Carolyn Worthington is betting aging baby boomers are talking Internet-speak. While people 65-plus still make up less than 10 percent of active Internet users, their numbers are on the rise.
And what are they looking at after their bank accounts and e-mail and the weather?
Many of them are looking for health information.
Worthington, a successful producer of public television documentaries, education materials, books and other informational tools associated with aging, has decided to combine future and present and make the leap.
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She has launched "Healthy Aging" as a digital — soon to be print version — health magazine at healthyaging.net.
"There are myths of aging out there and we aim to dispel them," she says. "We're going to educate people to feel more positive about aging."
With 77 million hitting 65 in the next 15 years, you've got a built-in market. But digital?
We'll see how it works. Right now, it's still a small portion of the population. But the magazine is free online, which is the way it should be. There are still people who want to hold print in their hands, and we will be offering it to them soon. We will always offer the magazine both ways.
You've been dealing with aging issues for 15 years. Almost two demographics. Any differences?
Yes. People are becoming more actively engaged in aging. It is a better place to be than just "retired." They no longer feel like a washed-up recluse at 65. They are — or they should be — reinventing themselves. They have a purpose in life. They can follow their passion. People are living longer. They're more acculturated to use sports clubs at a later age, for example. They have different wants of exploring physical fitness.
Is physical fitness a primary health change?
I expect everyone knows the importance of physical fitness to healthy aging, but now most people talk about the social impact of developing networks, the importance of mental wellness. This is really more important than physical wellness. People really want to be inspired. They really want to reinvent themselves.
What do you consider the major message of the magazine?
One message we want to get to is that you may think you are too old to build muscles, but that's never true. It's really important for people to understand that basic walking is critical. If you fall down and can't walk, you lose independence. You feel you are really aging because of the lack of use of muscles.
One doctor had a 99-year-old patient who began lifting weights and found out he could walk again unassisted. It's sad everyone doesn't use the gym, really. The important message is if something is wrong, often exercise can fix it.
Ah, but the fear of old-age dementia is real.
Yes, but I think part is genetics. Our magazine is driven by the positive side. Boomers will be here another 50 years and we are here to help them.