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.
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:
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.
- Be a senior driver
- Teach technology apps
Health and Wellness
- Patient Advocate
- Housekeeping service with home safety checks
Money and More
- Benefits counselor
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?