Defining Age

Some of believe that age is just a number, but according the Slogan Center for Aging & Work at Boston College, age is actually just a concept.  The Slogan Center has spent several years researching to better understand the impact of an aging population in the workplace.

After interviewing employees of all ages, they have issued a report called “The Prism of Aging” which discusses 11 concepts that people use to define how old they feel.

  1. Chronological Age: This is one of the easiest ways to define age, but as social norms continue change (e.g., marrying later, having children later, etc.), chronological age is becoming less important.
  2. Physical-Cognitive Age: Physiological changes that occur throughout one’s life can affect how old they feel. For example, some 65 year olds are still running marathons, while others have switched to a mostly sedentary lifestyle. This also holds true for professions. A person who makes their living as a carpenter may reach retirement sooner than a scientist.
  3. Socio-Emotional Age: Maturity levels vary and so do temperaments. Some people seem like they’re 40 going on 60, while others feel and act younger than their actual age.
  4. Social Age: This concept refers to how others perceive a person’s age and unfortunately can lead to age discrimination, especially in the workplace.
  5. Career Stage: A person’s education level, career or skill set can cause him or her to feel older or younger, especially when compared against peers.
  6. Tenure: This refers to how long a person has been at a particular employing organization.
  7. 7. Normative Age: Societal views and expectations vary from culture to culture. Normative age refers to how a particular culture defines age-appropriate roles and transitions.
  8. Generational Age: Birth years can define a generation of adults. Generational age refers to a collection of events experienced by a group of people linked by their chronological age.
  9. Relative Age: How you perceive your own age, when compared others around you (e.g., friends, co-workers, etc.), can change how you feel about yourself and how you behave.
  10. Life Events Age: A variety of experiences, such as having a child or getting married can influence how old you feel and directly influence how you live your life.
  11. Subjective Age: How old a person actually feels is subjective. It depends on a variety of factors such as chronological age, how he or she feels and how others treat him or her. All of these factors combined result in a person’s subjective age.

Aging and Cosmetic Surgery

Another factor that may impact the concept of aging is cosmetic enhancement. For many seniors, physical aging doesn’t look the way it used to.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 84,685 cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in patients 65 years of age or older in 2010.  They included:

Source: U.S. News

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