Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
Thinking about 'recareering?' You and many others. In April 2009, AARP published a report called 'Older Workers on the Move: Recareering in Later Life', a term the study equates with 'occupational change' and 'career change.' This Urban Institute research noted that 43 percent of Americans working full time at ages 51 to 55 subsequently change employers, and 63% of those job changers move into new occupations, including less demanding, lower paying, and self-employment, and also as part of a gradual transition into retirement, 'placing a high premium on escaping from the 9-to-5 grind'. Okay, hold that thought.
"The great things about existing homes is that they exist." Hard to argue with that point on page 34 of the Electronic House Expo guide, just held in Orlando, where the custom home electronics industry receives training and grabs much-needed new ideas to expand their installation and service business. GrandCare Systems sponsored an exhibit cluster of aging in place technology for the CEPro agenda, placing it within the EHX-described home health opportunity. Home automation, home security vendors, and local audio integrators are eager to expand their businesses as home owners stay longer in their own homes. Let's also remember that architects, builders, and interior designers see retrofit opportunity inside existing homes - and offer Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) training to help designers expand their businesses. Now hold that thought.
Meanwhile, back over with AARP. AARP is hosting Work@50+ job fairs in multiple states, including many states, like Florida, Ohio, and Michigan, with high unemployment rates. The objective: "career counseling, job-hunting strategies, networking tips, and information on how to effectively market your skills and experience." Partnered with EmploymentGuide.com (which includes virtual job fairs) and WiserWorker.com, a number of the career fairs may be for workers of all ages, but they also include special seminars for older individuals who want to hone their job-seeking skills as well as meet hosting employers seeking new workers.
Putting all this together...older workers should serve older people in existing homes. So recareering baby boomers and retirees want to work at something less taxing than their previous 9-5 jobs, consumer electronics and homebuilding professionals are seeing ways to expand their businesses by serving existing homes, and AARP and partners are hosting job fairs to help older workers find skills and new work. Maybe I'm seeing things, but AARP and its job partners should offer training programs for recareering boomers and retirees to learn about the consumer electronics and home redesign worlds, helping professionals offer integrated services in local areas to an aging population that doesn't want to move -- and needs services in and around home electronics and physical design changes.
Coordinate among professional organizations. You seem doubtful. But why can't older workers and retirees learn how to serve their neighbors -- who live in all of those existing homes? Here's an excerpted list from EHX: 'Medical/PERS, IT service, remote energy monitoring, personal concierge service, and alarm system monitoring.' And CAPS, which includes 'performing a needs assessment to identify and prioritize the needs, wants, and wishes of the Aging in Place client. ' Even if the recareering folks don't have the specific technical skills, perhaps they can help professionals sell these services to their peer group through neighborhood associations and community centers. CEPro and NAHB members should partner with local AARP career programs to think about coordinated services, training and work opportunities -- where professionals find workers....and ultimately, customers.
For more resources, trends, and related articles, see http://www.ageinplacetech.com