Today, 60 million Americans are 60+ years old; every day for the next 14 years, 10,000 people turn 65. By 2030, 20% of our country will be 65 years of age or older. In 1935, when Social Security was introduced, life expectancy was 61.7; current average life span is mid-80s; the fastest growing segment is people 100+. Then, 17 workers were supporting each beneficiary; by 2035, the ratio drops to 2:1.
As we live longer, stay healthier and have greater financial resources than prior generations, we have the opportunity to create a longevity economy in which new products and services can be developed, marketing and consumed to meet the growing needs of adults living to 100+. Indeed, probably half of the products and services used by this audience in 2050 haven’t even been developed.
As Paul Irving notes in The Upside of Aging, we can take advantage of the opportunities by understanding the trends and being creative. Indeed, it’s heartening to know that older adults outnumber millennials as entrepreneurs (e.g., Kauffman Foundation) and that several organizations are focused on helping people of all ages develop the new products.
To stimulate your thoughts, here are some categories to consider:
- Robots to help around the house, with travel and provide company
- Exoskeletal equipment and driverless cars to provide greater mobility
- Smart clothing to adjust to temperatures
- Telemedicine for diagnosis and treatment
- Micro-sensors to boost eyesight, hearing and neurosensory functioning
- Human Biomarkers using genomics
- Antiaging, human enhancement
- Nutraceuticals to fight aging and increase energy
- Cosmeceuticals to keep skin and hair youthful longer
- Brain enhancement supplements and hormones
- Financial services
- Longevity insurance
- Robo-advisors for wealth preservation
- Lifestyle Support
- Lifelong learning alternatives
- Specialty services for travel, entertainment
- Housing Alternatives
- Progressive living improvements
- Ergonomic home supports
- Work Improvements
- Virtual work-settings, flexible schedules
- Age-friendly work-ergonomics
So, find your innovative passions and either become an entrepreneur or an investor, and help create the future!