Brenda Lyle – Florida Today
Q: Am I too old for cosmetic surgery?
A: 70 is the new 50. You don’t feel your age, so why should you look it? While cosmetic surgery is not typically associated with seniors, phrases like these suggest a changing mindset. Dolly Parton’s half-time NFL performance in November epitomized the miracle of modern cosmetic surgery. The 77-year-old entertainer looked phenomenal in a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader costume! And she’s not alone. According to AARP, “Last year, those 55 and older had over 4 million cosmetic procedures.”
Why cosmetic surgery?
41 million baby boomers are still working, making up a quarter of the total US workforce. A recent report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) finds “many older Americans are growing concerned about rejuvenating their faces.” It seems looking vigorous in the workplace, or having a face that matches their toned bodies might be two reasons why seniors are undergoing procedures. Additionally, ASPS President Jeffrey E. Janis, MD, FACS, notes, “the widespread use of smartphone cameras (and ‘selfies’) may also be a factor.”
Addressing the effects of aging
As people age, their skin loses elasticity and volume. Procedures like BOTOX® injections or dermal fillers can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines, making seniors look and feel more youthful. Additional procedures such as “tummy tucks” or liposuction can help seniors feel better about their bodies and improve self-esteem. CoolSculpting (trademarked), is a non-invasive version of liposuction that uses cold temperature to reduce targeted fat deposits in the body. Other procedures, like micro needling, electric current stimulation and even light wave therapies stimulate collagen production and make the skin appear firmer and tighter. AARP notes that while most seniors opted for minimally invasive procedures in 2022, “fixing (drooping) eyelids was the most common operation (102,354), followed by facelifts (81,543) and dermabrasion (33,840).”
Considerations before surgery
Seniors opting for surgery should choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience performing cosmetic procedures for older individuals. It is important for older adults to disclose their medical history, medications and health conditions to ensure their suitability for specific procedures. Cosmetic surgery recovery can be more challenging for seniors. Complications or slower healing might necessitate the hiring of a temporary, private-duty caregiver post-surgery. And while some procedures may be covered by insurance, most will require out-of-pocket payment.
Many older adults choose to undergo cosmetic procedures to maintain or enhance their youthful appearance and improve their quality of life. Doing so, however, requires careful consideration of the provider’s experience, your medical history, and recovery time. With thoughtful research, seniors can take advantage of today’s cosmetic procedures to look and feel their best.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.