How the perception of age influences our happiness in life

Nobi supports the 6th Silver Living Journalist Award "Insights into Ageing – Between Status Quo and Visions".

Our image of older people and our attitude towards age are strongly influenced by media reports. Polarizing images of age still dominate, based on either positive or negative extremes. The “normal” ageing process is missing. Thus, the real-life experiences of the majority of the population are overlooked. Journalists awarded the Silver Living Award demonstrate that things can be different. This award is presented for the 6th time in 2023 and is themed “Insights into Ageing – Between Status Quo and Visions”. It honours journalistic contributions in print, radio, and television that portray a more nuanced image of ageing. Nobi thinks this idea is terrific and is happy to support the project. 

Todays and future elderly want to actively participate in life and live as long as possible, independently and with dignity, at home or in a supervised living arrangement. What are the good examples of new living arrangements and intergenerational residential areas? What networks are being created with the help of social media? How are technology and digitisation already helping older people to participate in life longer, feel safe at home, and live independently for an extended period? 

“We thank the brave and interested journalists who address issues related to ageing in a new way, contributing to the formation of a new image of the third life phase"

Vera Led • Head of DACH

When does one belong to the “elderly”?

The age limit for the term "senior" is not universally defined. Terms like "Best Ager" or "Generation Gold" are marketing terms and usually start at the age of 50. In demographic statistics, however, the older group begins at 65, representing the usual retirement age. According to this distinction, there were around 1.75 million seniors in Austria at the beginning of 2022. Both their absolute number and their population share are increasing due to rising life expectancy: 19.5 percent of residents now belong to this age group, compared to 17.8 percent in 2012. In Germany, over 22% of the population is now over 65 years old.

Media influences comfort with age

Is a 65-year-old person really one of the “elderly”? Observing today’s realities of life, one must abandon this general classification. The current statistical categories are far too unspecific. "The time between 60 and 90 years is just as long as the time between 30 and 60 and brings all the possibilities of youth, just without the stress and fears", says the over 70-year-old author and influencer Greta Silver in an interview. So, there’s plenty of time left to lead an active, independent life in the third phase. And it’s time we “free the world from the grey veil of age” and “shed the negative view of ageing that creates burden and sadness, even among young people".

© Greta Silver

© Greta Silver

The elderly have a right to beautiful, stylish products

Respect for the elderly is a socially recognized value. But do we really respect the elderly? Of course, we stand up in the train when a senior needs a seat. But at the same time, we assume that they no longer have the desire to surround themselves with and enjoy beautiful things. How else can it be explained that technical products designed to assist the elderly often look unattractive, dull, and grey?  

Nobi represents a completely different image of future ageing technology. "We firmly believe that developing stylish lights for fall detection is as important as the development of the technology itself", says Roeland Pelgrims, founder and CEO of Nobi. Older people, and also most caregivers, are certainly interested in using new technologies for support. This is proven, among other things, by a current survey by Nobi. “Inclusion begins with dignity. And developing ugly solutions for older people is condescending and rude. Moreover, it prevents people from using life-saving innovations like our intelligent lights because they simply don’t like them. If we want to change people's lives, we must develop technologies that people want, not just need. This is the key to accepting new technologies and is crucial for building an inclusive society."

Time for a new representation of age in the media

The media also bear responsibility for dignified ageing. Therefore, the portrayal of older people in the media should finally change. Few elderly want to dress only boring and “age-appropriate” after their 70th birthday or suddenly use a senior phone if they have been able to operate a stylish smartphone so far. To solve the challenges of an ageing society, we need new answers and new technologies. Realistic images of ageing and good examples of how technology can support us in old age can help. We are convinced that the Silver Living Journalist Award contributes to this.