There is an ever-increasing need for elderly care, all over the world. As we age, our needs and impairments increase exponentially. And societies the world over, with aging populations, are struggling more and more to address those needs.
To put this into perspective, back in 2015 there were more than 1.6 billion people in the world over 50. By 2050, this number is projected to double to nearly 3.2 billion people. By 2030, one in every five U.S. residents will be at retirement age.
The longevity economy, defined as representing all economic activity serving the needs of Americans over 50, has been forecast by Oxford Economics to top $13.5 trillion by 2032.
Despite the facts on the ground, seniors can seem like a largely unnoticed demographic whose welfare is largely left to the state and families. Offering the elderly what they need opens a new window for profit while making life more convenient for the elderly.
Vicky Smith, Principal Care Manager at dementia friendly home for the elderly, Samuel Hobson House in the UK, argues that there is a growing need for entrepreneurs to become part of the health and social care sector.
“As the population continues to age, the need and demand for care will rise and the types of care needed will change. This in turn will lead to an increase in the need for care services.”
Serving the senior-citizen market is not confined to the business of care homes. In fact, for those who run businesses outside this sector, the question is actually, “do you really?”
Can, for example, someone of any age with dementia make proper use of your company’s goods or services? Because of poor accessibility (both physical and digital), organisations are missing out on the ‘Purple Pound’, the spending power from customers with impairments and disabilities.
Businesses in Britain lose approximately £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people, who have the spending power (along with their families) worth £274 billion, according to disability organisation Purple. Less than 10% of organisations have a targeted plan to access this market.
In travel, the business case for making tourism venues and experiences inclusive is staggering. People with health conditions and impairments, plus – let’s not forget – their travelling companions, spend around £15.3 billion on trips in England alone each year.
Age and impairment-related problems that cry out for a commercial solution
Bodies start to decline around the age of 30, and from 50 to 65 years old we will feel a faster decline in muscle movement. We start to feel unstable when walking at these ages and find it hard to stand up and sit down; sometimes we fall. Many seniors therefore seek to retrofit their homes with accessibility-aiding fittings like shower grab bars, walk-in baths, stair lifts. Equally, this market, or their adult children, will be receptive to services that take on responsibility for overly physical chores such as housecleaning, lawn care and DIY.
The elderly also find it hard to travel or commute. While some have cars of their own to drive, many don’t – so the only way to move around is to use public transportation. This is great for elderly people who have guardians accompanying them where they need to be, but how about all those who live alone? Enter the senior transportation service, ferrying the elderly efficiently, and with dignity, to doctors appointments, shops, lunches.
Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart diseases, diabetes and shingles are just some of the most common types of diseases related to aging. The demand for constant medication and health increases as we get older. Managing medical bills becomes a top priority – businesses that assist the elderly in issues surrounding health insurance and benefits entitlement could serve this need.
Personal care is critical, not just for the elderly. However, when we reach a certain age, our capacity to do certain things becomes limited or restricted. Most elders find it hard to shower, brush teeth, or even go to the toilet. Offering this type of care will enable the aged to remain in their own homes for longer – but again these services are best offered to adult children; not all seniors will admit they need this type of care.
While we should be mindful of our food intake regardless of age, the elderly should be more conscious of their diet. Doctors will encourage a specific dietary plan once we reach that certain period to prevent unwanted complications on our health and body. Whether we like it or not, our body becomes pickier about the food we eat as we get older. Fitness and nutrition programmes can be marketed to physicians, fitness centres and physios with elderly patients or customers on their books.