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Social media “grandparents” over 70 expose the myth of aging

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new York – Joan MacDonald’s health was in turmoil at the age of 71. She was overweight and was taking a number of drugs that caused high cholesterol, increased blood pressure, and kidney damage.

Her daughter, a fitness instructor, warned that if she didn’t turn things around, she would be invalid. She went to the gym for the first time and learned how to balance her diet with the help of a new tool, the iPhone.

Now 75, McDonald’s is a hype beast for health with a bodybuilder body and 1.4 million loyal followers from Instagram.

It has more and more “Grand Influencers” over 70 who, with the help of young fans, have been gaining considerable followers on social media for decades.

“It’s very rare to find someone her age who can do all of this,” said one of her worshipers, 18-year-old Marianne Zapata in Larchmont, NY. “Thinking is also very positive.”

Ambitious, inspiring, old-fashioned influencers turn digital platforms into gold.

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McDonald’s has partnerships with sportswear and nutritional supplement brand Women’s Best and stress reliever Sensate. And after learning to use digital technology herself, she launched her own health and fitness app less than many years ago.

On TikTok, four friends (youngest 65 years old) who use @oldgays have 2.2 million followers, including Liana. They have a licensing deal with Grindr because they wow fans with their ignorant answers to pop culture questions.

Others focus on beauty and style, setting up Amazon cabinets with their reliable looks, and doing makeup tutorials live. Lagetta Wayne, 78, as @msgrandmasgarden on TikTok, asks teenagers to become grandmothers to care for and cook vegetables in Swiss City, California.

Wayne has attracted 130,500 followers since joining in June 2020, and his success on social media can be traced back to his teenage granddaughter. Her first video, the Garden Tour, received 37,600 likes.

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“One day my garden was so beautiful that I was very excited. I asked her if she could take a picture of me, ”Wayne recalls. Is it TikTok? I had never heard of it before. ”

According to the 2019 AARP survey, most people over 50 use the technology to keep in touch with friends and family. However, because they rely more on Facebook than other platforms, less than half use social media for this purpose on a daily basis.

According to a survey in 2019, only 37% of people over 70 used social media on a daily basis. Alison Bryant, senior vice president of AARP, said that since the coronavirus outbreak, older YouTubers have broadened their horizons beyond their flagship Facebook and are getting greedy.

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In the Californian desert city of Cathedral City, Jesse Martin is the second youngest gay man at the age of 68.

“I thought I was going to be relaxed for the rest of my life, and so am I, but that brings us back more. When I was working in a senior center food bank on Monday, I practiced yoga for an hour and a half on Tuesdays and Fridays, and was at the senior center reception desk on Wednesdays. I was just floating, not sociable and not in the gay community. And the boy, Old Gay, changed that, ”said Martin.

Like McDonald’s, they shatter many myths about what is possible in the 60, 70 and 80 years of age.

“They show that everyone can do these things and that there is no need to be afraid of aging. Something in the 20s and 30s doesn’t think about it much, ”said Bryant. “The credibility of some of these old influencers is really fresh. It’s part of the complexity of their story. They bring other parts of their lives into it. You are grandparents. Yes, great grandparents and spouses. They are more comfortable on their skin. “

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Blogger and artist Sandra Sarin is gradually increasing her 25,300 followers on Instagram. Her reach recently extended to Tom Daley, the gold medal diver of the British Olympic Games. Tom Daley praised his mother’s cheesecake recipe after the coach found it online and made it for athletes and employees. As a lipstick enthusiast with a focus on cooking and beauty, Sarin also shares photos of her past and other adventures, such as last year at a vintage Spitfire on the cliffs of Dover. ..

“I wanted to expand my world. I was old and I felt like my world was shrinking. People moved, people were sick, ”said Sarin. .. “So I started blogging because I wanted to get in touch. Then I heard Instagram. It was really hard to learn. I really stumbled on my way. Follow me. I was shocked because most of the people who do it are 30 and 40 years younger, but some older people give up and say, “I’m starting to put on lipstick.”

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Toby Bloomberg, 69, in Atlanta is a sarin supporter. She discovered sarin after participating in the short-lived Food Network show “Grandma’s Clash”.

“She talks a lot about aging. It’s a very rare phenomenon on social media and it’s clearly dominated by people much younger than us, ”said Bloomberg.

McDonald’s said it was initially surprised that people were really concerned about what it had to say.

“Why do people want to chase old Broad,” she laughed from her home in Ontario, Canada. “My daughter Michelle got rid of it. She said what you represent is that people are being told that they can’t do what they think they can’t. . “

32-year-old Grace Maier stays at home all day with two children, 6 months and 2 years old. She follows Barbara Costello, a 72-year-old Connecticut grandmother who uses the @brunchwithbabs handle.

“She makes these posts: ‘Did your mother tell you?’ And I immediately followed her on Instagram, ”said Maier. She has all of these life hacks and tips to remind me of what my grandmother shared with me before she died. She also seems like someone who doesn’t take herself very seriously and welcomes you into her home. “

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Mae Karwowski, founder and CEO of influencer marketing agencies, clearly has more than 100 influencers between the ages of 60 and 80 in her network. With over a billion users on Instagram alone, she points to the success on the 93 platform. 1 year old Helen Ruth Elam (baddiewinkle), 67 year old Lyn Slater (by mistake), 100 year old style legend Iris Apfel.

There is another side to the reach of the elderly. From traveling the world to nerf shootouts, grandparents and grandchildren have teamed up to share their adventures together.

“I think the mainstream media offers a very narrow perspective on this age group. The great thing about social media is that you can follow a really cool 75 year old woman who is doing herself in Florida right now. It is fun. It’s not, and she’s funny, ”said Kalwowski. “The influencer of a 21-year-old model is managed. She has a team. She has designers who go all over themselves to give her everything. She is a professional There are photographers. Many of these 70+ influencers do everything. “

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Candace Cima, 74, watched a YouTube tutorial and learned how to rotate and edit Instagram videos. In February 2019, she jumped on the platform as a fresh voice about fashion and style and urged viewers not to be afraid of aging. Her husband sometimes helps out with photos of @ styleinyour70s.withleslieb (Leslie is her middle name).

“I’m still on this learning curve. I have to be honest. Two and a half years ago, I didn’t even know what an influencer was, ”said Cima in Ithaca, New York. “I’ve always had a lot of thoughts about aging. I don’t understand why aging has such a negative impact. “

Some of her youngest fans have 37,900 followers and share with her why they care. “You feel like you can learn something.”

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Follow Leanne Italy on Twitter. http://twitter.com/litalie

Copyright 2021 AP Communication. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in any way without permission.

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