Whither Grandparenthood?

Aging in the Third Millenium: Part 3

My father’s parents adored being grandparents, and wanted us kids to call them by their first names because it “made them feel young”. Growing up, I didn’t see anything unusual about this.

Today, grandparents — especially younger, chic grandmothers — are youthifying with a vengeance. “Glam Grams” Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon and Kris Jenner prefer the monikers GoGo, Honey, and Lovey, respectively.

It isn’t only the famous and fabulous who are remaking the image of what a grandparent looks like, or is called. One 80-year-old grandmother now refers to herself as “Glam-ma” after her stunning style makeover. The Croatian grandma’s metamorphosis took place courtesy of her granddaughter, a professional make-up artist, and the before and after photos are stunning.

On Their Own

younger-grandparentBut as reverse mortgage professionals who work with this cohort every day are no doubt aware, the desire to transform the image of elders is not just physical. As seniors look ahead to possible decades of life left to enjoy, they may want to focus on their own pursuits a while longer — especially if they’re staying trim and fit.

AARP reports that the average age of first-time grandparents is now 47. Not exactly an age when most people are ready to spend all day on the golf course (unless they retired early to do just that!) or by the pool. And if these young glam-mas and go-get-’em grandpas still work, they may want to reserve their weekends for relaxing or travel.

In fact, according to Paul Cronin, partner in The Platinum Years, the concept of retirement itself is a big, fat lie. “It’s time to replace ‘retiring’ with ‘purposeful living’. It’s a time to reflect on your values. It’s a time to dig into the person you are today and ask if that is the person you wish to be in the future? So instead of thinking ‘when am I going to retire?’ ask yourself, ‘How am I going to get the most out of the rest of my life?'”

Is 100 the Magic Number?

Perhaps grandparents will have more bandwidth for the youngsters in their lives a few decades hence — when they’re 100. According to the National Institute on Aging, “The global number of centenarians is projected to increase 10-fold between 2010 and 2050. In the mid-1990s, some researchers estimated that, over the course of human history, the odds of living from birth to age 100 might have risen from 1 in 20,000,000 to 1 in 50 for females in low-mortality nations such as Japan and Sweden.” So the odds are good that some of your reverse mortgage clients and prospects may eventually become members of the Triple-Digit Club.

A New Pair of Genes

Then again, after a health and style makeover, glam-grams might decide to turn back the clock for real, by shopping for a new pair of genes: the first human gene rejuvenation has lengthened shortening telomeres, resulting in “younger” cells. Up until now, these DNA segments that shorten naturally with age couldn’t be genetically modified.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company that piloted this gene therapy has received strong interest from around the globe.

All of which might prove very good for your reverse mortgage business, as time goes by…