Making Older Age More Fashion-Friendly
What does it mean to make the ageing process fashion-friendly? Getting old is unavoidable. Ideally, we all want our parents and grandparents to grow older for longer. Some of us are already concerned about the ageing process. Perhaps you have been reading blog articles on how to manage grey hair or turn a new decade gracefully. In this instance, the idea is to make the act of growing old as fashionable as possible.
But, when it comes to fashion-friendliness, the idea is to continue to include trends – whether they relate to outfits, language, or even technology – into our day-to-day life as we get older. Trends define an era and bring the society of now and then together. However, more often than not, elderly individuals are left in the dark. They are unaware of the fashion movement and, therefore, unable to follow it. Of course, remaining fashion-friendly doesn’t mean that our seniors should transform their routines and habits in an effort to embrace all the latest TikTok trends. However, allowing older individuals to know what makes the 2020 society ticks empowers them to stay connected with a tangible here and now era. Maintaining this connection could be crucial to preserving cognitive and social skills in older age. It is estimated that isolation, physical and social, contributes largely to a decrease in cognitive skills and mental health in seniors. Therefore, making fashion-friendliness one of the priorities of a healthy ageing process could make a significant difference for elderly parents and grandparents.
There’s no such thing as grandma’s glasses
Our eyesight naturally deteriorates in old age. It is an unavoidable process that is linked to a variety of factors, such as lifestyle, heredity and overall health. With age, for instance, the lens inside the eye becomes less flexible and can’t adjust to close distances effectively. This condition affects most adults between the age of mid-40 to mid-50 and is called presbyopia. Many older adults opt for reading glasses to support their eyesight. It’s not uncommon for seniors or their carers to opt for inexpensive frames, sometimes even using an optical NHS voucher to keep costs down.
There is something about cheaper frames that feels old-fashioned and disconnected. The typical grandma’s glasses are perceived to be a corrective tool rather than an accessory. However, with the range of frames available online, including from a great collection of designers at discounted prices, it’s essential to adjust your perception of glasses. They are not a necessary tool of old age. They are a socially approved, corrective accessory that can enhance an individual’s look. In other words, the difference between seniors’ glasses and youths’ glasses lies in the type of correction they provide, not in the choice of frames.
Yes, smartphones are seniors-friendly
According to a 2018 survey, over 70% of adults in the UK aged from 55 to 64 own and use a smartphone. It is estimated that approximately 20% of adults over 65 use smartphones too. Needless to say, we can expect the numbers to grow exponentially, as the population is getting older and manufacturers are becoming more senior-aware. Ultimately, smartphones have plenty of apps that are designed with the needs of older adults in mind to help with finance, health and tech management.
It is worth remembering that most manufacturers have been developing enhanced functions to make individual models accessible to users of all ages. Apple has been building into each iPhone models essential features to support individuals with disabilities and those with failing abilities. Therefore, grandparents and grandchildren could use the same iPhone model, for instance, using helpful senior-friendly tweaks. The iOS accessibility options enable display zoom and enhanced text size, making it easier for older eyes to read the screen, for instance. The bottom line: there’s no need to purchase old-fashioned and app-unfriendly mobile phones for seniors when they can use the same devices as everyone, and benefit from the same social connectivity.
Being stylish is a right
During your adult life, you embrace fashionable outfits as an extension of your personality. Following the latest trends in terms of cuts, seasonal colours, and patterns is inherent to your lifestyle throughout the major part of your adult life. As you hit older age, however, fashion is perceived as a thing of the past. As superficial as clothing trends may seem, they connect an individual to the now and here of the current society. It is a connection you lose when you abandon your interest in wearing the clothes that make you feel good about yourself. Growing old without giving up on your sense of style is both a sign of a healthy and ageless mind and a vital link to your surroundings. Being stylish offers a significant mental health boost that can protect seniors from social isolation and cognitive degeneration to some extent.
Let me zoom you
Unfortunately, at a time where COVID-19 remains a threat to the ageing population, most seniors find themselves isolated. Some care homes and carers have adapted their services, teaching seniors how to get in touch with their relatives safely in a tech-savvy way. Video calls, such as Zoom – but also the oldies including Facetime and Whatsapp video – can bridge the distance and keep families connected.
But they also offer an indispensable mental connection for the elderly. As many older people are discovering the advantages of digital communication, they also develop a new language. “I’ll zoom you over the weekend” is the kind of thing you can now hear seniors tell their families. Suddenly the language that used to belong to one generation becomes a cross-generational phenomenon. Does speaking like the youth affect seniors positively? Studies suggest that they feel more at ease to connect as equals with their children and grandchildren.
Zoom is only one example of the cross-generation gap that needs to be bridged. More often than not, seniors can feel isolated by the technology they don’t understand or use. Yet, as care homes have discovered during the first lockdown, a lot of older adults are keen to learn how to use and speak tech in a modern age. And this brings to an essential social element of digital communication: emoji. Highly popular among the younger generations, the emoji is a universal language that is designed to be understood by all. As a result, most seniors and even those in the early stages of dementia are able to understand the visual imagery and use the latest “trendy emoji” to connect to their social circle. Using smileys can break the communication barriers between generations, allowing seniors to feel connected and integrated.
Humour knows no age
Who is the latest big hit in comedy? What was the latest film that made you laugh out loud?
Humour is a social phenomenon that can bring people together. It reflects on the current struggles and frustrations of an era, which is why some jokes get old as society evolves. Connecting through humour requires a cognitive model to recognise why the joke is funny but also a social awareness of what is happening here and now. Sharing the things that make us laugh with our favourite old person is more than an act of love. It’s a way of securing your bond, via popular culture and cognitive skills. Laughing together at a modern joke helps connect seniors to the trends in society while preserving their cognitive abilities.
Image from Unsplash COO Licence