Reframing Aging Through Images: Recommendations from Research

Just like words, images play an important role in the implicit messages we send about older people. We can note can people over 50 have long been misrepresented in the media - or left out entirely.
A new research from the United Sates' FrameWorks Institute and AARP provides recommendations for using images that give a more realistic picture of ageing and older people and help reduce age prejudices and ageism.

“This important research confirms what marketers know anecdotally: Language and imagery both reflect and reinforce societal beliefs. Imagery matters because it influences how we see others and how we see ourselves." 

Martha Boudreau, AARP Chief Communications and Marketing Officer

Reframing_Aging_Through_Images-Oct22-coverActivating positive concepts of ageing may help to destigmatize growing older for everyone, the study found. For example, images of older adults in work settings can improve attitudes on ageing more than images of older adults in community settings or at home. But, previous AARP research revealed that while 1 in 3 people in the U.S. labor force are 50 and older, only 13% of images showed this age group in a work setting.

To improve attitudes about older people and ageing, AARP and FrameWorks Institute recommend that we select images that: 

  • counter stereotypes while maintaining authenticity.
  • depict older adults engaged with others or their surroundings.
  • depict older adults as competent, confident, and capable.


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