44 Ways the Young Old (Boomers) Can Help the Extreme Old and Make Money

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I signed up for The Fundamentals of Gerontology and attended the first class this week. It's online and offered by the American Society on Aging in partnership with the USC Davis School of Gerontology. The first class inspired this article.

If you don't work in the industry, you might not "get" why someone would spend cash on learning about older people. But if you're in the private sector, I recommend that you have a change of heart. I know that growing older is not an attractive phase in our culture, and the general public would rather ignore it altogether.

But if you're looking to make money, you'll want to take advantage of the once in a millennium shift that will last for several or more decades. It begins 2017. That's when the 65+ population becomes larger than the <6-year-olds for the first time. And it's happening worldwide. The big deal about the transition is the health care costs. Because the cost of care for a 65-year-old is $10,000 a year and the federal government pays for it through Medicare. While the cost of health care for a young child (-6) is $2,000 a year; the difference is substantial and creates a significant problem.

The goal is to keep older adults healthier, more active, and in jobs longer. The USC Davis faculty says, there are four understandings to learn as people age.

  • We must adapt society to the fact that we have an aging population.

  • We must allow people to be productive as long as they can.
  • We must make sensible decisions in providing health care for the entire population.
  • We need to see the boomer population as a resource to help those older people over the age of 85 - who require more services than the young old.
  • In the four considerations above, there lies a groundswell of opportunity. Take a look at number four. Whether you're a boomer or not, designing a service that helps older people will be in demand, like tomorrow. So, what does the future have in store for us? The WHO (World Health Organization) did an extensive study called, The WHO Active Ageing Framework. They came up with several calls for action.

    They found three components that offer job and business opportunities to serve the older generations, the ones that assist older people with:

    1. Participation

  • Health
  • Security
  • These are the areas that older adults need help with the most to stay healthy, independent, safe, and satisfied. From the three, I list out the services that anybody can create to help this enormous population but these may be a perfect fit for a boomer to handle.

    Here's my list, please add your ideas through comments. My list does not include required technology to help individuals age in place or to stay healthy. My suggestions aren't glamorous either, but they are in demand. When thinking about an offering or service, put yourself in an older person's shoes (could be your own) and think about the issues you will have difficulty with or need assistance to get done.

    Transportation

    1. Be a senior driver

  • Transport larger items or pets
  • Travel and vacation companion
  • Medical transportation service
  • Errand runner
  • Pick up prescriptions
  • Grocery shop
  • Technology

    1. Teach technology apps

  • Set up technology
  • Fix Viruses & Other Computer Problems
  • Make videos for keepsakes and history
  • Research (cell phone plans, utility bills, others billing issues)
  • Research any topic of interest or need
  • Health and Wellness

    1. Patient Advocate

  • Exercise buddy
  • Prepare and deliver nutritious meals
  • Walking companion
  • Medical service by a registered nurse - custom health care service
  • Teach personalized chair yoga
  • Adult day care
  • Personal Services

    1. Housekeeping service with home safety checks

  • Clean basements, garages, storage spaces
  • Decorate for the holidays
  • House sitting when adult is away
  • Handyperson
  • Security check-in service - physically check on a person at home (several times a day)
  • Organize the kitchen and bathroom
  • Organize a garage sale
  • Lawn and plant watering
  • Take in the mail
  • Shovel snow
  • Rake leaves
  • Garden composting
  • Paint fences
  • Wash cars
  • Home modification expert
  • Move manager
  • Downsizer
  • Money and More

    1. Benefits counselor

  • Investment, retirement counselor and pay bills
  • Read and write service
  • Identity theft protector or investigator
  • Clip coupons to save money
  • Our society is at a pivotal stage. We have opportunities to help people as they grow older, and when growing real old, they'll demand services that help keep them healthy and safe during the latter stages. Can we adapt to an older population? How do you suggest we make the shift from honoring a youthful society to honoring and accepting an older one?