If seeing is believing, adults age 50 and older are dependent, disengaged and confused. At least that’s how they are depicted in online images studied by AARP.

According to the group, which analyzed a sample of more than 1,000 online images from brands and thought leaders posted on news sites and social media with at least one million followers, images of people 50 and older are homogeneous, and their physical appearances are exaggerated in stereotypical ways. The depictions are even more extreme for those over 65.

In comparison, the images of adults age 50 and under are lively and engaging, the research showed.

Not only are adults 50 and over portrayed negatively in media images, but they also are underrepresented. The research showed only 15% of images had adults 50 and older, even though they represent 46% of the U.S. population.

It’s a fact that marketers often target younger consumers, the report pointed out. But even when depicting middle-age consumers (those 50 and older), the images skewed younger, the analysis found.

And while data showed that more than one-third of adults over 50 have colored their greying hair in the past six months, the images analyzed depicted a majority with grey hair. Only 15% of images were shown with non-grey hair. Similarly, the research found a majority of images of people 50 and over with wrinkles (73%) or age spots (12%), while few (15%) show people with clear skin.

As pointed out in the research, one in three people in the U.S. labor force is age 50 and older, but only 13% of images showed a midlife or older adult in a work setting, a stark contrast to the 55% of images of people under 50 shown at work. Furthermore, images related to work events (for example, trade shows and conferences) showed more parity among age groups, but people age 50 and older are generally portrayed as C-suite level in these images rather than mid- or entry-level employees.

The images were also more likely to show adults under age 50 as affluent compared with adults 50 and older, even though data has shown that adults age 50-plus have greater net worth than younger adults, the research noted.

And though it’s common to see people over 50 fully engaged in their communities, the research showed seven in 10 images of adults over 50 removed from the rest of the world—alone, with a partner or with a medical professional. Images that contain adults under 50 portrayed them as much more engaged with the world. They are featured with co-workers, in nonfamily groups and actively participating in what’s going on around them.

Moreover, adults over 50 appeared more cloistered in the images. They were shown most often as dependent and seated with others who are “taking care” of them—a partner, counselor, medical professional, etc. In contrast, those under age 50 are most often standing with peers (co-workers, nonfamily friends, etc.) or giving speeches.

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