FOCUS ON SENIORS: Riding the ‘age wave’

Opinion May 28, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging is excited about the potential for healthy, active aging and the golden opportunities available for older adults.

The changing demographics that tell us people over the age of 55 will represent 35.2 per cent of our community in 15 years should be viewed as a time of renewal and redesign. Rather than cowering in apprehension waiting for the wave to wash him away, Brant MPP Dave Levac has voiced his excitement about riding the “age wave” to a new future.   

Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab, believes to “succeed in a shifting demographic landscape, innovators must understand the features of the new terrain – a generation that will demand a better old age, the revenue sources that will pay for them to experience it and the organizations that will deliver it.”    

Old age has a new face and the baby boomers are not only driving the changes, but expecting them.

The new face of old age enjoys better health, has more disposable income, is more educated and is mostly female. Retirement will include higher numbers of women that have worked outside the home and have more education than their mothers.

Technology, including cellphones and televisions, has inspired and changed a generation of people. Older adults recognize the improvements these tools have made in their lives and are eager to look outside the box for the next new application designed to make their lives better.  These characteristics of a generation have created markets and expectations to live longer and better.

The boomers are healthier than the previous generation as well. Benefiting directly from tremendous improvements in health care, studies show that a person aged 65 today in reasonable health could anticipate living for another 20 years.

People in good health will look forward to living active lives well into old age. Those with financial security will demand products and services to meet their needs. Educated older adults will look for trusted information to guide how to invest their money, where to live, what to eat and how to get around their community.    

The “age wave” presents countless opportunities for innovation in business. The changing demographics suggest the development of four basic markets of Supporting, Enabling, Lifestyle and Social Impact.

The Support market is familiar to us. Things like nutrition counselling and formal caregiving fall into this category. This market relies on non-profit organizations and businesses to deliver services and products to ensure that frail and vulnerable individuals receive the care they need. Support markets care for the frail, disabled and their families.

The Enabling market refers to community design, transportation and housing. These services represent significant financial investment and are both privately and publicly funded. Developing new neighbourhoods that have comprehensive transportation services will allow residents to age in place while maintaining their independence. Think about the business opportunities.

A Lifestyle market is self-explanatory. But what are the new markets for mature adults? This market is built upon fun. Travel and wellness are core business opportunities. Lifestyle choices define the infinite possibilities of this golden age.

And what of the Social Impact market? In this market, we see people wanting to make a difference and willing to invest their own time, money and passion. This market recognizes a desire to leave a legacy and has the potential to impact business and public policy in aging and many other unrelated areas.   

Rather than focusing on growing old, we need to celebrate longevity.

Honour and respect each grey hair and new wrinkle received in exchange for the gift of time and years.   

Innovations over the coming decades will touch on every aspect of daily living.

Opportunities abound for new markets to develop and existing markets to reinvent their business. Using an age-friendly lens or viewpoint to filter through the myriad of opportunities can lead to new business that can introduce new products and services for all ages.   

It’s time for individuals, organizations and businesses to talk about aging and growing older.

The aging process does not begin when a person retires.

Older adults are in a position to say, “been there, done that!” They have the life experience to point the way.

When they do, that is to everyone’s benefit.

Working together as a community we can ride the wave into a better tomorrow.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Riding the ‘age wave’

Business opportunities abound with aging demographics

Opinion May 28, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging is excited about the potential for healthy, active aging and the golden opportunities available for older adults.

The changing demographics that tell us people over the age of 55 will represent 35.2 per cent of our community in 15 years should be viewed as a time of renewal and redesign. Rather than cowering in apprehension waiting for the wave to wash him away, Brant MPP Dave Levac has voiced his excitement about riding the “age wave” to a new future.   

Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab, believes to “succeed in a shifting demographic landscape, innovators must understand the features of the new terrain – a generation that will demand a better old age, the revenue sources that will pay for them to experience it and the organizations that will deliver it.”    

Old age has a new face and the baby boomers are not only driving the changes, but expecting them.

The new face of old age enjoys better health, has more disposable income, is more educated and is mostly female. Retirement will include higher numbers of women that have worked outside the home and have more education than their mothers.

Technology, including cellphones and televisions, has inspired and changed a generation of people. Older adults recognize the improvements these tools have made in their lives and are eager to look outside the box for the next new application designed to make their lives better.  These characteristics of a generation have created markets and expectations to live longer and better.

The boomers are healthier than the previous generation as well. Benefiting directly from tremendous improvements in health care, studies show that a person aged 65 today in reasonable health could anticipate living for another 20 years.

People in good health will look forward to living active lives well into old age. Those with financial security will demand products and services to meet their needs. Educated older adults will look for trusted information to guide how to invest their money, where to live, what to eat and how to get around their community.    

The “age wave” presents countless opportunities for innovation in business. The changing demographics suggest the development of four basic markets of Supporting, Enabling, Lifestyle and Social Impact.

The Support market is familiar to us. Things like nutrition counselling and formal caregiving fall into this category. This market relies on non-profit organizations and businesses to deliver services and products to ensure that frail and vulnerable individuals receive the care they need. Support markets care for the frail, disabled and their families.

The Enabling market refers to community design, transportation and housing. These services represent significant financial investment and are both privately and publicly funded. Developing new neighbourhoods that have comprehensive transportation services will allow residents to age in place while maintaining their independence. Think about the business opportunities.

A Lifestyle market is self-explanatory. But what are the new markets for mature adults? This market is built upon fun. Travel and wellness are core business opportunities. Lifestyle choices define the infinite possibilities of this golden age.

And what of the Social Impact market? In this market, we see people wanting to make a difference and willing to invest their own time, money and passion. This market recognizes a desire to leave a legacy and has the potential to impact business and public policy in aging and many other unrelated areas.   

Rather than focusing on growing old, we need to celebrate longevity.

Honour and respect each grey hair and new wrinkle received in exchange for the gift of time and years.   

Innovations over the coming decades will touch on every aspect of daily living.

Opportunities abound for new markets to develop and existing markets to reinvent their business. Using an age-friendly lens or viewpoint to filter through the myriad of opportunities can lead to new business that can introduce new products and services for all ages.   

It’s time for individuals, organizations and businesses to talk about aging and growing older.

The aging process does not begin when a person retires.

Older adults are in a position to say, “been there, done that!” They have the life experience to point the way.

When they do, that is to everyone’s benefit.

Working together as a community we can ride the wave into a better tomorrow.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Riding the ‘age wave’

Business opportunities abound with aging demographics

Opinion May 28, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging is excited about the potential for healthy, active aging and the golden opportunities available for older adults.

The changing demographics that tell us people over the age of 55 will represent 35.2 per cent of our community in 15 years should be viewed as a time of renewal and redesign. Rather than cowering in apprehension waiting for the wave to wash him away, Brant MPP Dave Levac has voiced his excitement about riding the “age wave” to a new future.   

Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab, believes to “succeed in a shifting demographic landscape, innovators must understand the features of the new terrain – a generation that will demand a better old age, the revenue sources that will pay for them to experience it and the organizations that will deliver it.”    

Old age has a new face and the baby boomers are not only driving the changes, but expecting them.

The new face of old age enjoys better health, has more disposable income, is more educated and is mostly female. Retirement will include higher numbers of women that have worked outside the home and have more education than their mothers.

Technology, including cellphones and televisions, has inspired and changed a generation of people. Older adults recognize the improvements these tools have made in their lives and are eager to look outside the box for the next new application designed to make their lives better.  These characteristics of a generation have created markets and expectations to live longer and better.

The boomers are healthier than the previous generation as well. Benefiting directly from tremendous improvements in health care, studies show that a person aged 65 today in reasonable health could anticipate living for another 20 years.

People in good health will look forward to living active lives well into old age. Those with financial security will demand products and services to meet their needs. Educated older adults will look for trusted information to guide how to invest their money, where to live, what to eat and how to get around their community.    

The “age wave” presents countless opportunities for innovation in business. The changing demographics suggest the development of four basic markets of Supporting, Enabling, Lifestyle and Social Impact.

The Support market is familiar to us. Things like nutrition counselling and formal caregiving fall into this category. This market relies on non-profit organizations and businesses to deliver services and products to ensure that frail and vulnerable individuals receive the care they need. Support markets care for the frail, disabled and their families.

The Enabling market refers to community design, transportation and housing. These services represent significant financial investment and are both privately and publicly funded. Developing new neighbourhoods that have comprehensive transportation services will allow residents to age in place while maintaining their independence. Think about the business opportunities.

A Lifestyle market is self-explanatory. But what are the new markets for mature adults? This market is built upon fun. Travel and wellness are core business opportunities. Lifestyle choices define the infinite possibilities of this golden age.

And what of the Social Impact market? In this market, we see people wanting to make a difference and willing to invest their own time, money and passion. This market recognizes a desire to leave a legacy and has the potential to impact business and public policy in aging and many other unrelated areas.   

Rather than focusing on growing old, we need to celebrate longevity.

Honour and respect each grey hair and new wrinkle received in exchange for the gift of time and years.   

Innovations over the coming decades will touch on every aspect of daily living.

Opportunities abound for new markets to develop and existing markets to reinvent their business. Using an age-friendly lens or viewpoint to filter through the myriad of opportunities can lead to new business that can introduce new products and services for all ages.   

It’s time for individuals, organizations and businesses to talk about aging and growing older.

The aging process does not begin when a person retires.

Older adults are in a position to say, “been there, done that!” They have the life experience to point the way.

When they do, that is to everyone’s benefit.

Working together as a community we can ride the wave into a better tomorrow.