Whether aging yourself, running a business that services those who are aging, or creating products or services that serve an aging population, there is one thing for certain, you need to understand aging and what that means. Agism is rampant in our thinking and our communication. Ask anyone what age is old, and it will inevitably be at least 10 years past where that person is. The younger the person, the younger the age “old” is perceived to be.
Recently at the H3IT Summit in DC, I listened as enthusiastic students created products and services through technology that will serve the aging population. Age they are targeting? 65+
The Wall Street Journal has a wonderful article on the advances in relationships between grandparents and grandchildren, and technology is being used widely to communicate. Whether social media, Skype and Face Time or online groups, the ease of keeping in touch is expanding to all ages. No longer is technology usage just for the young. It has reached into all ages, all economic strata, and it is making a difference in how people perceive aging.
Death is certainly the reality and the end of life, but death is not really related to age. I had a dear, dear friend die on December 22nd, and she was 66 years old and sitting at her computer, with no presenting health issues. Jerome H. Stone, a founding president and honorary chair of the Alzheimer’s Association died at 101 yesterday. The difference between that 66 and the 101 is what I am referring to as Aging Reality, and what needs to be conveyed in 2015.
We are a diverse society. We are a technical society. We all age at different rates based on our lifestyle and genetics. We know that to “keep young” you have to socialize, use creativity daily, eat right, exercise, have some spiritual connection and think positively using humor as a tool. Aging is in the mind, but it is also in the body. A painful existence is not conducive to keeping young, keeping positive, and using humor.
So, start taking baby steps in realizing that aging is not the criteria for needing services. Frailty is. One can be frail at any age, and need assistance. Targeting “old folks”, whether for a business, or just to be conversational, needs to change to “targeting needs”. The age factor is one of the least important in determining what services one may need.
corecubed specializes in aging care marketing. What that means, is that we are focusing on those businesses that service the growing industries that are accommodating the needs that arise from frailty. Medicare certified home care services apply to those over 65 with post acute care needs. Hospice services are for those at the end of life. Private pay home care services are for those who need care, regardless of age. We find targets, regardless of age, and hone in on how best to reach those targets.
So, make 2015 your year for “Aging Reality” and rethink your stereotypes as to what age is old, and to what an “old person” can do and looks like.