly double by 2050 from 12 per cent to nearly a quarter of the world's population. This year 55 year olds will outnumber 5 year olds across the globe with older consumers accounting for an estimated $15 trillion spending power.  

It is time to bring mindful Boomers to the forefront of brand communication and showcase their authentic, multi‑dimensional, dynamic and robust lives.
So remember bring mindful seniors to the forefront of your work. We all have a responsibility in visual communication to challenge ageism by breaking with disconnected, dependent and passive stories of age that hugely impact the wellbeing of older generations. Choose authentic and multi‑dimensional representations of the 50+ age group which is a hugely varied demographic.  Expand out visual stories around physical health for active, older consumers. Don't forget to show a more holistic wellness story that includes mental, emotional, spiritual as well as physical wellness. Highlight connection and community and togetherness – while at present this may look a little different, the pandemic will eventually end and this will remain relatable and resonate strongly with your 50+ audience.  
Visualizing Mental Health