The “Baby Boom” generation, born between 1946-1964, is undoubtedly one of the largest age groups of our nation and consequently greatly influenced our economy and culture. As marketers research this consumer segment, they must take maturing investments and spending habit changes into account. These are the 3 trends that we will see over the next 5 years.
Previous generations have stopped working at retirement; this is not true of the baby boomers. Roughly 65% of Boomers plan on working past the age of 65. A study by Voya Financial noted that 60% of retirees were forced to end their careers earlier than planned, due to layoffs and health concerns, and then found that their savings were not as sustainable as expected and needed to find additional income. Taking this time to ensure ends meet results in less free time for leisurely activities and travel.
Changes in purchasing habits
With continuing to work comes the need for professional attire and reliable transportation. Along with that, more and more time and money is being spent online. Medical care, security, entertainment options, obtaining and maintaining pets and community activities are all varying factors taken into consideration. Medical care in general is a huge budget item as Boomer’s rely heavily on both traditional and innovative medical technology and healthcare support.
Skew even more female
With the life expectancy of women exceeding that of men, a greater and growing percentage of this generation will be women. Products mostly bought by men won’t have the same consumption rate as before, so items like golf gear and men’s grooming tools will not be in high demand. Respectively, women’s products will increase.
We see major changes ahead as our country’s infrastructure stains to supply housing, medical care and entertainment for the oldest members of our society.
The “baby boomer” generation will be the fastest-growing age group in the workforce next year. In 2018 almost 20% of Americans over the age of 65 were employed or actively looking for work according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is considerably up from less than 12% twenty years ago. The youngest of this generation, born in 1964, turned or will turn 55 this year.
With science and medicine making longer lives possible, people are more eager to continue to learn and make productive use of their time. For most, contributing to society means continuing to work. Additionally, the aging population is finding that pensions may not be sufficient sources of income to sustain the rest of their life. With a longer and healthier life expectancy comes needing retirement funds to last that much longer.
The World Health Organization has flagged workplace ageism as an ongoing issue, saying “employers often have negative attitudes towards older workers… even though older workers are not necessarily less healthy, less educated, less skillful or productive than their younger counterparts.” A survey was conducted this past year by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, finding that 1 in 3 Americans under the age of 50 felt the aging workforce had negative implications for their own careers.
Contrary to this however, a study from Stanford’s Institute for Economic Policy Research analyzed data from 1977-2011 to conclude that younger workers opportunities were in no way diminished by older workers presence in the workforce. The data researched actually suggested that the exact opposite was true!
As we enter the digital age, seniors are finding it easier to meet their security, safety, and comfort needs with smart home technology.
Home assistance devices such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa offer user friendly voice controls that are much simpler than navigating a complex app. With simple commands users can operate security, lighting, climate control, entertainment and privacy. This proves very helpful when dealing with limited mobility or poor vision.
Smart devices can also help older adults manage things like their medications and connect with community services, as well as stay in touch with family and friends. Family and caregivers are now able to save time and money with everyday tasks such as grocery delivery and transportation.
Safety is the number one concern in your home. Technology is available for automatic doors with security features, automatically adjusting counter-tops, motion or voice-activated faucets for water temperature control. Other accommodations and features include
- Slip-fall detection and medical alert monitors
- Adjustable sit-to-stand toilets
- Controlled light systems & controlled blinds
- Water filtration systems and leak sensors
- Temperature sensors that can be precursors to house fires
- Smart shower systems
- Smart thermostats
Back in the mid 1980s, American television viewers were introduced to The Golden Girls, four fun-loving and aging women — still young at heart — who shared a home in Miami and, of course, got themselves into hilarious situations episode after episode. While the ladies would often get on each other’s nerves, their living situation did have several advantages, perhaps the biggest plus being companionship.
In today’s non-TV world, more and more people are looking for housing alternatives as they age, and the house-sharing arrangement like the one portrayed on The Golden Girls is becoming increasingly popular. Leave it to the Baby Boomers to make house-sharing a national trend!
By definition, shared housing is an arrangement between two or more unrelated people who choose to live together to take advantage of the mutual benefits the situation offers. It allows individuals to age in place, yet not alone. In addition to companionship, the house-sharing trend offers several other advantages. For example, those household chores that never seem to get any easier can now be split between two or more people. And, there can be a considerable cost savings for all involved. Just think about it — typical household expenses such as utilities and maintenance can be equally divided and shared! Additionally, there is peace of mind and a feeling of security that comes with having other people living in the home and keeping an eye out for one another.
Of course, house-sharing isn’t always the ideal situation. Finding a roommate, or roommates, who are compatible and trustworthy might not be easy. And what happens when one of the individuals is late paying their portion of the shared expenses? What about rules on pets, smoking and room temperature? While you might like the temperature set at 68 degrees, one of your housemates might prefer 72 and another might like it at 75. Those are all things to consider before moving in together. And perhaps the biggest potential problem of them all: What happens if one of the roommates eventually needs additional care that his or her companions cannot provide?
In the absence of a formal screening process, aging professionals agree that if a house-sharing situation is in your future, it’s probably best to move in with someone who has been a good friend for years, or at the very least the friend of a good friend who comes with a strong recommendation. But, you’ll never know if it’s truly going to work until you put the plan into action.
For more information on independent housing alternatives for seniors, please visit the Erie County Senior Services website at www.erie.gov/seniorservices
Michael Olear is a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker with MJ Peterson Real Estate – www.olear.wpengine.com
This article originally appeared in The Buffalo News Homefinder on January 6, 2018 and is reprinted with permission
According to the National Aging in Place Council, more than 90 percent of older adults would prefer to age in their current house or apartment rather the move into any type of senior housing. In order to achieve this with peace of mind and safety, there are a variety of steps to be taken to ensure the well-being of an older adult. One of the first steps is clearly fall prevention.
All too often falls result in emergency room visits. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that more than one in four people 65 and older suffer a fall each year. The real kicker in the stats available is that falling once actually doubles your chances of falling again! Bottom line is if you do have a fall in your home, you must make some changes to safeguard yourself going forward whether it be a move or perhaps a very honest look at your current environment and physical condition followed by corrective actions.
It’s important to note that falls can cause serious injuries such as broken bones or head trauma. If this type of accident occur, independent living and aging in place can get removed as an option. Let’s take a hard look at the preventative side of this question. Some of the causes of falls include general lower body weakness, Vitamin D deficiency, difficulties with walking and balance, reaction to medications, vision problems, and foot pain or improper footwear. The major issue however is “home hazards”.
If your doctor believes you are a good candidate to age in place, there are some precautions to take to ensure a safer and healthier lifestyle. Let’s start at ground level and work our way up.
Look at the floor in every room and hallway. Are there throw rugs that could slip or is clutter present that you might trip over? Are your stair ways clear? If items are in the way remove them immediately. Do your stairs have treads and clear lines so you can see where the edges are? There are many low cost products out there that can help with this. If there are one step changes in level in your living situation, are these clearly delineated? Are there handrails that will help you to safely move from one floor to the other? If handrails are absent, they should be installed as soon as possible on both sides of the stairs. And don’t stop there! Handrails are extremely helpful in bathrooms as well. People often ask me if they should put these up or not as they are concerned it will affect resale of the house. The answer to this is quite clear – put them up today! It does not affect resale very much if at all and your health and safety is so much more important.
Overall physical condition also plays a huge role in independent living. Practices that will help maintain and even improve balance need to be considered as regular activity you engage in. There are shows on television that teach low-impact exercise routines such as yoga and tai chi. Classes are also typically offered at senior centers; consult your community’s recreation director, senior center or office for the aging for nearby recommendations. Exercise DVDs are also a great gift idea for aging friends and relatives. Maintaining your ability to balance is critical.
It has been my experience that the motivation for keeping a house safe and sound can so often come after an accident occurs, and not before. That way of thinking needs to change, and older adults and their caregivers need to become much more proactive rather than reactive in order to live safely and well in your preferred living arrangement.
This article originally appeared in The Buffalo News Homefinder and is reprinted with permission.
Look around mom or dad’s house and it’s clear to see that it’s filled with memories and emotions. From photos on the walls to growth notches in the kids’ bedrooms, a house is so much more than just another building.
For many families, a day will come when the only person remaining in the large homestead is mom or dad. The kids have grown up and moved out and perhaps one parent has passed away, leaving a senior citizen to care not only for his or herself, but to maintain the property as well. And as we age, what was once an enjoyable way of life can become a terrific burden.
If you currently find yourself in a situation where you’re helping to care for an older adult who still owns a property, it may be time to talk to your parent or loved one about selling it and moving into a more suitable housing situation. Quite often there is strong resistance to change, but in reality the older occupant(s) are probably only using about one-third of the home’s actual square footage on a regular basis. Additionally, there’s the risk of injury that increases with age. In fact, the Center for Disease Control reports that one-third of adults over the age of 65 fall every year and that these dangerous occurrences increase dramatically with age.
Once there is agreement to discuss alternatives, the next step will be to determine the appropriate new setting for your loved one. There are many choices depending on needs, health, interests, attitude and finances. For example, an older adult in excellent overall health may be a good candidate to continue living independently in a smaller house, condo or apartment, while someone in need of frequent or daily help may require a senior apartment, enriched housing, assisted living or even nursing home care.
In an effort to make the right decision, many families are turning to geriatric care managers to help them sort through the maze of housing choices. These highly trained professionals typically possess a medical and/or social work background as well as working knowledge of insurances and financing options. While the care manager can assist you fully with initial assessment and also determining the best place to live, they are also available to stay on long-term to provide ongoing support and assistance. This arrangement often proves very beneficial for adult children who now live quite a distance from their parent(s).
Another good resource can also be found right in your own backyard, that being your county’s department of senior services. An assessment appointment can be scheduled with a staff member, or they might refer you to your town’s community center if you live in a larger community that has its own department of aging services. There is usually no cost for this service and it is a positive way to enlist a third party in an objective, productive discussion regarding meeting the needs and wants of your loved one over the next several years.
Where’s the best place to start? Every situation and every family is different, so perhaps the easiest answer is to begin with a simple discussion around the kitchen table and just keep at it until the timing is right and your loved one is ready to make positive changes.
This article originally appeared in The Buffalo News Homefinder and is reprinted with permission.