Industry Buzz: Help Your Members Get Over the Fear of Aging
It’s inevitable – year after year, human beings age. Until a magical pill is developed that keeps us from doing so, the young will eventually become the old.
And according to Wray Herbert, a guest blogger for The Huffington Post, humans are terrified of doing so. “Negative caricatures of aging are far too prevalent in our culture — and they are harmful,” said Herbert. “People, especially as they get older, assimilate such deprecating beliefs about aging, and start acting like the stereotypes, bumbling and shuffling and surrendering autonomy.”
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Herbert explained that a recent study at Yale University revealed that a human’s fear of aging could subside, if exposed to implicit, positive messages about aging. “As reported in a forthcoming article in the journal Psychological Science, the implicit intervention significantly strengthened positive stereotypes of aging, and led to positive self-perceptions of aging,” he reported.
As a result, consider how your club can contribute to fostering a positive self-perception of aging in your members. Think about the images you’re using in your marketing — are they all of people in their 20s or 30s? If so, take some shots of some of your members in their 60s or 70s who are enjoying fitness, and begin using those in your marketing as well.
In addition, don’t just share the success stories of members who’ve experienced extreme weight loss or athletic performance at a young age. Your older members have success stories to share as well, even if they might not be as dramatic. The wider variety of success stories you share, the more people you’ll connect with.
Also, be careful what terms you use to address your older members. A recent NPR piece revealed that those above 60 prefer the term “older adult” or “elder,” when being referred to. Although “senior” is acceptable, “senior citizen” had worse connotations. The last thing you want to do is alienate a group you’re trying to connect with.
According to Herbert, life beyond the age of 60 doesn’t have to be depressing. And you can help your members come to the same conclusion.
Rachel Zabonick is the Editor of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach out to her about exciting events or programs your club has implemented, or to share the amazing accomplishments of a member.