Well those of you who were expecting to reach 65 and retire to the golf course or the beach, think and plan again. According to most reports, lots of things are now different for today’s pending retirees, and some of them are actually good. The best part is that a “large percentage of the 78 million Americans who are classified as baby boomers are going to live anywhere from 10 to 25 years longer than their parents did,” according to a Yahoo Finance Post.
Other items of interest:
Retirement community living is less popular than a move to a smaller community with low-key living, or, just the reverse, a move to an urban area where proximity to services and activities. Both scenarios allow for better community engagement. Suburban living is isolating and, when care needs arise, hard to service.
Boomers are far less prepared for retirement than their parents. In fact, the boomers are, on average, “about $500,000 short of what they will need to be able to retire comfortably, and this generation will not be able to rely on the security of guaranteed pensions and Social Security that their parents enjoyed,” reports a TD Ameritrade Survey. With the high cost of care for those who want to remain at home, I suggest you look into Long Term Care Insurance now, so it is affordable.
So, we Boomers continue to work. We continue to enjoy life. We are looking for a better way to leave the earth to our offspring to enjoy.
Let’s just hope that “respecting elders” and being polite to those who are older gains in popularity, so, at least we can find a seat on the bus.
Like location, location, location for the real estate market, focus, focus, focus should be the mantra of those marketing home care services. The three tenets of marketing- message, visual, target- are key to success, and measuring what works is the magic bullet.
Let’s say that you have a private duty home care company and want more clients. Where do you start? How about where you currently have clients? Where do your current clients come from? Are several of them referred by one specific person, or group, or association/organization? If so, how about scheduling a lunch or a coffee with the contact and discussing how you are doing with the current clients they have referred? Ask what it would take to get more referrals. Find out what they like about your service and what they do not like. The go to the office and make a list of things to do, and systematically complete them.
Then, take what you learned from that one experience and look at your marketing. Are you targeting like people or organizations? Are you using the same message to target them that worked the first time? Are you applying what you learned from your meeting?
What about your visuals accompanying the communication? Do those visuals work with that target? For instance, if the target is an Alzheimer’s Association, do your visuals follow the visuals of someone who is seeking help with Alzheimer’s? A caring, loving caregiver walking a person outside? Someone folding laundry with a caregiver at her side? Someone lovingly cradling a doll accompanied by a loving caregiver? Or, are your visuals medically oriented and not appropriate for the Alzheimer’s caregiver target? Think about it.
Once you do target, and refine your messages and make that visual marry with the message, are you measuring? Do you track where calls originate and why? Do you check website stats and see what is working? Do you look at who opens your email communication to see what they find most interesting?
Marketing successfully is really not rocket science, but it does take planning, execution and measurement. If you are not doing this effectively, perhaps it is time for some assistance. Check out corecubed’s MOST program to see how professionals can help your marketing be easy. Then all you have to do is the measurement part. The rest is done for you.
Dr. Ken Dychtwald from AgeWave opened the American Society on Aging Conference today following a greeting from Msg, Charles Fahey, a past ASA President. In true Dychtwald fashion, he entertained us all and spread his constant message about an aging America and how we are really not prepared for the onslaught.
However, today’s message was also about creating opportunities from aging. As long as one is healthy, there is really no reason for retirement. In fact, many today are not retiring, rather are switching professions or moving into helping professions, or going back to school.
He shared 5 points that relate to the current situation of retiring age boomers.
1) The longevity revolution. 2/3 of the people who have lived to be over 65 IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD are alive today. We are facing a horizon in front of us that humans have not contemplated before.
2) Where do we put the longevity bonus? We, as a society, are now blessed with unprecedented longevity, and we need to find a way to make it a bonus, not a burden.
3) Financial wake-up call! There really needs to be a mindshift in financing retirement or old age. Americans are simply not planning well for retirement or reduced income, and it is a tragedy that will come back to haunt us.
4) New retirement lifescape. Boomers simply do not like the current version of aging, and are creating their own. It turns out that a full 70% of boomers want to continue working after retirement age,
5) Retirement finds a new purpose
He said there are no experts in “FUN” entering the field. And I just decided today that that is what I want to be.
Dr. Thomas Perls from the New England Centarian Study spoke today at the Brain Health Forum at the American Society on Aging Conference in Chicago. The focus of the brain health forum was on lifestyles that lead to longevity. Attitude, genetics, exercise, interests, nutrition and not smoking or “buying into anti-aging quackery” were the main message.
It turns out that 70% of reasons for healthy aging relate to environmental and behavioral factors.
Some amazing statistics: there are 50,000 centarians today, and somewhere between 60-70 living super-centarians, those over 110, with the oldest being 114.
After some introductions, the ASA conference 2013 opened with some hard questions about public policy as it relates to aging, posed by Debra Whitman from AARP. Whitman called her talk the “7 Unsolved Mysteries of Aging in Aging Policy”
She said that she feel that the politicians in DC only see the aging society as a drain, as costly, and as something to be feared. She sees the influx of older people in our society as an opportunity, but she does feel there are many things that we need to do as a society.
Mystery #1. How can we encourage more to save more? Only half of businesses offer retirement, and many people do not save for retirement. She said, “We need to make saving for retirement fun!”
Mystery #2. How do we make certain nest eggs last for the rest of life? This is very hard to predict since interest rates and inflation and other factors affect savings and growth of funds.
Mystery #3. How do we encourage people to work longer while taking care of those that do not?
She reported that 4 in 10 workers retire earlier than planned. Even working a few years more would make a big difference.
Mystery #4. How can we help consumers play a bigger role in managing their own health & wellness?
She posed the issue that in no other industry does one buy services without knowing any costs at all, In our health care system cost is illusive. She feels we need to educate patients to ask about treatment ordered, and test ordered, and prescriptions ordered to see if they are necessary. “Doctors need to be better communicators,” she said. One positive in the ACA is that there are incentives for health screenings, and those are free.
Mystery #5. How will we pay for long-term services and support? One report stated that of the boomers turning 65, more than 70% will need some form of long term care. Currently 1/3 of all Medicaid expenditures goes to long term care. The ASA crowd gave family caregivers a great applause, and Debra notes that it is estimated that $450 billion dollars is the worth set on care given by family caregivers. She feels that consumer demand will create person and family centered services in the future.
Mystery #6. How can society best deal with growing numbers of people with diminished mental capacity?
Currently 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that number is expected to double by century’s end. To even start to meet the demand, better training and support plus a larger workforce is needed.
Mystery #7. How do we get politicians to look at the needs of an aging society? Our public policy as well as the health care delivery system is in silos. Pensions, health and retirement issues are all dealt with separately, and there needs to be an overall overhaul in how we are approaching the issues.
From the AARP website: Debra Bailey Whitman is AARP’s Executive Vice President, Policy and International. She is an authority on aging issues with extensive experience in national policymaking, domestic and international research, and the political process.