Senior Living Foresight conducted a constructive virtual summit recently which provided excellent insight on a variety of topics. Active Living International had some valuable takeaways for those in the senior living space. If you are interested in the full line up of webinars go to Senior Living Foresight Virtual Summit.
Creating an Exuberant Life in Senior Living
Speaker: David Stewart
Blog post May 29, 2020
David Stewart is the founder & CEO of Ageist, which strives to “reinvent how life over 50 is lived, experienced and understood”. “We are Aegist” is most widely known for aspirational, colorful, lively profiles of individuals in the 50+ age demographic. Although Stewart admits that he is more familiar with the age group of our residents’ children, we have much to learn from him considering that residents’ children are often times the decision makers (customer) for their parents, and someday, they will be the next consumer.
For some people, lack of relevance is a real fear. Stewart asserts that relevance is oftentimes associated with a person’s life force. We can speculate that this is why there is a rumbling in our industry for something to change in the lifestyle we market. Today’s 50+ individuals have a different view of the second half of their life than their parents had, and we need to be prepared to accommodate these changes.
People age differently. There will still be those who prefer to “coast” through retirement—health, education, geography… a multitude of things can affect this preference. Research shows that the 50+ age group is feeling empowered and individualistic, attuned to their health and open to new technology. These qualities coupled with increased life expectancy has extended the period of time after raising children and retiring.
What does this mean? It means that they don’t feel old. They have a knowledge of self and a lifetime of curiosity before them. With the promise of a longer life, they have more options and feel more connected to the world, the “drivers” that will motivate them.
How do we use this information to our advantage when marketing seniors housing for the next wave of potential residents? According to Stewart, we must ditch the stereotypes of aging set in place by these individuals’ parents. Thirty years ago, 50 or 60 was widely considered “old” in our society. That has changed because today’s 50-year-old feels younger than the outdated stereotype would suggest. They have their own sense of identity and pursue life after 50 differently. It is impossible to boil them down to a “typical” or “average” older adult.
Stewart warns to be careful in using this kind of language when profiling the new target market. It’s critical that we place our communities’ value as a place where residents continue growing and connecting. How many communities heavily market helping residents become the best version of themselves?
By doing this, we will change our image as a required service into one of a requested, desirable service. The next few years in senior living will be a stark contrast to periods in the past— and it’s the responsibility of our industry as a whole to keep up.