Face Yoga

Getting older: how much do women worry?

Written by Valeria ZhyvotovaUpdated on 07 Mar 2024
Face Yoga

Getting older: how much do women worry?

Written by Valeria Zhyvotova.Updated at 07 Mar 2024
Let’s face it: we’re all getting older. But that doesn’t have to be a downer. Whether it’s beauty treatments to keep us looking fresh or adopting more youthful hobbies, most of us have plenty of options these days. That said, it doesn’t stop many of us worrying about getting older. Even the sight of a single gray hair can throw many of us into a panic. But do we really need to be so negative? To find out what the average woman thinks about aging, and whether they worry too much, we surveyed 2,000 women aged over 30. Remember the saying that you’re only as old as you feel? It turns out the truth is slightly more complicated…

Getting older: what worries women most?

Right from the off, our survey left us in no doubt about one thing: the majority of women are fearful about getting older. But we also wanted to know exactly why they were worried.
While it might not be the conclusion that some wanted, the most common reason for our respondents to worry about aging was losing their looks. Of all respondents, 36% said that this was their biggest fear about getting older. Perhaps that’s understandable. Whether it’s being pressured to cover up those gray hairs or to lose those extra pounds, the modern woman has become all too accustomed to dealing with societal expectations about how they should look as they get older. But appearances weren’t the only thing on our respondents’ minds. Overall 12% of women worried that getting older would mean being neglected by society, and a further 11% said that they feared ending up lonely and isolated. There’s no doubt, then, that most women are worrying about getting older. But it turns out that isn’t the end of the story…
Our study reveals that women’s fears about the future are having a very real impact on their mental wellbeing today. Asked whether worrying about aging had affected their mental health, 41% of women – almost 1 in 2 – confirmed that it had. That includes 15% who said that worrying about aging gave them anxiety and 13% who said that it had contributed to depression. Another 8% of respondents said that they had lost sleep. So even though we might be many decades off reaching old age, many of us are already worrying about it – and to the detriment of our well-being.

How worrying about aging affects women’s behavior

Are women’s fears about aging also influencing their decisions and behaviors today? Our study certainly suggests so.
Overall, 1 in 4 women say that they have declined a social invitation as they felt they were too old to participate. What’s more, around 1 in 5 of those women (so 4% of the total) say they have skipped several social events for that reason.
We all know the depressing stereotype about older women being less attractive. But is it just baseless discrimination that we should have left behind years ago? After all, haven’t you heard about 77-year-old Cher bagging a 36-year-old lover? And she’s not the only one. That said, 3 in 4 respondents told us that getting older made it more difficult to find romance. For 40% of respondents, aging was perceived as a major problem in that regard.
Furthermore, 1 in 10 women even revealed that they had been turned down by a date after revealing their age – a sobering example of how pressures around aging are affecting women in ways that might often go overlooked.
And then there’s the workplace. Despite efforts to outlaw age discrimination, 1 in 6 respondents reported experiencing such treatment, including being passed over for promotions or not being hired in the first place. Then there are the minor irritations that come with getting older. Asked how they felt when people stopped asking for their ID (for example, when buying alcohol), 1 in 7 respondents confessed that it had been a disappointment for them. It might be a trivial issue compared to workplace discrimination. But it’s a reminder of how often our day-to-day lives can trigger our worries and fears around getting older.

Attitudes towards aging: what do women think?

Negative stereotypes about older women have been a sadly persistent feature of modern society – even as we have made progress on other issues. But are women guilty of perpetuating these stereotypes themselves?
In our survey, 1 in 5 respondents said they could recall being dismissive of an older person on at least one occasion. Of course, that isn’t to say women are responsible for discrimination, but it does show just how pervasive these attitudes can be.
And what about broader attitudes to aging? Interestingly, only 1 in 5 women said that they felt that society treated women less favorably as they got older, suggesting some optimism about the bigger picture.
Respondents were less rosy, however, when it came to their views on how society treats the elderly. Indeed nearly half of respondents agreed with the statement that seniors were often invisible in society. As you might expect, women were also sensitive as to how others perceive their age. Overall 3 in 4 respondents said they would be upset if someone mistakenly assumed they were older than they were.
That said, the majority of those said that, while they’d be offended at the time, they felt they could let it slide. Only 15% of women said they would be very upset if someone overestimated their age. If in doubt about a woman’s age, then, it turns out that it might be safer to ask – despite what common wisdom would tell you.
Methodology: To create this study, researchers from Luvly surveyed 2,000 women aged over 30. Participants within this age group were invited to share their experiences at random with no focus on particular ethnicities, or backgrounds.