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For older adults, consider that transitions are going to take longer

The baby boomer generation’s later years will be unprecedented.  Each time the population aged 65+ is counted, it’s a bigger number. That onslaught, now at 52 million, bears repeating.  The boomers, turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day, are pushing and prodding assumptions, deadlines, and pundit predictions. As they do so, they will force industries to change offerings – and drive considerable change in technology that underpins their lives. Consider signals from today's older adults that will only become more pronounced as the boomers move past today's upper age of 73. Innovators should understand and and match their offerings to clear trends indicating that:

  • Older adults will stay longer in their own home. Only 5% of the senior population moves to senior living, and to preserve their savings, those who move do so at a later date.  In fact, according to a study from NIC, middle income seniors will not be able to afford the move. The remainder will remain longer in their own homes -- ‘aging in place’ and utilizing services like home care and home health care.  Many will also utilize the services of Continuing Care at Home (CCaH), lower-priced offerings from senior living companies like Friends Life Care in Pennsylvania or Kendal At Home (available across 30 states).  Or those living alone may opt to share their homes by obtaining roommates through organizations like Silvernest or Roomates4Boomers.
  • Older adults will interact differently with health providers.  Studies are showing that older adults who have Internet and broadband may be willing to use telehealth.  Better-educated and in higher income demographic, they may be working longer. They also may be interested and willing to consider self-care approaches, as well as being more willing to use patient portals. Those who do may also find that their health status is better than those who don't. Perhaps that's because they are more interested in and aware of their own test results and upcoming appointments.  These boomers are also signaling that they are more interested in self-care, whether that involves testing their own hearing or vision, buying devices or eyeglasses online, or finding ways to take care of themselves before someone else has to help them.