Research reveals that ‘60’ is the new ‘30’
• Almost a third of grandparents in the region like listening to heavy metal bands
• Nearly a quarter like going on long hikes
• More than half feel they are not the stereotypical grandparent
• 12 per cent are ‘granpreneurs’ running their own businesses
• More than 7 in 10 are users of social media channels
Whilst COVID is currently restricting lives, particularly those of older people, new research has found that in normal times you’re more likely to find your grandparents ‘rocking out’ their retirement at gigs, listening to heavy metal, biking, or hiking across the local countryside rather than watching life pass by from the stereotypical rocking chair.
A national study of 2,000 nans and grandads highlights today’s grandparent is a far cry from the older generation of yesteryear, and young-at-heart OAPs in Wales are no different, living life very differently from their parents.
The survey of the region’s ‘golden oldies’ found 55 per cent of grandparents in the area fondly remember the swinging 60s with 67 per cent revealing their musical tastes are shaped by the rock they listened to in the 60s and 70s.
Almost a third (32 per cent) are fans of heavy metal with grandparents listening to rock acts such Bon Jovi (38 per cent), Led Zeppelin (25 per cent) and Black Sabbath (19 per cent) proving their musical tastes haven’t mellowed over the years. However, contrary to belief, the older generation also have a penchant for modern music too, with more than a third confessing to listening to Robbie Williams (42 per cent) and almost one in ten listening to Justin Bieber (9 per cent).
More than half (55 per cent) believe they aren’t a stereotypical grandparent, with 50 per cent claiming they haven’t felt as carefree as they do now.
Almost a quarter like going on long hikes (23 per cent) and 19 per cent like going to gigs.
Far from being dinosaurs when it comes to technology, grandparents in Wales are social media savvy. Nearly three quarters use Facebook (74 per cent), almost half watch videos on YouTube (47 per cent), 24 per cent are on Instagram and more than a fifth are on Twitter (21 per cent). Five per cent even appear to be joining their grandchildren on TikTok.
And there’s a new breed of ‘granpreneurs’ in the region too, with 12 per cent running an established business or having set one up since they turned 50.
Verity Kick, marketing director at Oak Tree Mobility which commissioned the research and is a leading expert in marketing to older people, said: “Many of us can still be guilty of taking the stereotypical view of older people in a rocking chair. The reality is very different. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t do certain things, as the research clearly shows.
“The phrase ’40 is the new 30’ has now shifted upwards, as people live longer – so in many ways, 60 is the new 30. Of course, this doesn’t apply to every grandparent, but our study has found many are enjoying their lives just as much as they did in their younger years.
“Mobility is hugely important to being able to enjoy life to the fullest. If you can move around your home and the world in comfort, it can feel like it takes years off your age.”
The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found 63 per cent of the region’s grandparents feel like they’re actively doing a good job of changing people’s perceptions of what ‘old’ people are like.
44 per cent of grandparents don’t believe their grandkids see them as ‘old’ while three quarters believe they’re nothing like their own grandparents were at the same age with some of their craziest hobbies including driving on a race circuit.
And when it comes to bucket lists, the twilight years aren’t dampening grandparents’ desire to broaden their horizons as 22 per cent want to write a novel, 14 per cent want to learn to dance and 11 per cent would like to study for a new qualification.
If they could be any age again, 34 per cent would be transported back to anywhere between 21-30 years old, but 11 per cent said they would stay their current age and are enjoying their rocking retirement.
Verity concluded: “Lots of the younger generation are afraid of what it’s like getting older. This is partly due to stereotypes around old people.
“Getting old doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you love, listening to music you like or even rocking out at gigs.
“Comfort, taking care of joints and looking after your overall health and wellbeing in younger years is key and will pay dividends when you get older – mobility will become one thing you can’t take for granted.
“We have just launched a new national advertising campaign which reflects this social change and the new generation of grandparents who want to make much more of their lives as they grow older. Such a zest for life should help the older generation get back to normal after COVID.”