Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: The Year 2020 – Boomers 65+

CBR001078 Mature Market Experts

The mature market population of boomers / seniors 65+ will increase 48% and the population of 85+ will increase 43% by 2020. The growth of the 65+ population will be attributable mostly to the aging of the Baby Boomers, but the growth of the 85+ population is primarily a factor of increasing life expectancy. Currently, there are three states where the 65+ population exceeds 15% of the states total: Florida, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. That number will grow to 42 states by 2020.

Source: The Silver Tsunami White Paper

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Bridging the Generations

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It has always fascinated me how children in schools are taught history, but have never really met face-to-face with those who experienced or contributed to it. Much of the older generation (80+) has not been exposed to modern technology, such as computers, cell phones or  iPods. They remember the old Victrola, entertainment through radio, the milkman delivering products, and the terrible depression we’ve only heard about on the news.

I thought it would be a great idea to somehow bring the two generations together.

The seniors would learn about life, the way it is for the children of today. And the children would learn about what life was like when the seniors were growing up 80-100 years ago.

About four years ago, I started the Bridging the Generations program with the local schools in my city. I’ve worked with several teachers on an ongoing basis over the years to bring the two generations together.

The children came to Oak Park to “Meet and Greet” my residents for the first visit. They were paired up with the residents, and prepared to ask questions and listen to the wonderful stories the residents had to tell. They children were amazed! “Wow, you rode in a horse and buggy to school? “, one child asked.

They kids began to look at the residents as individuals. Often times, children are afraid of seniors and view them as old, frail and vulnerable. This program really brings them inside the lives of seniors. They begin to see that aging is something to look forward to, not something to be afraid of.  It is a part of life that we all experience. It’s what you make of it that counts.

The next visit I have with the children is when I bring my residents into their high school. The children cook and serve breakfast to my residents. Last year, East Ridge High School students cooked a huge Thanksgiving dinner for the residents. The student band came in and played for them.  And the drama club, which consisted of the students that are in our program, performed a musical for them. The residents spent time listening to the students read speeches on what they were thankful for, and the students listened intently to what the seniors were thankful for.

The seniors saw first hand the art of text messaging, clothing that wasn’t tailored and multiple piercings. At first, I think they were shocked as to why a mother would let their children go out looking like that!

As the students sat down with my residents, the residents began to look past their outer appearance. They began to have a deep appreciation for the students and understood it was a struggle for independence. The residents gave the kids advice about the importance of education, following their dreams and to not judge a book by its cover. High school kids usually don’t listen to adults.  But for some reason, the children listened to the seniors.

The students learned firsthand about segregation.  They learned it both from seniors who had to be at the back of the bus, and from the ones that could only play with friends who were white. The students were amazed that segregation was really a part of history. It was a very moving experience for both generations.

The relationship between the residents and the students is continuing to grow. We are involved with them once a week and many other times during the month.  New schools continually want to be a part of this program. The kids also come and visit my residents all the time outside of school. They bake for them, pen-pal with them and come to all of our dances.

The hugs and kisses are never ending.

My residents’ faces light up when they see the kids. And the kids cannot run fast enough through the door to hug and kiss my residents. This program will continue for years to come for a simple reason: as much as the kids brighten the residents’ days, the residents have enriched the lives of the children in the very same way. It is very important for children to step back in time and learn about life before the comforts of today. We want to teach them to not be afraid of growing old but to appreciate the lessons they’ve learned.  We want them to understand that life as we know it now was pioneered by those who lived before us.

It is our responsibility to teach children to respect and appreciate the elderly, and I will continue to do my part to bring the generations together.

About the Author: Terri Glimcher is a Contributing Writer at Inside Assisted Living and the Activity Director for Summerville at Oak Park Assisted Living, an Emeritus Senior Living property in Clermont, Florida.

Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Occupancy Rates

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How badly is the current housing market hurting the mature market’s opportunity to move into a retirement community, assisted living, or nursing care? According to a New York Times article, “Across the country, occupancy rates for independent and assisted-living facilities have fallen slightly in the last year, by about 2 percent through the middle of 2008, according to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry.

But the problem is playing out acutely in hard-hit areas like Florida, where the vacancy rate at some facilities is up 20 percent to 30 percent over last year, said Paul Williams, director of government relations for the Assisted Living Federation of America. At Luther Manor, a retiree community in Milwaukee, the number of residents moving into independent living has dropped 20 percent this year. In southern Ohio, 65 percent of the people who visited the Bristol Village retirement community this year said they could not buy a unit because their homes were still hanging around their necks.”

Source: NY Times

How are people responding? Boomers and mature market are looking at  products that can help them stay in their homes (video: The Today Show) . . . and for people in need of assisted living and nursing care, adult day care is rapidly becoming the stop gap answer. If only companies understood how to market these products . . . they would be selling the heck out of them.

 

 

 

How to Interview an Assisted Living Activity Director

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Having been an activity director for four years, I truly enjoy when families collaborate on a plan to get their loved ones involved in the activities in my community.

When first touring an assisted living community, it is very important to receive a copy of the activities calendar. Most seniors who are transitioning to assisted living have been very active in their communities prior to the transition.

It is very important that they continue to be active and feel a part of their community. Here are some recommendations to make that more likely.

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Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: States with the highest 65+ Population

        Most people guess that Florida has the most seniors over the age of 65+. Nope . . . although they do have the highest 65+ people proportionally to the rest of their population (18%). Here’s how the top seven rank:

        California – 4 million, followed by Florida (3 million), then New York (2.5 million), Texas (2.2 million), Pennsylvania (1.9 million), Ohio (1.5 million), and Illinois (1.5 million).

        Source: U.S Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/