In recent years hot baby boomers and sexy septuagenarians seem to be everywhere. Retirees are experiencing a remarkable renaissance in pop culture right before our eyes. From Dolly Parton baring her midriff to Cher effortlessly challenging the laws of aging, older celebrities are not just defying age; they look better than ever. Add to that the Golden Bachelor contestants changing our views on retirement years and we’re seeing a profound shift in what it means to be growing older. This shift is not only fueled by changing perceptions on aging, but also by the acceptance of plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments, which are helping elders look and feel younger for longer.
While the reasons behind this trend may be complex, experts suggest that healthier lifestyles and increased access to less-invasive treatments are contributing factors. And, perhaps, a touch of inspiration from icons like Martha, Dolly and Cher have also played a role in this rebranding of the golden years.
Evolving Attitudes on “Aging Gracefully”
In an era where societal expectations of aging are undergoing a profound transformation, young baby boomers and those in their 70s and 80s are rewriting the narrative on beauty. This paradigm shift is not only fueled by changing perceptions but also by the availability and acceptance of plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments.
Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD notes, “In general, there is a wider range of ages and more interest, even in older individuals, in maintaining or improving their appearances. This is a significant change from previous thought processes that simply endorsed ‘aging gracefully.’ Now, there is the expectation that people can age in place or reverse damage that has accumulated.”
Chicago plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD, says people in this age group are more active than ever before. “People in their 70s and even their 80s are living their best lives. There’s an emphasis on being physically fit, dating and engaging in life’s activities. It’s not surprising that more men and women in this age group are seeking cosmetic procedures,” he says.
‘Stackable’ Nonsurgical Options
Dr. Schlessinger also notes that we’re in the era of subtle interventions, such as neurotoxins, fillers and laser procedures. “There are more options for rejuvenation that help delay the necessity for more invasive treatments like facelifts.”
“Thanks to the advancements in highly effective nonsurgical treatments and stackable procedures, a revolutionary approach has emerged,” says Dr. Few. “This involves seamlessly combining various modalities, creating a synergistic effect that resonates exceptionally well with individuals in their 70s and 80s. These discerning patients may be reluctant to opt for invasive surgeries, but still have a desire to refine and enhance their appearance. They still want to tweak their appearance; they still want to look better to match how they diet and exercise. A lot of patients have come in and said they’re in the best shape of their lives.”
Upgraded Surgical Experiences
Facelift expert, Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon David Lieberman, MD underscores how refined techniques and better results have made it more appealing for baby boomers and older generations to undergo facial surgery. Gone are the days of the unnatural, wind-tunnel look. “The fundamentals of facelift surgery have moved towards soft tissue repositioning rather than focusing solely on falling skin,” he says. “This shift, combined with effective nonsurgical treatments, offers a stackable approach for outstanding outcomes.”
New York plastic surgeon Jordan Terner, MD, says a large amount of his older patient population have focused on procedures that go beyond facial aesthetics. “Historically, older patients were more focused on facelifts, but now there’s a trend of people in their late 60s and 70s opting for body procedures like tummy tucks and liposuction,” he observes. The economic means of this age group, coupled with a desire to feel younger and look better holistically, has fueled this shift he says.
Dr Terner continues: “I have some patients coming in who are doing their breasts with Mommy Makeovers in their 40s and they’re saying, ‘by the time I’m older I’ll just take them out and I won’t care what my body looks like.’ However, I’m finding that that’s not the case at all. We have women and men in their 60s and 70s who are doing liposuction and tummy tucks and body procedures where I think 10 years ago we weren’t seeing that as much.”
Safety Considerations for Mature Patients
With a keen focus on safety, Dr. Schlessinger emphasizes the importance of a thoughtful and guided approach, considering the unique health challenges faced by mature individuals. “It is important to review medications to look for potential issues and always be careful with medications that may be used post-operatively,” he says.
Dr. Few adds that it’s important to understand each patient’s unique health situation. “Statistically, this group is more likely to have underlying health concerns, whether it’s heart disease or diabetes. I lean heavily on the relationship with these patients, working closely with their medical doctors to ensure a safe approach.”
While the golden generation may be rewriting the script on aging, Dr. Lieberman says it comes down to finding a provider who can deliver natural-looking results. “When somebody looks good, natural, effortless, then it feels like a good idea for them to have had something done. When it looks great, then it’s ‘age appropriate.’ I think as soon as somebody has an outcome that looks a little unusual, then there tends to be more criticism of why they did something at their age. Unfortunately, it seems redundant or cliche, but who you choose to do your work matters.”