I hear it all the time; “I want to age gracefully”. In the early years of my practice I always thought that was just a nice way of the patient saying “I don’t want cosmetic surgery”. However, I recently used a questionnaire to ask my patients their thoughts about “aging gracefully”. I was surprised to see that 90% of the surveyed patients supported the concept.
But what is the definition?
Younger patients emphasize “aging gracefully” as letting nature takes its course and not undergoing any surgical alterations. Interestingly, patients over the age of 30 also support this definition, but the rationalization changes. Patients over the age of 30 believe surgical correction of changes that have occurred through aging or pregnancy fit into the natural correction moniker. For example, correcting sagging breasts and drooping belly skin after pregnancy puts them back on track to “aging gracefully”. Pregnancy does not affect all women, therefore the changes that occur after pregnancy need to be “corrected” to get back to “aging gracefully”. That type of rationalization expands as patients increase in age.
The 10% who disagree with aging gracefully are represented by a 77 year old woman who simply wrote: “Aging gracefully is bulls—t!”.
“Nothing good happens with age…. unless you are a wine!”
The most common concern I get among patients older than 40 is that they feel like they look tired when they are not, or they look too serious all the time. Both of these issues are different ways of describing the aging process. As we age we lose volume and skin starts to sag. We don’t mind looking sad when we are sad, but we sure as hell don’t want to look sad when we are happy!
That mismatch between the way a person feels and the way a person looks is the driving motivation for patients seeking my expertise.
In the end, it appears that everyone is looking to achieve “graceful aging”. Surgical and nonsurgical changes have the power to get you back on track to that goal. “Help” is sometimes needed and strongly supported. Allow us to help you!