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Jet Set meet the Silver Set

Photo: Eyal Fried

Photo: Eyal Fried

[This post first appeared on the OpenInvo blog.]

Today we began a research project with Fordcastle for the "silver set" as we are calling them — the fast growing over 60 market. This demographic will grow to 22% of the US population by 2050. That's nothing to shake your old-fashioned cane at. Current statistics show we have over 70,000 centenarians in the US today. We are living longer, and living better into our later years.

Lucky to have excellent guides to the retirement communities of Palm Beach County, Florida, we had some great first insights and are already seeing opportunities for new products.

Some things that had us reach for our thinking caps were the following:

We attended a meeting of the ILIR (Institute for Learning in Retirement) where they announced their course schedule for the next few months. This is a peer-to-peer group, where members teach other members classes on their specific expertise. "Peer-to-peer," we thought—ah ha! Just like the trend towards collaborative consumption that is growing over the last 10 years. We wondered what the retirement communities themselves are doing to take advantage of services like shared cars and the like. We are sure there are plenty of opportunities around that area that have yet to be explored.

Another thing that struck us, is that out of 100 attendees—who were mostly in their 70's and 80's—just about every woman present wore makeup, and spent time and money on her appearance. What is the cosmetics industry doing to address the needs of this group which enjoys sprucing themselves up, but perhaps doesn't have the same manual agility to handle the same products as they used to?

And after a tour to one of the local over-55 gated communities, where we saw the beautiful swimming pools, and were told that these pools will soon have ramps for easier access into the water, we wondered who is creating pools already that have accessibility as part of the design rather than a clunky add-on. Design with accessibility features built into it rather than an afterthought is going to key in our future.

More inspiration to come! Think coupons, bathroom design, and concerns around security, communication and new kinds of marketing that honor the assets and abilities of this group. We can focus on what they can do and share, rather than what they can't. We're all getting there and the future could be bright indeed.

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