Contrary to widespread belief, today’s senior citizens are far from retirement. With strong focus on ageing positively, seniors want to explore new career avenues, pursue their passions, and want to engage in social good more actively. With the aim to examine traditional notions and understand such evolving needs of seniors, Columbia Pacific Communities, India’s largest senior living community operator, launched India’s first ever report on the golden agers, The Positive Ageing Report. Supported by extensive desk research, the report, which was unveiled around World Senior Citizen’s Day (celebrated on August 21), gives key insights on the changing aspirations, needs of senior citizens and their view of ageing in the 21st century as compared to the youth.
Commissioned by the Columbia Pacific Communities, The Positive Ageing Report is based on face-to-face and telephonic interviews conducted by Innovative Research Services (India) Pvt. Ltd, with over 2,000 respondents older than 18 from Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. The respondents between 18 and 35 years are referred to as Gen Z and millennials, and those between 36 and 45 years as Gen X in the report.
Some of the key findings from the report are as follows:
- More than a quarter of respondents over 60 (25%) identify themselves with their own passions and interests (compared to 22% – millennials and Gen Z, 18% – Gen X, and 23% of those between 46 and 60).
- For people over 60, men (31%) identify themselves with their careers (compared to 19% women), women (30%) believe their identity comes from their passions and interests (compared to 23% men).
- The proportion of women over 60 (36%) who spend over four hours daily on social media is greater than millennial and Gen Z men (22%) and more than double of millennial and Gen Z women (15%).
- More than two out of five respondents over 60 (45%) agree with the statement – ‘Life begins at 60; no work, only leisure, these are the best years, after all!’
- Nearly a third (31%) of the respondents believe that it is only after 60 that they would have all the time and the wisdom to achieve their ambitions.
“The philosophy of positive ageing is central to all our efforts at Columbia Pacific Communities. We strive towards creating an ecosystem that fosters a healthy ageing experience for the elderly. Considering several factors of the rapidly transforming world and the significant shift in our population demographic, we wanted to ascertain the future needs of seniors better. Therefore, we commissioned a survey on positive ageing, examining people across age-groups within three broad frameworks – identity, technology and health. The findings of the survey have been eye-opening and have challenged pre-existing notions. The report reveals Indian seniors to be as independent, focused, enterprising and aspirational as any other age-group. It is our pleasure to release The Positive Ageing Report and we are confident that it will provide key perspectives to policy makers and other stakeholders and help them strengthen their efforts towards the health and wellbeing of the elderly.” Mohit Nirula, CEO, Columbia Pacific Communities said.
People older than 60 years account for 8% of the Indian population. However, by 2050, the number of elderly will almost double, with over 319 million people aged over 60. This necessitates reimagining of our existing infrastructure and services to support positive ageing and better senior care for the ageing population. In the given scenario, the findings of The Positive Ageing Report will help enhance our understanding and drive conversations around what senior citizens feel about ageing and the kind of support they need from society.
On the occasion, putting the spotlight on the issue of loneliness amongst the elderly, Columbia Pacific Communities, launched the initiative #ReplyDontReject with the critically acclaimed senior actor, Boman Irani. The initiative calls out to the younger generations, by offering a unique perspective, and appeals them to avoid treating frequent video, photo, or good morning messages from senior citizens as mere forwards and view the mere act of frequent messaging as the desire to connect and share as well as the struggle to fight their solitude.
Columbia Pacific Communities also launched a unique product for seniors, Cards Against Uncertainty on its website in order to promote mental wellbeing amongst the elderly. The pack of 52 cards contains a unique tip and mood enhancing suggestions on each card aimed at reducing stress, fear and feelings of despair.