hispanic older man and woman, seniors exercising as the woman stretches her arm over her side body and the man behind does a lunge while smiling

Senior Wellness: 4 Ways Seniors Challenge Health & Wellness Expectations in 2024

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Insights

7 minutes


Whether getting busted for an armed robbery in Italy or getting crowned Prom Queen in Ohio, seniors beat ageist assumptions on a daily basis. And it’s no different when it comes to wellness.

In 2024, seniors continue to defy stereotypes, demonstrating resilience, adaptability, and a proactive approach to their health and wellness. With all the assumptions and apathy surrounding senior wellness, we aim to answer:

What does wellness mean to seniors in 2024?

Seniors love to Surprise Us

Health and Wellness for older adults is often depicted in the media with someone taking a slurry of 30 medications, constant doctor’s visits, and unavoidable dementia. Every once in a while, we get a Magneto or Professor X situation, where an older man is shown to be sharp despite a decaying body.

The truth is: Seniors, like the rest of us, have started to embrace more holistic views of health — taking every part of their life into account when considering overall wellness.

In day-to-day life, older relatives are often expected to be a hassle or shrugged off as in-the-way. Their care becomes the subject of family arguments, with the opinion of seniors themselves often left unconsidered.

With so many negative depictions, seniors in real life tend to surprise us. Your grandmother may be 84 years old, but she tends her garden, cleans her house, reads, and takes long walks every single day. She loves her smartphone and spends time on facebook (okay, maybe that’s less of a surprise). Like so many seniors, she’s still full of life.

Last year, CVO Diana Brooks reminded us that The time for older TikTok influencers has arrived — with creators that make us laugh, cry, and often teach us something. In 2024, we’re stoked to see how Seniors will continue to surprise us.

1. Getting Fit: Exercise for Seniors

Let’s talk about physical health — specifically, all things movement. With more seniors online than ever, free resources and expert creators online can be a substantial aid for a Senior’s Fitness journey. Movement simply improves quality of life, and seniors see that.

The media lacks representation of older women, and pop culture mostly displays older women with wealth. (According to IndieWire, “Women in film in 2023 were getting younger. When it came to all female characters that had speaking roles in last year’s top grossing movies, fewer than half were from women over the age of 40.”)

So when we think of what kind of activity older folks should do, we’re left with our own family members — and can fall into assumption traps. If our grandparent is sedentary or super active, we may think either is the norm.

When older women are represented, a fit, or “young” body is often prioritized  — like Martha Stewart’s recent Sports Illustrated cover. While Martha Stewart  looks incredible, it’s no secret that they are wealthy, with access to the best doctors, dietitians, and personal trainers.

What does she showcase? Older women can be fit.

Fitness for older adults can be simple and focused on function. Think long walks, a pickleball match, daily gardening.

Older adults should achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. According to the CDC, adults 65 should do:

graphic with icon os someon doing a lunge and quote from the CDC about seniors saying "At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or they need 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running."

Most seniors are looking for more realistic and accessible ways to stay mobile, manage their weight, and feel good. Many want to alleviate symptoms of certain conditions that are more likely in older populations.

Online creators are helping. Senior Fitness with Meredith on youtube, for instance, provides safe and accessible exercises for seniors — from sciatica pain stretches to osteoporosis exercises and much more.

Her comments are filled with seniors grateful for the range of activities, such as Catherine who said “Great balance between standing and sitting exercises. I was able to do the whole thing during a recovery time. Thanks for directing this towards osteoporosis. Lord bless you.”

Social wellness (which we’re getting to!) goes hand in hand with physical wellness as well — with community wellness programs like Enhance Fitness at YMCA, designed to help older adults manage their arthritis.

2. Fighting Dementia with Healthy Lifestyles

Physical health is more than how you move, it’s what you eat.

We’ve always known that a healthy diet and lifestyle helps with longevity of life. What about seniors who are already predisposed to have dementia or Alzheimer’s (according to keystone medical markers)?

New research has revealed that, even with predispositions to these diseases, a healthy lifestyle can still protect you from cognitive decline.

The study of 586 people in retirement was over the course of 24 years, and according to Dr. Richard Isaacson “…lifestyle changes provided the brain resilience against some of the most common causes of dementia” (CNN).

This incredible information offers hope for slowing down or stopping Alzheimer’s.

Diseases that cause cognitive challenges like Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be some of the most debilitating and saddening illnesses to witness. It’s difficult for the senior who loses cognitive function (but maintains their spirit). It can be heartbreaking for caregivers and family members alike.

Despite the incredible hope this latest study provides, patients around the country still suffer with Dementia and Alzhemier’s every day. Seth Rogan’s wife, Miller Rogen, knows what this is like — since her mom was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2012. She and her husband Seth recently teamed up with Joe & Bella — adaptive clothes brand focused on making fashionable and functional brands for older adults.

Founder Jimmy Zollo recounts “There were days [my grandmother] wouldn’t know my name … but she could still look at a package of clothes and recognize that that was not in line with how she wanted to dress” (Book Club Chicago).

Initiatives like this remind us that staying healthy is more about our bodies. Even when our mind is impaired, small moments can lift our spirits.

We should take care of our minds to have overall healthier lives, however, and seniors know this.

3. Seniors Care About Their Mental Health

The need for mental health treatment in senior populations is nothing new. Even the American Psychological Association’s Resolution on the 2005 White House Conference on Aging revealed that “about 25 percent of older adults suffer from some form of mental disorder, which can impede physical health and independence.”

Seeking emotional wellness means looking at how our mental health, spiritual health, and physical health impact our ability for emotional regulation.

Now, with less stigma and more available science, we know that mental health is about much more than whether or not someone has a mental disorder. We should always tend to our mental health — practicing mindfulness (or whatever works for you!) and balance to alleviate or prevent damaging behaviors.

Stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues has also dissipated. We now know that we must address mental health concerns head-on at any age. 

The general public links seniors to outdated views on mental health — which is understandable; many of us have experienced a parent or grandparent telling us  “get over it” or “pray about it” when therapy or antidepressants were probably better solutions.

“Old dogs can’t learn new tricks,” however, is a myth. If younger generations can unlearn negative mental health stereotypes, so can seniors. And they are doing just that.

4. Seniors Take Initiatives for Social Health

In every stage of life, humans need social connections. We’re social animals, and anyone who has left college/high school to enter the workforce knows how difficult it can be to make friends as an adult.

After retirement, this becomes even more true. And if you’ve experienced great loss, loneliness takes hold even more deeply.

“Living alone…often leads to conditions of social isolation and loneliness, which, in turn, are linked to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.”

Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics

Recognizing the negative impact of loneliness, the community has sprung to action. In San Diego for instance, local app Wyzr Friends assists older adults, helping them connect with new friends.

“We weren’t even expecting the avalanche of people who signed up, because there is a real loneliness that is not just news speak. It’s actually happening right here in San Diego County,” Founder Jay said. (10 News)

In Colorado, Sunshine Home Share matches seniors with vetted roommates — so they can share both expenses and good company (Denver Post). Not only does it alleviate aid in finding someone to do social activities with, this can be a lifeline for financial wellness — which we aren’t  delving into now, but it impacts every other aspect of wellness.


Seniors are challenging the stereotypes of aging in 2024. By embracing holistic approaches to well-being, they are living fuller, more active lives.

From joining walking clubs and local events to leveraging social media and technology to make new friends or stay in touch with existing family and friends, seniors find innovative ways to maintain their physical, mental, and social health. Their resilience reminds us that wellness is a lifelong journey.

As we look to the future, it’s clear that seniors will continue to surprise and teach us, redefining what it means to age gracefully.

If you’re a health and wellness brand looking to better understand your senior audience, get in touch via email!



Elizabeth Williams

Content Writer

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